Background Information on the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem
The Jewish Quarter is one of four quarters within the Old City of Jerusalem and is situated in the southeastern sector of the walled city. The area is bordered by the Zion gate situated in the south, the Armenian Quarter to the west, the Street of the Chain on the northern end and the Western Wall and Temple Mount to the east.
The Old City of Jerusalem fell into Israeli hands during the six day war in 1967 after being in Jordanian hands for 19 years, and restoration of the old Jewish Quarter has taken place since. Today the Jewish Quarter is a pearl worth visiting for any visitor, and its narrow little alleys and stone structures are a reminder of how Jerusalem once looked. There are a number of shops selling high quality jewellery and Judaica artefacts, and several points of historical interest tucked away. The eastern edge of the Quarter has a wonderful view of the Western Wall, the Mount of Olives, the Temple Mount and David’s City all in one spot.
Highlights of Jewish Quarter
The Western (Wailing) Wall-People from around the world come to pray and write notes to place into the ancient nooks of the wall. Be sure to check out the Western Wall Tunnel tour (must be booked in advance).
Davidson Center Archaeological Park-one of the biggest archaeological sites in Israel, located to the south of the Temple Mount this excavated site is part of an Umayyad Palace from 7th century CE. The center also showcases artifacts and one of the highlights of the visitor center is the virtual reality reconstruction of the Herodian Temple Mount before it was destroyed in 70 CE by the Romans
Herodian Quarter– During the renovation of the Jewish Quarter (1967-82) that occurred after the Six Day War, this ancient site revealing a luxurious Second Temple-period residential quarter in the Upper City of Jerusalem, was uncovered. Because of its grandeur and opulence, it was renamed the Herodian Quarter, also known today as the Wohl Museum of Archeology. It is the largest and most significant site from the Second Temple period that can be viewed inside todays Jewish Quarter. The museum descends three meters below the ground where one can view the upper city of Jerusalem.
The Burnt House Museum– The museum presents a excavated house which belonged to the Katros family from the time of the Second Temple. It is believed that the house was set on fire during the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE. The house was excavated between 1969-1982 following the Six Day War and the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
Hurva Synagogue– Rebuilt and rededicated in March 2010, the Hurva Synagogue has long been a landmark in the Jewish Quarter even as ruins. Since 1948, the only remains of the Hurva were an arch that spanned Hurva Square near the Cardo
The Cardo – This is the main road excavated beneath the Jewish Quarter from the period of the Roman Empire and extends all the way from Damascus Gate to David Street. The road was discovered after the discovery of an ancient mosaic map on the floor of Jerusalem that included this major road. The street is a popular shopping venue for Jewish souvenirs.
Broad Wall –This wall was uncovered in the 1970’s and is a defensive wall from the time of King Hezekiah (late eighth century BCE)
Temple Institute -A less known point of interest in the Old City of Jerusalem is the Temple Institute on Misgav Ladach Rd. in the Jewish Quarter. The Institute gives a very good introduction to the workings and rites of the First and Second Temple in Jerusalem through film and guided tours of their exhibition. The exhibition to a large extent consists of recently made tools for use in the Temple according to the descriptions of the Bible, down to the last detail.
The Jewish Quarter of the Old City is mainly inhabited by Orthodox Jews and respect for their customs and holidays is expected of the visitor. All shops and institutions closed on Saturdays and Holiday Eves. Wheelchair accessible.