Old City, Jerusalem

Old City, Jerusalem

The Story Behind Jerusalem's Sealed Golden Gate

Jerusalem is an ancient city which holds endless history, stories, and incredible importance to many people. Jerusalem’s sealed “Golden Gate” holds a variety of significance for different religions and people, and the story of how this Easternmost gate to the city came to be sealed is one entrenched in history and religious prophecies.

Jerusalem: A Divided and Invented City

James A. S. Sunderland is a DPhil student at Merton College, Oxford where he holds scholarships from both the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Clarendon Fund. His work looks at Britain&rsquos relationship with the Yishuv, the Jewish population of pre-state Israel.

There are few cities on earth which can trigger the heights of passion and anger that Jerusalem can. The current round of violence between Israel and Hamas, the worst in recent years, is further proof of this. Israel&rsquos decision to restrict access to parts of the Old City of Jerusalem during the month of Ramadan and evict several Arab families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, just north of the Old City, led Hamas to launch a series of rocket attacks on Israel far exceeding anything seen in the last bout of fighting in 2014.

In fact, the city that Hamas claims to be defending is, in large part, the invention of a British administration that ruled the city for just over 30 years from 1917 to 1948. Traces of the British Mandate are everywhere: from red post boxes on street corners, to the distinctive Armenian tiled street signs in the Old City &ndash an invention of the city&rsquos first governor, Sir Ronald Storrs, who saw Jerusalem more as an Orientalist arts and crafts project than the dynamic, multi-cultural and evolving city that it was.

Many of the divisions we see in Jerusalem today can be traced back to events following December 11, 1917, when General Allenby and British forces entered the Old City in their victory parade and proceeded to shape it into an Orientalist mirage, altogether detached from reality on the ground.

The dismembering of the Old City into Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Armenian Quarters dates back, at the earliest, to the 19 th century imaginations of Western visitors who noted the cross shape of the Old City, with two long roads running North-South and East-West dividing the city in four, and duly made their assumptions. These assumptions were deeply flawed.

Ashkenazi Jews would rent accommodation in the Christian Quarter, Muslims and Jews would live on the same streets in the Muslim Quarter, and people moved through the city with ease, interacting along complex networks tied to patronage, trade and class rather than along confessional or ethnic lines. Residents understood the city through their relation to their ethnically and religiously diverse localities or neighborhoods. Ya&rsquoakov Yehoshua, who grew up in the Old City during the first decade of the 20 th century, reminisced that

Jews and Muslims shared residential courtyards. We resembled a single family and socialized together. Our mothers unburdened themselves of their troubles to Muslim women, who in turn confided in our mothers. The Muslim women taught themselves to speak Ladino. They frequently used the proverbs and sayings of this tongue.

Of course, we must not imagine that the city was an ethnically and religiously diverse utopia &ndash it was not. Religious and ethnic prejudices were not absent from residents&rsquo interactions. Nevertheless, people of all faiths and backgrounds rubbed alongside each other in the city, by and large without conflict.

After 1917, the western projection of a divided city was translated into a policy of segregation under the colonial power&rsquos pre-existing assumptions about the existence of such divisions, and the belief that different ethnic and religious groups could not, and should not mix. It was a racial, confessional, and spatial policy divorced from reality. Indeed, so strong were existing identities that it wasn&rsquot until the 1930s that the local population came to think of themselves as belonging to a &ldquoJewish,&rdquo &ldquoMuslim,&rdquo &ldquoChristian&rdquo or &ldquoArmenian&rdquo quarter, by which time the British had cemented the idea into their administrative, construction and social policies.

The visual language of the city, as well as its communities, were also reshaped by the British. Britain viewed Palestine through a biblical lens. As Prime Minister David Lloyd George put it, &ldquoI was taught far more history of the Jews than about my own land. I could tell you all the kings of Israel.&rdquo British administrators strove to preserve this biblical city, so familiar to them from their Christian upbringings. This &ldquopreservation&rdquo was encoded in British infrastructure projects throughout the city and the building codes promulgated in 1918 by the Alexandria City Engineer, William McLean, brought to Jerusalem by Storrs. Building in the Old City was severely restricted, with new building encouraged only in the new city beyond. Even there, regulations meant buildings had to be low (so as not to obscure the Old City and Mount of Olives). There were to be no industrial buildings, and new buildings had to be faced in stone or other &ldquoapproved material&rdquo matching the character of the Old City. It is hard to exaggerate the importance this last point. Storrs (who viewed the local stone as imbued with &ldquoa hallowed and immemorial tradition&rdquo) and McLean had set the character of modern Jerusalem, stretching far beyond the walls of the Old City. The &ldquoancient&rdquo sandy stone was turned into Jerusalem&rsquos visual language, one which the British permeated with religious and historical meaning, while other local building practices, not in keeping with the British view of the city, were banned.

Ahead of this May&rsquos now cancelled Palestinian legislative elections, the competing parties revised, polished and released their logos. That of Hamas shows the Dome of the Rock at the centre, flanked by other parts of the Old City&rsquos architecture. A banner in Arabic above states &ldquoJerusalem is our promise.&rdquo Jerusalem is just over 75 kilometers (46 miles) away from Gaza, yet few residents or Hamas members will ever have visited it. But even for Hamas, besides the religious significance represented by the Dome of the Rock, it is the visual imagery of an &ldquoancient,&rdquo sandy stoned city that they conjure in their mind&rsquos eye when they think of Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, far-right Israeli desires to &ldquoreclaim&rdquo the city and expel Arab residents from the Old City and eastern part of the new city, have no basis in Jerusalem&rsquos recent history. Muslims, Jews and Christians mixed, made business deals, lived and socialized together less than 100 years ago in the very streets which far-right extremists now claim exclusive right to.

The stylised image for both sides is a Jerusalem that was created, carefully moulded and &ldquopreserved&rdquo by the orientalist imaginations of British officials and administrative apparatchiks. The fight to be the &ldquodefenders of Jerusalem&rdquo is the fight over a sanitized, stylised image of a city which has been largely invented and whose divisions, cemented by years of British, Jordanian and Israeli rule, date back to 1917.

There is a glimmer of hope though. Although right-wing parties now control the majority of seats in the Knesset, Israel&rsquos parliament, grass roots peace activists have long been fighting to bring Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians together in Jerusalem and to find ways, if not to solve the thorny issues surrounding Jerusalem&rsquos future, then at least to learn to coexist and work together for a more peaceful future. Recent events have galvanized them and led others to come out and support their efforts. If divisions, mental and physical, can ever be dismantled, it will be through the work of ordinary people like these.

History of the Old City of Jerusalem

Less than one square kilometer in size, the Old City of Jerusalem has within its walls thousands of years of history and until 1860, constituted the entire city of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem was conquered by King David around 1000 BCE, establishing it as the capital of Israel. The first Temple was built by King Solomon a few decades later and destroyed in 587 BCE by the Babylonians. The Second Temple was built in 516 BCE. Under Greek rule in 175 BCE, the Temple was plundered and desecrated. Following the Maccabean revolt, it is in this Second Temple, that story of the Hanukkah miracle takes place.

Many significant events in the life of Jesus took place in Jerusalem, including the Temptation, Last Supper, Crucifixion, and Resurrection.

In the early 600's CE, significant events in the life of Muhammad take place in Jerusalem, including the Initial Revelations, and the Night Journey. In 620 CE Muhammad declares the Al-Aqsa Mosque as one of the three holiest mosques in Islam. In 636 CE, Jerusalem is conquered again and becomes part of the Arab Caliphate.

The Crusaders invade Jerusalem in 1099 and control the city until Saladin's capture in 1187.

The Ottomans rule Jerusalem from 1516 until after World War I when the British Mandate begins. Following the 1948 War of Independence, the Old City falls under Jordanian control, where it remains until the 1967 Six-Day War, when it is returned to Jewish control for the first time in thousands of years.

Old City (Jerusalem)

The Old City (Arabic: البلدة القديمة ‎, al-Balda al-Qadimah, Armenian: Հին Քաղաք , Hin K'aghak, Hebrew: העיר העתיקה ‎, Ha'Ir Ha'Atiqah) of Jerusalem is the oldest part of the city located in Palestine. It is an 0.9-square-kilometre (0.35 sq mi) area that is surrounded by walls. [2] It contains some of the most important places for three major religions. These include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians, the Temple Mount for Jews, and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. The Old City formed the whole city of Jerusalem until 1860, when a Jewish neighborhood was built outside the Western Wall.

The Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls [1]
UNESCO World Heritage Site
CriteriaCultural: ii, iii, vi
Inscription1981 (5th Session)

The Old City is historically divided into four quarters, although the current quarters were introduced only in the 19th century. [3] Today, the Old City is divided into the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Jewish Quarter and the Armenian Quarter. After the war in 1948, the Old City was occupied by Jordan and the Jewish people living in the city were forced to move out. During the Six Day War in 1967, Israel occupied the Old City and the rest of East Jerusalem. Today, Israel still controls the whole area, which it says is part of its national capital.

In 1980, Jordan asked UNESCO to make the Old City a World Heritage Site. [4] It was added to the World Heritage list in 1981. [5] Because of the conflict over the territory, it was added to the list of sites in danger in 1982. [6] UNESCO policy is that East Jerusalem, including the Old City, is part of the occupied Palestinian territory. [7]

8 thoughts on &ldquo Old City of Jerusalem &rdquo

Loved the site! Really cool information on how conflict in the area is occurring between the different religions and how that is affecting your site. One thing you might want to check on is making sure that your pictures are connected to links either in a custom URL for the image itself or within the caption of the picture, and that your hyperlinks are active in your bibliography.

Coming from a religious background, I found reading about this site quite interesting! I actually was not aware that Jerusalem is also an important area for Muslims. I thought it was interesting how there is a conflict between archaeologists and other people about the renovations to a sacred prayer area that some people would like to be completed. I think this goes to show that not everyone is appreciative of the past as a source of cultural enlightenment. This is why I feel as though it is important that archaeologists communicate better with the general public about their discoveries and why such discoveries should be preserved and undeveloped.

I’m currently taking a class on Israeli society, so it was interesting to see Jerusalem in a different light in terms of its archaeology. We also never really talked about Jerusalem’s importance to Islam, specifically the Dome of the Rock. In your research did you come across anything on the UN’s decision saying that the Dome of the Rock doesn’t have ties to Judaism? It seems like a controversial ruling that might put Jerusalem’s cultural heritage at risk in one way or another.

Yes I did, the online article that I linked from the UNESCO director-general was in response to that, and I also agree that it might increase the risk of cultural heritage damage since the damage that has already been done was largely in response to social conflict.

Awesome site! I love how you incorporated pictures that you took yourself. I also did not know that the city was the center for 3 major religions. I was wondering if there is a lot of looting in the city or if it is protected pretty well.

I did not find a lot of information about looting, however one of the risks that UNESCO lists in documents on the Old City is the danger of illegal excavations, so perhaps looting falls under that.

I really enjoyed this site! I was wondering if while you were in the area if you personally saw any conflict among people of different religious beliefs?

I did not, but I went with a program called Birthright, and they have a lot of security precautions and among them is not taking us to dangerous areas where there might be conflict. I think the tunnel that goes from the entrance to the Western Wall to the Dome of the Rock also helps reduce conflict by preventing Jews and Muslims from interacting.


Jerusalemites are of varied national, ethnic and religious denominations and include European, Asian and African Jews, Arabs of Sunni Shafi‘i Muslim, Melkite Orthodox, Melkite Catholic, Latin Catholic, and Protestant backgrounds, Armenians of the Armenian Orthodox and Armenian Catholic , Assyrians largely of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Syriac Catholic Church, Maronites, and Copts. [3] Many of these groups were once immigrants or pilgrims that have over time become near-indigenous populations and claim the importance of Jerusalem to their faith as their reason for moving to and being in the city. [3]

Jerusalem's long history of conquests by competing and different powers has resulted in different groups living in the city many of whom have never fully identified or assimilated with a particular power, despite the length of their rule. Though they may have been citizens of that particular kingdom and empire and involved with civic activities and duties, these groups often saw themselves as distinct national groups (see Armenians, for example). [3] The Ottoman millet system, whereby minorities in the Ottoman Empire were given the authority to govern themselves within the framework of the broader system, allowed these groups to retain autonomy and remain separate from other religious and national groups. Some Palestinian residents of the city prefer to use the term Maqdisi or Qudsi as a Palestinian demonym. [4]

The tables below provide data on demographic change over time in Jerusalem, with an emphasis on the Jewish population. Readers should be aware that the boundaries of Jerusalem have changed many times over the years and that Jerusalem may also refer to a district or even a subdistrict under Ottoman, British, or Israeli administration, see e.g. Jerusalem District. Thus, year-to-year comparisons may not be valid due to the varying geographic areas covered by the population censuses.

Persian period

In the Achaemenid Yehud Medinata (Judah Province) the population of Jerusalem is estimated at between 1,500 and 2,750. [5]

1st century Judea

During the First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE), the population of Jerusalem was estimated at 600,000 persons by Roman historian Tacitus, while Josephus estimated that there were as many as 1,100,000 who were killed in the war. [6] Josephus also wrote that 97,000 Jews were sold as slaves. After the Roman victory over the Jews, as many as 115,880 dead bodies were carried out through one gate between the months of Nisan and Tammuz. [7]

Modern estimates of Jerusalem's population during the final Roman Siege of Jerusalem in 70 (CE) are variously 70,398 by Wilkinson in 1974, [8] 80,000 by Broshi in 1978, [9] and 60,000–70,000 by Levine in 2002. [10] According to Josephus, the populations of adult male scholarly sects were as follows: over 6,000 Pharisees, more than 4,000 Essenes and "a few" Sadducees. [11] [12] New Testament scholar Cousland notes that "recent estimates of the population of Jerusalem suggest something in the neighbourhood of a hundred thousand". [13] A minimalist view is taken by Hillel Geva, who estimates from archaeological evidence that the population of Jerusalem before its 70 CE destruction was at most 20,000. [14]

Middle Ages

Year Jews Muslims Christians Total Original source As quoted in
c. 1130 0 0 30,000 30,000 ? Runciman
1267 2* ? ? ? Nahmanides, Jewish scholar
1471 250* ? ? ? ? Baron
1488 76* ? ? ? ? Baron
1489 200* ? ? ? ? Yaari, 1943 [15]

Early Ottoman era

Year Jews Muslims Christians Total Original source As quoted in
1525–1526 1,194 3,704 714 5,612 Ottoman taxation registers* Cohen and Lewis [16]
1538–1539 1,363 7,287 884 9,534 Ottoman taxation registers* Cohen and Lewis [16]
1553–1554 1,958 12,154 1,956 16,068 Ottoman taxation registers* Cohen and Lewis [16]
1596–1597 ? 8,740 252 ? Ottoman taxation registers* Cohen and Lewis [16]
1723 2,000 ? ? ? Van Egmont & Heyman, Christian travellers [17]

Modern era

Muslim "relative majority"

Henry Light, who visited Jerusalem in 1814, reported that Muslims comprised the largest portion of the 12,000 person population, but that Jews made the greatest single sect. [18] In 1818, Robert Richardson, family doctor to the Earl of Belmore, estimated the number of Jews to be 10,000, twice the number of Muslims. [19] [20]

Year Jews Muslims Christians Total Original source As quoted in
1806 2,000 4,000 2,774 8,774 Ulrich Jasper Seetzen, Frisian explorer [21] Sharkansky, 1996 [22] [23]
1815 4,000–5,000 ? ? 26,000 William Turner [24] Kark and Oren-Nordheim, 2001 [23]
1817 3,000–4,000 13,000 3,250 19,750 Thomas R. Joliffe [25]
1821 >4,000 8,000 James Silk Buckingham [26]
1824 6,000 10,000 4,000 20,000 Fisk and King, Writers [27]
1832 4,000 13,000 3,560 20,560 Ferdinand de Géramb, French monk Kark and Oren-Nordheim, 2001 [23]

Muslim or Jewish "relative majority"

Between 1838 and 1876, conflicting estimates exist regarding whether Muslims or Jews constituted a "relative majority" (or plurality) in the city.

