Amazing Things to See in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem

June 17th 2019

The Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem is one of four quarters within the walled Old City. It’s been the near-continuous home of Jews for thousands of years and contains dozens of synagogues and other significant attractions of historical and cultural importance.

Up to two thousand people (mainly religiously observant Jews) live in the Jewish Quarter and during your visit, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse into their daily lives. The Quarter is small but contains many amazing things to see, including sites which have been restored to their former glory after sometimes centuries of neglect.

Some places we recommend you visit in this quarter include:

The Kotel, The Western Wall

Perhaps the most famous part of Jerusalem for most people. The Western Wall (known in Israel as the Kotel) is the last remnant of the Second Temple and the closest accessible space to the holiest site of the Jewish religion – the Temple Mount. The huge limestone wall acts as a focal point for prayer and many visitors leave hand-written notes to G-d within cracks in the wall.

It’s important to wear modest clothing and cover your head when approaching the wall, as you would when visiting a synagogue. Photography is forbidden on the Sabbath.

Hurva Synagogue

First built in the early eighteenth century, the impressive looking Hurva Synagogue has been through a number of iterations. For nearly a century and a half, the site lay in ruins following its destruction by Muslims, before being rebuilt. The present synagogue, based on its 19th century design, was rebuilt in the 2000s and was opened in 2010.

The synagogue is in the heart of the Jewish Quarter and is today seen as a symbol of strength and dedication. It’s certainly an eye-catching feature, towering as it does above the neighboring buildings.

The Cardo

During the Roman occupation of Jerusalem, a large north-south avenue was built in the center of the city. This was a typical design feature of many Roman cities and was known as a Cardo. Two colonnaded covered walkways would flank a wider road, providing a long street on which goods were sold and where residents would meet to chat.

The line of the Jerusalem Cardo is still visible today in the Jewish Quarter and some shops have been set up beneath the ancient vaults of the original Roman structures. Some of the pathways and columns can also be seen.

The Burnt House

The Burnt House is what remains of the priestly Katros family home. It was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, during the destruction of the Second Temple. It was discovered during excavations in the 1970s. A visit to the museum allows visitors to catch a glimpse into the world of ancient Jewish life.

The remains, found beneath the modern walkways of the Jewish Quarter, contain numerous artifacts from the period including furniture, coins, and earthenware containers, among other things.

Jerusalem Archaeological Park

Explore more of Jerusalem’s ancient past by visiting the city’s Archeological Park on the south east edge of the Jewish Quarter. Here you can stroll through the ruins and pathways where pilgrims, thousands of years ago, would gather before ascending the Temple Mount.

Thanks to the Davidson Center’s advanced virtual displays, you’ll see how the Temple once stood and what the surrounding areas looked like before their destruction.