Stroll through the Old City Gates over centuries, wander the Christian Quarter’s holy sites, shop at The Shuk and view the Golden City from Mount Scopus.
Old City Gates
The city of Jerusalem is a walled in city with gates built during different time periods. Until 1887, the gates would be closed before sunset and opened at sunrise. There are nine open gates: New Gate built in 1887, Herod’s Gate built in 1875, Damascus Gate, Dung Gate, and Lion’s Gate all built in 1538, Tanner’s Gate built in the twelfth century and, Jaffa Gate and Zion Gate, leading to the Jewish Quarter, were built in the 1540s. The ninth gate, the Excavators’ Gate, was built in 705 BC and destroyed during an earthquake. It was walled up during the Ottoman Empire but rebuilt in 1968. The sealed gates are the Golden Gate built in the sixth century and, Huldah Gate and Single Gate, leading to the underground area of Temple Mount, both built during the time of King Herod.
The Christian Quarter is one of the traditional four quarters of the Old City extending from the New Gate to the Jaffa Gate and from the Western Wall to the Muslim Quarter. The opening of the Suez Canal in the nineteenth century led to an influx in Christian pilgrimages and New Gate was breached for easier travel to the Quarter. Some churches even built hotels for these tourists. The Quarter contains 40 Christian holy sites including Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus’ tomb was kept, Via Dolorosa, the stations of the cross, Protestant Christ Church, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, Church of Alexander Nevsky and Church of St. John the Baptist. The Quarter is largely comprised of schools and religious sites, its few residents are mostly Palestinian Christians.
Machane Yehuda Market
Often called The Shuk, Machane Yehuda Market hosts over 250 vendors and has become a center for nightlife with live music, food and drink. Approximately 200,000 shoppers visit The Shuk each week. The store shutters and doors have become after-hours art attractions featuring a spray painted street art installation. Before Sukkot, a tent is set up for traditional holiday foods like lulays and etrogs and at Purim, hamentashen is sold by vendors in costume.
The Shuk began to develop in the nineteenth century as the neighborhood grew and in the 1920s, the British Mandate built permanent stalls and roofing. The market’s side streets were previously named after fruits and nuts such as Afarsek (Peach) Street and Shaked (Almond) Street.
Mount Scopus is a mountain ridge that offers a vast view of the Old City. When Jews were barred from Jerusalem, many would view the city from the Mount, which served as a UN-protected site during the 1948 War and Six Day War. Hebrew University, built on the Mount, contains the National Botanic Garden which houses the largest collection of Israeli uncultivated plants, and Tabachnik Garden, a national park featuring burial caves from the Second Temple Period and views of the Dead Sea. The Mount also holds the Hadassah Medical Center and the Cave of Nicanor, an ancient burial site. Mount Scopus has multiple cemeteries and memorials for fallen soldiers including Jerusalem War Cemetery, American Colony Cemetery and Bentwich Cemetery.