Writing in 1841, the biblical scholar Edward Robinson noted the conflicting demographic estimates regarding Jerusalem during the period, stating in reference to an 1839 estimate attributed to the Moses Montefiore: "As to the Jews, the enumeration in question was made out by themselves, in the expectation of receiving a certain amount of alms for every name returned. It is therefore obvious that they here had as strong a motive to exaggerate their number, as they often have in other circumstances to underrate it. Besides, this number of 7000 rests merely on report Sir Moses himself has published nothing on the subject nor could his agent in London afford me any information so late as Nov. 1840." [28] In 1843, Reverend F.C. Ewald, a Christian traveler visiting Jerusalem, reported an influx of 150 Jews from Algiers. He wrote that there were now a large number of Jews from the coast of Africa who were forming a separate congregation. [29]

From the mid-1850s, following the Crimean War, the expansion of Jerusalem outside of the Old City began, with institutions including the Russian Compound, Kerem Avraham, the Schneller Orphanage, Bishop Gobat school and the Mishkenot Sha'ananim marking the beginning of permanent settlement outside the Jerusalem Old City walls. [30] [31]

Between 1856 and 1880, Jewish immigration to Palestine more than doubled, with the majority settling in Jerusalem. [32] The majority of these immigrants were Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe, who subsisted on Halukka. [32]

Year Jews Muslims Christians Total Original source As quoted in
1838 3,000 4,500 3,500 11,000 Edward Robinson Edward Robinson, 1841 [33]
1844 7,120 5,000 3,390 15,510 Ernst-Gustav Schultz, Prussian consul [34]
1846 7,515 6,100 3,558 17,173 Titus Tobler, Swiss explorer [35] Kark and Oren-Nordheim, 2001 [23]
1847 10,000 25,000 10,000 45,000 French consul estimates Alexander Scholch, 1985 [36]
1849 895 3,074 1,872 5,841 Official Ottoman census obtained by the Prussian consul Georg Rosen, showing male subjects Alexander Scholch, 1985 [37]
1849 2,084 ? ? ? Moses Montefiore census, showing number of Jewish families [38]
1850 13,860 ? ? ? Dr. Ascher, Anglo-Jewish Association
1851 5,580 12,286 7,488 25,354 Official census (only Ottoman citizens) [39] Kark and Oren-Nordheim, 2001 [23]
1853 8,000 4,000 3,490 15,490 César Famin, French diplomat Famin [40]
1856 5,700 9,300 3,000 18,000 Ludwig August von Frankl, Austrian writer Kark and Oren-Nordheim, 2001 [23] [41]
1857 7,000 ? ? 10–15,000 HaMaggid periodical Kark and Oren-Nordheim, 2001 [23]
1862 8,000 6,000 3,800 17,800 HaCarmel periodical Kark and Oren-Nordheim, 2001 [23]
1864 8,000 4,500 2,500 15,000 British consulate Dore Gold, 2009 [42]
1866 8,000 4,000 4,000 16,000 John Murray travel guidebook Kark and Oren-Nordheim, 2001 [23]
1867 ? ? ? 14,000 Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad, Chapter 52 [43]
1867 4,000–
6,000 ? ? Ellen-Clare Miller, Missionary [44]
1869 3,200* n/a n/a n/a Rabbi H. J. Sneersohn New York Times [45]
1869 9,000 5,000 4,000 18,000 Hebrew Christian Mutual Aid Society [46] [47]
1869 7,977 7,500 5,373 20,850 Liévin de Hamme, Franciscan missionary Kark and Oren-Nordheim, 2001 [23]
1871 4,000 13,000 7,000 24,000 Karl Baedeker travel guidebook Kark and Oren-Nordheim, 2001 [23]
1872 3,780 6,150 4,428 14,358 Ottoman salname (official annals) for 1871–72 Alexander Scholch, 1985 [48]
1874 10,000 5,000 5,500 20,500 British consul in Jerusalem report to the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers [49]
1876 13,000 15,000 8,000 36,000 Bernhard Neumann [50] Kark and Oren-Nordheim, 2001 [23]

Jews as absolute or relative majority

Published in 1883, the PEF Survey of Palestine volume which covered the region noted that "The number of the Jews has of late increased at the rate of 1,000 to 1,500 per annum. Since 1875 the population of Jerusalem has rapidly increased. The number of Jews is now estimated at 15,000 to 20,000, and the population, including the inhabitants of the new suburbs, reaches a total of about 40,000 souls." [51]

In 1881–82, a group of Jews arrived from Yemen as a result of messianic fervor, in the phase known as the First Aliyah. [52] [53] After living in the Old City for several years, they moved to the hills facing the City of David, where they lived in caves. [54] In 1884, the community, numbering 200, moved to new stone houses built for them by a Jewish charity. [55]

The Jewish population of Jerusalem, as for wider Palestine, increased further during the Third Aliyah of 1919–23 following the Balfour Declaration. Prior to this, a British survey in 1919 noted that most Jews in Jerusalem were largely Orthodox and that a minority were Zionists. [56]

After Jerusalem Law

Year Jews Muslims Christians Total Proportion of Jewish residents Original source
1980 292,300 ? ? 407,100 71.8% Jerusalem Municipality [ citation needed ]
1985 327,700 ? ? 457,700 71.6% Jerusalem Municipality
1987 340,000 121,000 14,000 475,000 71.6% Jerusalem Municipality
1988 353,800 125,200 14,400 493,500 71.7% Jerusalem Municipality
1990 378,200 131,800 14,400 524,400 72.1% Jerusalem Municipality
1995 417,100 182,700 14,100 617,000 67.6% Jerusalem Municipality
1996 421,200 ? ? 602,100 70.0% Jerusalem Municipality
2000 448,800 ? ? 657,500 68.3% Jerusalem Municipality
2004 464,500 ? ? 693,200 67.0% Jerusalem Municipality
2005 469,300 ? ? 706,400 66.4% Jerusalem Municipality
2007 489,480 ? ? 746,300 65.6% Jerusalem Municipality
2011 497,000 281,000 14,000 801,000 62.0% Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
2015 524,700 307,300 12,400 857,800 61.2% Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
2016 536,600 319,800 15,800 882,700 60.8% Israel Central Bureau of Statistics

As of 24 May 2006, Jerusalem's population was 724,000 (about 10% of the total population of Israel), of which 65.0% were Jews (c. 40% of whom live in East Jerusalem), 32.0% Muslim (almost all of whom live in East Jerusalem) and 2% Christian. 35% of the city's population were children under age of 15. In 2005, the city had 18,600 newborns. [60]

These official Israeli statistics refer to the expanded Israel municipality of Jerusalem. This includes not only the area of the pre-1967 Israeli and Jordanian municipalities, but also outlying Palestinian villages and neighbourhoods east of the city, which were not part of Jordanian East Jerusalem prior to 1967. Demographic data from 1967 to 2012 showed continues growth of Arab population, both in relative and absolute numbers, and the declining of Jewish population share in the overall population of the city. In 1967, Jews were 73.4% of city population, while in 2010 the Jewish population shrank to 64%. In the same period the Arab population increased from 26,5% in 1967 to 36% in 2010. [61] [62] In 1999, the Jewish total fertility rate was 3.8 children per woman, while the Palestinian rate was 4.4. This led to concerns that Arabs would eventually become a majority of the city's population.

Between 1999 and 2010, the demographic trends reversed themselves, with the Jewish fertility rate increasing and the Arab rate decreasing. In addition, the number of Jewish immigrants from abroad choosing to settle in Jerusalem steadily increased. By 2010, there was a higher Jewish than Arab growth rate. That year, the city's birth rate was placed at 4.2 children for Jewish mothers, compared with 3.9 children for Arab mothers. In addition, 2,250 Jewish immigrants from abroad settled in Jerusalem. The Jewish fertility rate is believed to be still currently increasing, while the Arab fertility rate remains on the decline. [63]

In 2016, Jerusalem had a population of 882,700, of which Jews comprised 536,600 (60.8%), Muslims 319,800 (36.2%), Christians 15,800 (1.8%), and 10,300 unclassified (1.2%). [2]



Courtesy A. Gracer / Creative Commons

Latin Patriarchate:
Admission: Free.
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday, 08:00-14:00
Location: St. Peter street.
Direction: Just after you enter the city through Jaffa gate, Turn left to the Latin Patriarchate Street and walk until the intersection with St. Peter Street.

The center of the Catholic Church is located in the Vatican state in Rome. The Pope’s representative in Jerusalem is known as the “Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem“, and his job is to safeguard the interests of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land. The first appointment of a Latin patriarch in the Land of Israel was in 1099 AD. But when the Crusaders were expelled from the land, the Latin Patriarchate also ceased to exist. In the mid-19th century, the Catholic Church noticed the weakness of the Ottomans and renewed its representation in Jerusalem after more than 550 years. Giuseppe Valerga was the first Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem in modern times. He wanted to show the wealth and splendor of the Catholic Church also in Jerusalem. The result is a large cathedral paved with marble, decorated with dozens of sculptures and filled with countless paintings. In 1872, Vallerga inaugurated the Cathedral, which is still one of the most impressive in Israel.

Armenian Ceramics Center:
Admission: Free.
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday, 09:30-19:00
Location: New Gate street.
Direction: From the Latin Patriarchate, turn left and walk along St. Peter Street. You are now deeper into the Christain Quarter. The street gets narrower, makes several turns, and changes its name several times. Keep following it, and shortly after the Knights Palace Hotel, you reach the Sandrouni Armenian Ceramic Center.

Armenian pottery started to develop in the 11th century. However, Armenian ceramics reached unprecedented levels of finesse and originality during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when many Armenian families operated workshops in Turkey, and contributed to decorating palaces and mansions. Armenian traditional ceramic artists arrived at Jerusalem in 1919 to help replace the centuries-old glazed tiles decorating the Dome of the Rock. The task was never completed, but the tradition rooted in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is now the only place in the world where traditional Armenian pottery is still preserved. The Sandrouni workshop is one of the finest spots to explore and buy original Armenian handmade pottery. (Watch out for the many imitations on display in the market streets!)

Courtesy EtanJ. Tal. / Creative Commons

Saint Saviors Convent:
Admission: Free.
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday, 08:00-17:00
Location: St Francis street.
Direction: Exit the ceramic shop and Walk down on Ahim Street about 100 meters and turn left to St. Francis street. After a few meters, you will see the entrance to the convent on your left.

Saint Savoirs is the headquarter of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land (Custodia Terræ Sanctæ). Saint Francis founded the order in 1209. Its mission is to guard “the grace of the Holy Places” of the Holy Land and the rest of the Middle East, as well as pilgrims visiting them, on behalf of the Catholic Church. Their presence in Jerusalem is traced back to 1217. The original building built in 1559 with the aid of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. However, the current Church and Convent were constructed in 1885 with funding provided by the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph during his visit to Jerusalem in 1869. The compound houses today also a Catholic school, printing press, and an organ workshop. In 2017 Pope Francis renewed the mandate to “Preserve the Holy Places of Christianity in the Holy Land” in commemoration of the 800th anniversary of Franciscan presence. In addition to the historical importance, the impressive Basilica hall (30 X 12 meters), is well worth a visit.

Ethiopian Patriarchate:
Admission: Small contribution expected.
Opening Hours: Daily, 09:00-16:00
Location: Haminzar Haetiopi street.
Direction: Exit the convent, turn left, and Walk about 100 meters. Turn left again to the Shliikhim street. This is a narrow and winding alley typical to the old city. After 200 meters, turn right to the Haminzar Haetiopi street, and after a few minutes, the church will be on your left.

The building we are about to visit is from 1890. It was built to serve as the administrative center of the community. At the heart of the complex is a small church decorated in a traditional Ethiopian style. The church floor is carpeted, and its ceiling is full of colorful illustrations featuring characters and stories from the New Testament. You can have a look at an ancient 400-year-old book with texts from the Old and a New Testament. The book is written in the Geez language (Ethiopian holy language). After the tour of the small church, go up to the roof of the building for a fantastic panorama of the old city.

El Khanqa Street:
Admission: Free
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday, 09:00-15:00 (Photo shop)
Location: El Khanqa Street.
Direction: Continue down the Haminzar Haetiopi street until a T junction with El Khanqa Street and turn left. You can visit two interesting spots along the street.
  • Residential Courtyard: Look for house number 44 on your left and enter through the small door into an internal courtyard. It is a fine example of a residential compound. In the center of the yard, there is a water well and the surrounding houses feature door lintels painted in bright blue color. Wander around and absorb the tranquil atmosphere.
  • Elia Photo Service: Continue a few minutes further on El Khanqa street until house number 12, and you will see on your right an entrance to a small photo shop filled with historical B&W photos and unique nostalgic atmosphere.

Curch of the Redeemer (Viewpoint):
Admission: 15 NIS.
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10:00-17:00
Location: Muristan street.
Direction: Exit the shop, turn right, walk a few meters until you pass a mosque, and turn left to Hanotsrim Street. The Church of the holy sepulcher will be on your left. Turn left just after the Church and then right to the Muristan Street.

The interior of the Church of the holy sepulcher and its surrounding is one of the most crowded tourist spots in Jerusalem (We do not cover it on this tour since it is very well covered elsewhere). The main reason to visit the Church of the Redeemer is the fantastic panorama of the old city from the top of its 40 meters tower. It is the best view of the old city since you are high above the street right in the middle of the old city (All other high locations are around the old city and not inside!).

The Church was built between 1893 and 1898. Its cornerstone was laid by the Prussian prince Frederick III as part of his visit to the Middle East to participate in the opening of the Suez Canal. The land was given as a gift to the Prussian heir by the Ottoman Sultan. The church was inaugurated in 1898, during the visit of the German Emperor Wilhelm II, his son, and Empress Augusta Victoria. On one of the walls of the prayer hall hangs a sign in the German language that tells of the dedication and establishment of the house. There are also archeological excavations and a museum in the church. You can find all the details on the excellent official website.

Muristan Market:
Admission: Free.
Opening Hours: 24/7.
Location: Muristan Square.
Direction: The Church of the Redeemer is located in the northeastern corner of the Muristan Market. Just after the church, take the first right and enter the Mursitan compound.

The Muristan is a complex of streets and shops that cover a square area spanning between the holy sepulcher and David Street (The main street of the old city leading to Jaffa gate). The market in the form as we know it today was established in 1903 by the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. At the center of the market, there is an ornamental water fountain, which was built to mark 25 years of the rule of the Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamid. The name “Muristan” comes from the Persian word for a hospital (Bim?rest?n). It originates from the fact that during the crusader period, a complex of a Church and hospital was operating here. However, the history of the area starts as early as the days of Christ. You can learn more about it at the Museum in the Church of the Redeemer. Ramble through the streets and the shops and make your way towards David street and the Jewish Quarter where the tour continues.


The Cardo:
Admission: Free.
Opening Hours: Sunday-Thursday 08:00-19:00, Friday 09:00-13:00.
Location: HaYehudim Street.
Direction: Exit the market to David Street. Turn left and walk until a T junction. Turn right and walk in the Yehudim street for a few meters and look for the entrance to the underground Cardo Street.

The Cardo was the “Main Street” of Jerusalem during the Roman period. Nowadays, it is an underground street under the new houses of the Jewish Quarter. The Northern half of the street (Where we enter), was turned into a modern shopping street with fancy boutique shops. The Southern half is a restoration of the Roman street. As we walk, we can peek through peers in the pavement down to remnants from ancient Jerusalem (700 BCE), while above us are the modern, residential houses.

Hurba Synagogue:
Admission: 20 NIS.
Opening Hours: Sunday-Thursday 09:00-17:00, Friday 09:00-13:00.
Location: HaYehudim Street #89.
Direction: Go up from the Cardo street, turn left, and after a few meters, you will be in front of the Synagogue.

The Hurba synagogue was built in 1864 and served as the most important Ashkenazy synagogue in the land of Israel. It became a center for religious and national revival for jews in the land of Israel. Around the synagogue, some of the most important institutions of the Ashkenazi community in Jerusalem were concentrated: Yeshiva, Court, Charity institutions and religious schools. In 1948, when the Jordanian army conquered the Jewish Quarter they demolished it with explosives. Only in 2010 (after 62 years), the synagogue was restored and reopened. The design was based on testimonials and old pictures. Most of the eastern wall is the original wall from 1864. It was not painted and therefore, creates a sharp contrast to the modern white walls. Besides visiting the impressive synagogue hall, there are interesting archeological findings from the second-temple period and Byzantine period in the basement floor. Round up the visit with an excellent 360° panorama from the balcony that encircles the dome.

Wohl Archaeological Museum:
Admission: 20 NIS.
Opening Hours: Sunday-Thursday 09:00-17:00, Friday 09:00-13:00.
Location: 8 Hakaraim Street.
Direction: From the far right corner of the Hurba square, continue straight into Hakaraim Street.

You descend again from the street level, down to 2,000 years old history. The excavations that took place here after 1967 revealed a magnificent residential quarter from the second-temple period. The findings include mosaic floors, water wells, Mikveh, and warehouses.

Burnt House:
Admission: 20 NIS. (You can use the ticket from the Wohl museum)
Opening Hours: Sunday-Thursday 09:00-17:00, Friday 09:00-13:00.
Location: Tiferet Israel Street.
Direction: Continue in Hakaraim Street until a T junction. Turn right to Tiferet Israel Street.

The “burnt house” is a second-temple period residential building that was also discovered during the excavations in the Jewish Quarter. Unlike the Wohl Museum, this house was found in ruins and with fire signs. The tiny museum presents the fascinating findings discovered in the excavations. However. the remains are disappointing compared with the display in the Whol Museum. The main attraction is an Audio-Visual show. The movie describes life in Jerusalem during the months preceding the destruction of the second temple.

End of the Tour
You are now a few minutes away from the Western Wall and the temple mount. Around this area are some of the most significant tourist attractions of Jerusalem. You will have a hard choice what to do next:

Jerusalem Timeline

Events and quotations cited here demonstrate Jerusalem’s political and religious importance and craving to Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, and when in time each of them controlled parts of the city. Other items here note when and/or why caliphs, churches, conferences, emirs, empires, generals, kings, resolutions, sultans, treaties, and other entities proclaimed privileges, control, and asserted views on how the city should be ruled, or which denominations within a faith could impose its physical control over the city, portions of it, or a particular venerated site. Indiana University Professor, Bernard Frischer estimates that since 2000 BCE, the city was destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked another 52 times, recaptured 44 times, been the scene of 20 revolts, many riots, and endured half a dozen seperate periods of violent terrorist attackes during the past century, with the city peacefully changing hands only twice.

Three monotheistic religions possess core connections and/or holy sites, and sacred space in the walled Old City or just adjacent to it in Jerusalem. These include Christian holy sites such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre enclosing Jesus’s tomb, the churches of St. Anne, St. James, and St. Mark, the Tomb of the Virgin, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Jewish holy sites include the Western Wall of the Second Temple, the Temple Mount from the First and Second Temples, Jewish tombs in the Kidron Valley,and the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives. Muslim holy sites inclue the mosques on the Haram al-Sharif (al-Aqsa and Domb of the Rock), the Tomb of David (Nebi Da’ud), and the western wall of the Haram, or Buraq.

Jews particularly have a 3,000-year history with the city of Jerusalem as a political, economic, religious and cultural center and focus. In ancient times, the city housed the First and Second Temples where Jews from throughout the Land of Israel and the growing Diaspora made regular pilgrimages. Jewish tradition accepts the Temple Mount, where the First Temple stood, as the site of the binding of Isaac by Abraham. The retaining wall is believed to be the place where the shechinah – spirit of G-d has never departed. After the destruction of the second Temple in the first century, an entire liturgical tradition of praying for a return to the city emerged which is still part of Jewish worship today. And the direction of Jewish prayer outside the holy city always focused toward Jerusalem. During the British mandate (1922-1948), the city was home to the Zionist leadership and most Zionist political, cultural and religious institutions, including the Jewish Agency for Palestine, and the Hebrew University. Following the end of hostilities in 1948 and 1949, the Israeli government declared Jerusalem as its capital. Since January 1950, the country’s parliament, supreme court, and offices of the Prime Minister were all established in Jerusalem. Immediately after the June 1967 War, Israel annexed 70 kilometers of greater Jerusalem, declaring it the unified capital of Israel. In July 1980, the Israeli parliament, in its sixth Basic Law, reaffirmed its sovereign prerogative to declare Jerusalem again the eternal capital of the Jewish people, promising to secure the rights of all religions within the city. Finally, on several occasions in the last fifty years, the UN or its affiliated organizations have affirmed that some or all of Jerusalem is territory that should be adjudicated in future negotiations ruled with prejudice that the city has no connection to a Jewish past or as Israel has done for the last half century, upheld its sovereign right to control authority and jurisdiction over the city as its united capital.

1004 B.C.E.: King David establishes Jerusalem as the Capitals of the Kingdom of Israel

970 B.C.E.: King Solomon builds the First Temple in Jerusalem as the religious and spiritual center of the Jewish people

922 B.C.E.: The Jewish Kingdom divides between North (Israel) and South (Judea): Jerusalem becomes the capital of Judea

586 B.C.E.: King Nebuchadnezzer of Babylon conquers Jerusalem and destroys the First Temple

538 B.C.E.: Jews rebuild the Temple anew, the Second Temple in Jerusalem

370 B.C.E.: Persians capture Jerusalem

332 B.C.E.: Alexander the Great conquers Jerusalem

163 B.C.E.: Jerusalem restored to Jewish autonomy under the Hasmonean Empire, with Maccabee’s defeat of the Hellenistic Jews

63 B.C.E.: Roman Rule in Jerusalem begins

10: The 9 th day of the Jewish calendar month of Av (Tisha B’Av) is observed as a day of mourning for the destruction of the First Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Still practiced today, Jews all over the world fast as they mourn the loss of both the first and second holy Temples in Jerusalem, as well as other tragedies in Jewish history.

28-30: Ministry of Jesus in Jerusalem

30: Martyrdom of Jesus in Jerusalem, followed by Jesus’ early followers, known as “the Twelve” moving from the Galilee to the holy city

70: Romans siege of Jerusalem they destroy Jerusalem and the Second Temple

132-135: Simon Bar Kokhba revolts against the Roman Empire, controlling Jerusalem for three years

313: Brotherhood of Holy Sepulchre founded in Jerusalem

325-335: Church of Holy Sepulchre built in Jerusalem

Early 600s: Muhammad founds Islam, facing Jerusalem during prayer

614-638: Jerusalem falls to the Persians

636-637: Muslim Caliph Umar conquers Jerusalem Jews once again allowed to live in Jerusalem

638: The Armenian Apostolic Church begins to appoint its own bishop in Jerusalem, then under Islamic control

679-690: Al-Aqsa – prayer – mosque constructed in Jerusalem along southern wall of city

687-691: Dome of the Rock Mosque built in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount near al-Aqsa mosque

797: The first embassy is sent from King Charlemagne to the Muslim Caliph, Harun al-Rashid, who is reported to have offered the custody of the Holy places in Jerusalem to Charlemagne, including The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

1009: Muslim Caliph orders complete destruction of Church of Holy Sepulchre

1042-48: The Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos sponsors the rebuilding of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in cooperation with the Muslim Caliph

1054: Christians in the Land of Israel are placed under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.

1095: Pope Urban II calls for the First Crusade

1099-1187: Crusader period with the first capture of Jerusalem by Europeans

May 1141: Spanish/Hebrew poet Judah Halevi promotes return of diaspora Jews to Jerusalem

1187: Saladin, a Kurdish Muslim captures Jerusalem from the Crusaders

1250: 1517 Mamlukes rule Jerusalem

1264: Nachmanides, also known as Ramban revitalizes Jewish presence in Jerusalem, encouraging other Jews to return there

1392: English King Henry IV makes a pilgrimage to Jerusalem

1516-1517: Ottoman Empire replaces Mamluk control over much of the Levant and Jerusalem

1535-1538: Suleiman the Magnificent rebuilds the city walls of Jerusalem

1563: The Shulchan Aruch, considered a definitive code of Jewish law, is written. Amongst many other rulings, it requires that doors and windows of Jewish synagogues should open towards Jerusalem so that worshippers may pray towards the holy city. According to archaeological evidence, Jews living outside of Jerusalem, since the Babylonian exile (597/586 BCE – 538BCE), have maintained Jerusalem as an object of prayer.

1604: An agreement is reached between the Ottoman Empire and King Henry IV of France allowing his subjects to freely visit Holy sites in Jerusalem

1774: Catherine the Great and the Ottoman Sultan sign an agreement giving Russia the right to preside over all Christian holy sites in the Ottoman Empire, including those in Jerusalem

1799: During the Siege of Acre, Napoleon unsuccessfully attempts to capture Jerusalem

1831: Muhammad Ali of Egypt takes Jerusalem

1840: Ottoman Turks retake Jerusalem

1847: Giuseppe Valerga becomes the first Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem since the time of the Crusades

1853: The Ottoman Sultan’s attempt to fix the rights and responsibilities of different denominations as regards specific holy places in Jerusalem resulted in European powers fighting in the Crimean War.

1860: Moses Montifiore establishes residential areas outside the old city, Mishkenot Sha’ananim, later known as Yemin Moshe, other Jewish neighborhoods established outside the city, (Mahne Israel-1868, Nahalat Siva’a-1869, Beit David-1872, Mea She’arim-1873)

1866: Jerusalem population – 16,000 inhabitants, 8,000 of whom are Jewish

June 1867: American Author Mark Twain visits Jerusalem as part of a great trip to the holy land. His travelogue is still referenced in many works on Israel and Zionism.

June 1878: Six European powers, Balkan states and the Ottoman Empire’s leaders met and signed the Treaty of Berlin that aimed to iron out border and jurisdiction rights the Treaty proclaimed “no alteration can be made in the status quo of the holy places.”

1878: Galician poet Naphtali Herz writes poem “Tikvatenu (Our Hope) becomes ultimately the Zionist anthem with phrase “An eye looks to Zion, our hope is not yet lost, the hope of two thousand years, to be a free people in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem.”

1887-88: Ottoman area where Palestine will be defined under the British in the 1920s, is divided into the districts of Acre, Nablus, and Jerusalem it is autonomous and ruled directly by Istanbul

1888: The initiative of Tsar Alexander III, the Russian Orthodox Church completes construction of the iconic Church of Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem

1899: St. George’s Cathedral, the seat of the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, is built

December 29, 1901: Jewish National Fund is established to finance land acquisition in Palestine. Yona Krementzky is named first President and opens the organizations first headquarters in Jerusalem in 1907.

1906: Bezalel Academy for Arts and Design established in Jerusalem

December 9, 1917: the British take Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks it was not a capital of an jurisdiction at the time.

May 1918: Muslim-Christian Association founded in Jaffa, meet next in Jerusalem

July 14, 1918: Cornerstone of Hebrew University in Jerusalem was laid, opening in April 1925

1918-1920: Jerusalem and all of Palestine governed by the British military administration

January 1919: First Palestine Arab Congress with 27 Arab delegates from across Palestine meet in Jerusalem, suggesting that Palestine should be part of Arab Syria.

1920-1948: Jerusalem is governed by British civilian administration as part of British control over the entire area of Palestine. Successive British High Commissioners will govern Palestine from Government House in Jerusalem.

1920: Va’ad Leumi (National Council) established in Jerusalem as the governing body of the Jewish community in British Palestine.

March 1920: The Jerusalem committee headed by Vladimir “Ze’ev” Jabotinsky and Pinchas Rutenberg recruited and trained volunteers in self-defense. The group was charged with defending the city’s Jews during the Nebi Musa riots which took place the following month. In June, the Haganah is formally established as a national underground Jewish defense organization.

April 4-7 1920: During a Muslim festival, Muslims and Jews clash in the old city of Jerusalem

December 12, 1920: The Histadrut (General Federation of Jewish Labor) is established in Haifa. In 1924, a cornerstone is laid for a new headquarters in Jerusalem.

1922: Jerusalem population – 62,500 inhabitants, 34,000 of whom are Jewish

1922: British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel appoints a young member of a prominent Jerusalem family, Hajj Amin al-Husayni to be Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and head of the Supreme Muslim Council that overseas all Muslim affairs in Palestine.

1928: Western Wall Comission made up of a Swedish, Dutch, and Swiss nationals reject the Arab view that Jews have no rights of access or worship at the (western) Wall, and give Jews free access to the Wall for prayer, but can not bring to the wall “appurtences of worship” such as an ark contained the Torah scrolls. The Western Wall is placed under the authority of the Chief Rabbinate established by the British administration.

August 1929: Muslim-Jewish clashes in Jerusalem over rights to the Jewish holy places, ultimately spreading to Hebron and other cities, killing hundreds.

August 12, 1929: The first meeting of the expanded Jewish Agency is held in Zurich. Conceived as an expanded, more representative body of world Jewry, the Jewish Agency was created to cooperate with the British on matters affecting the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. In 1930, it moved into its present headquarters on King George Street in Jerusalem.

1933: Following the rise of the Nazis to power in Germany, the Central Zionist Archives are moved from Berlin to the Jewish Agency building in Jerusalem.

July 1937: The British Royal Commission (Peel Report) proposes the concept of partitioning Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, with a special corridor to include Jerusalem and Bethlehem, for the first time. The report calls for, “A new Mandate should be instituted to execute the trust of maintaining the sanctity of Jerusalem and Bethlehem and ensuring free and safe access to them for all the world. Safeguarding the holy places was considered a “sacred trust of civilization.”

1946: Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Herzog purchases a piece of land in Jerusalem with the intention of it becoming the location for the Seat of the Chief Rabbinate.

July 22, 1946: King David Hotel blast, 90 plus British administrators and military officials die at the hands of the Jewish underground

November 29, 1947: UN partition resolution passed calling for an Arab and Jewish state, an economic union between them and the internationalization of a Jerusalem-Bethlehem corridor, administered by the UN.

1947-1949 War: Violence around the country, including Jerusalem acting under orders Arab soldiers looted and dynamited synagogues, and Jewish schools. Some twenty-seven synagogues and thirty schools were destroye.d

1948: Jerusalem population – 165,000 inhabitants, 100,000 of whom are Jewish

April 9, 1948: Arab village, Dir Yassin, a village outside of Jerusalem attacked by Jewish combatants, killing more than 150 Arabs, sending off a shock wave across Palestinian Arab society, causing massive numbers of Palestinians to leave their homes

April 13, 1948: Arab combatants attack Hadassah Medical Convoy killing 79, while British look on.

May-June 1948: With Arab combatants blockading conventional routes into Jerusalem, the Israel Defense Forces build a makeshift, covert route to get vehicles and supplies to the besieged city. The resulting “Burma Road” connected Kibbutz Hulda in the center of Israel to Jerusalem (roughly 40km).

May 13, 1948: Jewish community near Jerusalem, Kfar Etzion is brutalized by the Jordanian Legion, killing 130 Jews.

June 1, 1948: Israeli army builds alternative road to Jerusalem, blocked by Arab combatants.

1949: Independence war aftermath – Jerusalem is divided by fences and barriers until after the June 1967 war Israel controlled western half of the city or about 38 square kilometers, Jordan controlled the eastern half of the city that included the relatively small Old City of Jerusalem with the most important religious holy sites within it. Israel was not given access to those holy sites.

1949-1967: Following the conclusion of the 1947-49 War, a crossing between Jordanian and Israeli controlled sides of Jerusalem is constructed. The resulting “Mandelbaum Gate” remained until Israel took East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the June 1967 War. In addition to regular diplomatic and supply convoys, Arab-Israeli Christians were allowed to use the crossing to visit Christian holy sites under Jordanian control during Christmas time.

December 1949: The Israeli Cabinet votes to move the majority of Israel’s government institutions from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

1950: Originally founded at The Palestine Post in 1932, the popular English newspaper changes its name to The Jerusalem Post.

January 23, 1950: The Israeli Parliament declares Jerusalem Capital of Israel. Israel places its major institutions governmental institutions in Jerusalem—parliament, supreme court, governmental offices, and prime minister’s office

April 24, 1950: Jordan officially annexes the West Bank and the part of Jerusalem it conquered in the 1947-1949 War. During Jordan’s nineteen year rule of eastern Jerusalem the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives was desecrated with thousands of tombstones smashed or removed. The Jewish Quarter of the Old City was trashed by the Jordanian Army.

July 20, 1951: Jordan’s King Abdullah I assassinated in Jerusalem while at Friday prayers at al-Aqsa mosque, in preparation for further discussion with Israelis about an agreement between their two countries.

August 1951: 23 rd Zionist Congress convenes in Jerusalem, first meeting of the organization in Israel since founding in 1897.

July 1953: Israel moves its Foreign Ministry to Jerusalem

1953: Jordanians passed legislation prohibiting Christian charitable and religious institutions from purchasing property for religious purposes later the law was emended.

1958: Heychal Shlomo, the headquarters of the Rabbinate in Israel, is built in Jerusalem on the plot of land purchased by Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Herzog

October 14, 1958: The corner stone is laid for the current Knesset (parliament) building in Jerusalem. Prior to the building’s completion, Israel’s Knesset convened in the Frumin House in Jerusalem (1950-1966).

January 4, 1964: In the first Papal visit to Jerusalem and first time a pope is ever on an airplane, Pope Paul VI

May 28, 1964: Palestinian National Council convenes in Jerusalem, ends its meetings, stating that its goal is the liberation of Palestine through armed struggle.

May 11, 1966: Israel Museum established in Jerusalem

1967: Jerusalem population – 263,300 inhabitants, 195,700 of whom are Jewish

May 15, 1967: “Jerusalem of Gold” song composed and sung, becomes iconic Israeli song.

June 7, 1967: During the Six Day War between Israel and surrounding Arab states, where Israel took control over the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights, it took control over all of Jerusalem. After the war, the Vatican abandoned its demand that Jerusalem be internationalized. Moshe Dayan, Israel’s Defense Minister immediately after the war, while claiming sovereignty over the Temple Mount, chose to allow defacto control of it to the Muslim officials ‘absent the breakdown of public order. Controversy exists among Jews about the the right for access, and the right to pray.

An aerial photo of the Western Wall in Jerusalem from June 9, 1967. Photo: GPO Israel.

June 19, 1967: “There must be adequate recognition of the special interest of the three great religions in the Holy Places of Jerusalem,” Remarks by President Lyndon Johnson, https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1964-68v19/d344

June 28, 1967: The Israeli parliament officially extends Israel’s municipal borders and sovereignty over all of Jerusalem annexing 70 square kilometers to Israel, and amending its 1950 law which proclaimed Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

June 28, 1967: [US Department of State] “The hasty administrative action taken [by Israel] today cannot be regarded as determining the future of the Holy Places or the status of Jerusalem in relation to them.” https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1964-68v19/d344

1967: Temple Mount Faithful movement based in Jerusalem made up of Orthodox Jews seek to (re)build the Third Temple. Their efforts greatly antagonize Muslims in Jerusalem.

October 17, 1967: National Security Council Middle East adviser, “Anyone who fully appreciates Israel’s position knows how hard–maybe impossible–it will be to force Israel back to 4 June lines, especially in Jerusalem.” Memorandum from Harold H. Saunders, National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant, Eugene Rostow: Defining the US Position on ‘territorial integrity’ and borders in the Middle East after June 1967 War

August 21, 1969: fire started in the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem by an evangelical Christian, believing that its destruction would hasten the Second Coming of Jesus

1970: Egyptian Copts and Ethiopian Christians continue the multiple century long dispute about owernship and access to the Deir al-Sultan, a church near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. On Easter night that year, the Ethiopians changed the locks on the monestary!

December 4, 1973: “Liberation of the Arab city of Jerusalem, and rejection of any situation which may be harmful to complete Arab sovereignty over the Holy City.” Arab League Summit Conference Secret Resolutions.

December 22, 1973: Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmi, “A peace agreement must include these elements, among others: withdrawals, recognized frontiers, security arrangements, guarantees, a settlement of the legitimate interests of the Palestinians, and a recognition that Jerusalem contains places considered holy by three great religions.” Ismail Fahmi, Egyptian Foreign Minister, Opening Statements at the Geneva Middle East Peace Conference on the Middle East

December 22, 1973: Jordanian Foreign Minister Zayd al-Rifai, “Arab Jerusalem is an inseparable part of the Arab-occupied territory therefore, Israel is to relinquish its authority over it. Arab sovereignty must be restored in the Arab sector of the city. The Holy Places of all the three divine religions must be preserved, protected, and respected, and free access for the followers of these three religions must be secured and maintained.” Zayd al-Rifai, Jordanian Foreign Minister, Opening Statements at the Geneva Middle East Peace Conference on the Middle East

June 16, 1974: Richard Nixon becomes first US president to visit Israel and Jerusalem

July 19, 1977: “…Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to President Jimmy Carter, “In Israel there is an almost total national consensus that the city [Jerusalem] shall forever remain in the undivided and eternal capital of the Jewish people. Yet we are not asking the Arabs to accept this position in advance as our condition for going to Geneva [Middle East Peace Conference.” Menachem Begin, First Meeting of Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and U.S. President Jimmy Carter

November 20, 1977: Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in first visit of Arab leader to Israel, addresses the Israeli parliament, “In short then, when we ask what is peace for Israel, the answer would be that Israel lives Within her borders, among her Arab neighbors in safety and security, within the framework of all the guarantees she accepts and which are offered to her. But, how can this be achieved? How can we reach this conclusion which would lead us to permanent peace based on justice? There are facts that should be faced with courage and clarity. There are Arab territories which Israel has occupied and still occupies by force. We insist on complete withdrawal from these territories, including Arab Jerusalem.” Speech by Egyptian President Sadat to the Knesset. https://israeled.org/resources/documents/egyptian-president-anwar-sadat-to-the-israeli-knesset/

1978-79: Sadat wanted the US to pressure Israel to explicitly state that Jerusalem be part of the negotiated areas under discussion surrounding the Egyptian-Israel peace process Begin would have none of it. Jerusalem did not become an agenda item for any future negotiations.

September 17, 1978: “[President Carter to President Sadat] Dear Mr. President: I have received your letter of September 17, 1978, setting forth the Egyptian position on Jerusalem. I am transmitting a copy of that letter to Prime Minister Menachem Begin for his information. The position of the United States on Jerusalem remains the same as stated by Ambassador Goldberg in the United Nations General Assembly on July 14, 1967, and subsequently by Ambassador Yost in the United Nations Security Council on July 1, 1969. Sincerely, Jimmy Carter,” “[PM Begin to president Carter] Dear Mr. President Jimmy Carter, Thank you for letter of September 17, 1978. I have the honor to inform you, Mr. President, that on June 28, 1967 – Israel’s Parliament (The Knesset) promulgated and adopted a law to the effect: “The Government is empowered by a decree to apply the law, the jurisdiction and administration of the State to any part of Eretz Israel (Land of Israel – Palestine), as stated in that decree.” On the basis of this law, the Government of Israel decreed in July 1967 that Jerusalem is one city indivisible, the true Capital of the State of Israel. Sincerely, Menachem Begin” An exchange of letters – Jimmy Carter, Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin

March 10-13, 1979: President Jimmy Carter goes to Israel to seek conclusion of Egyptian-Israeli Treaty negotiations and sees Israeli political leaders in Jerusalem before returning to Cairo.

March 22, 1979 “Calls once more upon Israel, as the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, to rescind its previous measures and to desist from taking any action which would result in changing the legal status and geographical nature and materially affecting the demographic composition of the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, and, in particular, not to transfer parts of its own civilian population into the occupied Arab territories..” UNSC Resolution 446 US abstains, one week before signing of Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty.

March 31, 1979: “It [Egypt] has thus deviated from the Arab ranks and has chosen, in collusion with the United States, to stand by the side of the Zionist enemy in one trench has behaved unilaterally in the Arab-Zionist struggle affairs has violated the Arab nation’s rights has exposed the nation’s destiny, its struggle and aims to dangers and challenges has relinquished its pan-Arab duty of liberating the occupied Arab territories, particularly Jerusalem, and of restoring the Palestinian Arab people’s inalienable national rights, including their right to repatriation, self-determination and establishment of the independent Palestinian State on their national soil.” Beirut Arab League Council Resolution on Egypt’s Deviations from Arab Ranks

July 30, 1980: Israeli parliament passes its Fifth Basic Law, this one on Jerusalem. It states “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel it is the seat of the President of the State, the Knesset, the Government and the Supreme Court. The Holy Places shall be protected from desecration and any other violation and from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings towards those places. Israel Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel, https://israeled.org/israels-basic-laws/

August 20, 1980: In response to Israel’s Basic Law on Jerusalem, the UN in Security Council Resolution 478 “condemns Israel’s Basic Law and censures Israeli actions, calls Israel an occupying power of Jerusalem, vote was 14-0 with US abstention,” and it says that “Those States that have established diplomatic missions at Jerusalem to withdraw such missions from the Holy City,” and “Determines that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the recent “basic law” on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith.” UN Security Council Resolution 478, which is the last of five UN Security Council Resolutions passed during the Carter administration where it abstained, rather than oppose text of resolutions calling for Israel to cease construction of all settlements in the “Arab occupied territories since 1967, including Jerusalem.” https://israeled.org/resources/documents/un-security-council-resolution-478/

1980: The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem is founded by evangelical Christians in support of the Israeli government’s Jerusalem Law

August 6, 1981: Offer by Saudi King Fahd, “Israeli withdrawal from all the Arab territories occupied in 1967, including Arab Jerusalem… Establishing an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital…” (Principles #2 and #6) The Fahd Plan for an Arab-Israeli Settlement

September 1, 1982: “When the border is negotiated between Jordan and Israel, our view on the extent to which Israel should be asked to give up territory will be heavily affected by the extent of true peace and normalization and the security arrangements offered in return. Finally, we remain convinced that Jerusalem must remain undivided, but its final status should be decided through negotiations.” Reagan Statement on the West Bank and the Palestinians, https://israeled.org/reagan-statement-west-bank-palestinians/#prettyPhoto

February 11, 1985: “The Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Palestinian Liberation Organization have agreed to move together toward the achievement of a peaceful and just settlement of the Middle East crisis and the termination of Israeli occupation of the occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem…” PLO Accord with Jordan (Yasir Arafat, PLO and King Hussein, Jordan)

January 5, 1988: “Jerusalem will be internationally recognized as Israel’s capital under any future peace agreements. But Jerusalem is the center of Palestinian aspirations as well. Therefore, a peaceful Jerusalem should remain a unified city, with guaranteed freedom of worship and access, and political arrangements should be found that reflect the nature of the city’s population.” Toward Arab-Israeli Peace: Report of a Study Group, the Brookings Institute

July 31, 1988: “Of late, it has become clear that there is a general Palestinian and Arab orientation which believes in the need to highlight the Palestinian identity in full, in all efforts and activities that are related to the Palestine question and its developments. It has also become obvious that there is a general conviction that maintaining the legal and administrative relationship with the West Bank, and the consequent special Jordanian treatment of the brother Palestinians living under occupation through Jordanian institutions in the occupied territories, goes against this orientation. It would be an obstacle to the Palestinian struggle which seeks to win international support for the Palestine question, considering that it is a just national issue of a people struggling against foreign occupation.” [Jordan’s King Hussein withdraws his country’s legal and administrative ties over the West Bank, except for Jordanian administrative and financial support over the Moslem and Christian Holy Sites in Jerusalem] Speech by Jordanian King Hussein on Jordan’s Separation from West Bank

August 18, 1988: “The Arab countries surrounding Israel are requested to open their borders for the Mujahidin of the Arab and Islamic countries so they can take their role and join their efforts with their Muslim brothers of Palestine. As for the other Arabic and Islamic countries, they are asked to ease the movement of Mujahidin from it and to it — that is the least they could do. We shouldn’t lose this opportunity to remind every Muslim that when the Jews occupied immaculate Jerusalem in 1967, they stood on the stairs of the blessed Masjid al-Aqsa loudly chanting: Muhammad has died and left girls behind.” Hamas Charter, Islamic Resistance Movement of Palestine

November 15, 1988: “…the PNC declares in the name of God and in the name of the Palestinian Arab people the establishment [qiyam] of the State of Palestine over our Palestinian soil — over our Palestinian soil — and its capital holy Jerusalem… the PNC declares in the name of God and in the name of the Palestinian Arab people, the emergence of the State of Palestine over our Palestinian soil and its capital holy Jerusalem. The State of Palestine belongs to Palestinians wherever they may be…” Speech by PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat to the Palestine National Council Declaring a State

October 15, 1989: “O masses of our great people, masses of our heroic Arab nation: The continuation of the blessed intifadah and its firmness on the soil of the homeland the management of the political battle in accordance with the right policy adopted by the PLO leadership on the basis of the PNC resolutions on Algiers and the Palestinian peace initiative produced by this policy and unleashed by brother President Yasser Arafat in his speech before the United Nations in Geneva opened the way for the group of achievements that were scored. They also led to the growth of national victories toward realizing our peoples’ aims of return, self-determination and the establishment of our independent state, with holy Jerusalem as its capital, on our sacred soil.” Statement by the PLO’s Central Council

March 3, 1990: “My position is that the foreign policy of the United States says we do not believe there should be new settlements in the West Bank or in East Jerusalem. And I will conduct that policy as if it’s firm, which it is, and I will be shaped in whatever decisions we make to see whether people can comply with that policy. And that’s our strongly held view, and we think it’s constructive to peace-the peace process, too-if Israel will follow that view. And so, there’s divisions in Israel on this question, incidentally. Parties are divided on it. But this is the position of the United States and I’m not going to change that position.” Statement by U.S. President Bush on Jewish Settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem

January 25, 1991: “Nothing the Palestinians do in selecting the members of this delegation at this stage will affect their demands on East Jerusalem or constitute a precedent or a prejudgment of the results of the negotiations…. The U.S. position is that Jerusalem should never again be a divided city. Its final status should be determined during the negotiations.” U.S. Memorandum of Understanding to Palestinians

March 12, 1991: “Israel should not be allowed to continue to block and foil the UN resolutions on the Palestinians, particularly with regard to the annexation of East Jerusalem, the establishment of settlements, and the expropriation of land and resources. It is vital that the fourth Geneva Convention be applied.” The Eleven-Point Manifesto for Negotiating Outcome and Application of Relevant UN Palestinian Resolutions, Submitted by Palestinians

September 16, 1991: “The United States reaffirms its position that Israel has the right to secure and defensible borders (being aware that the armistice lines of 5 June 1967 are neither secure nor defensible). The borders must be discussed directly with the neighboring states….The United States opposes the idea of a Palestinian state between Israel and Jordan…. Jerusalem will never be re-divided. The United States notes the Israeli position that united Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel.” U.S. Memorandum of Agreement to Israel on the Peace Process, https://israeled.org/resources/documents/u-s-memorandum-agreement-israel-peace-process/

October 18, 1991: “The United States understands how much importance Palestinians attach to the question of East Jerusalem. Thus, we want to assure you that nothing Palestinians do in choosing their delegation members in this phase of the process will affect their claim to East Jerusalem, or be prejudicial or precedential to the outcome of negotiations. It remains the firm position of the United States that Jerusalem must never again be a divided city and that its final status should be decided by negotiations. Thus, we do not recognize Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem or the extension of its municipal boundaries, and we encourage all sides to avoid unilateral acts that would exacerbate local tensions, or make negotiations more difficult or preempt their final outcome. It is also the United States position that a Palestinian resident in Jordan with ties to a prominent Jerusalem family would be eligible to join the Jordanian side of the delegation.” U.S. Assurances to the Palestinian Delegation to the Madrid Conference

1992: Following 44 years of the Israeli Supreme Court being housed in a temporary, rented building in Jerusalem, the permanent building is completed in the Givat Ram neighborhood. It situated between the Knesset and Ministry of Foreign Affairs buildings.

(L-R) PM Rabin, Preisdent Bill Clinton, and Chairman of the PLO Arafat pictured on September 13, 1993 in Washington. Photo: US Office of the Historian.

September 13, 1993: “It is understood that these negotiations shall cover remaining issues, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbors, and other issues of common interest… Palestinians of Jerusalem who live there will have the right to participate in the election process, according to an agreement between the two sides….Jurisdiction of the Council will cover the West Bank and Gaza Strip territory, except for issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations: Jerusalem, settlements, military locations and Israelis.” Oslo Accords [Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements] https://israeled.org/resources/documents/oslo-accords-declaration-principles-interim-self-government-agreements/

September 13, 1993: “It is understood that these negotiations shall cover remaining issues, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbors, and other issues of common interest… Palestinians of Jerusalem who live there will have the right to participate in the election process, according to an agreement between the two sides….Jurisdiction of the Council will cover the West Bank and Gaza Strip territory, except for issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations: Jerusalem, settlements, military locations and Israelis.” Oslo Accords [Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements] https://israeled.org/resources/documents/oslo-accords-declaration-principles-interim-self-government-agreements/

December 1993: Israel and the Vatican sign an accord that leads to mutual recognition and the exchange of ambassadors. The accord notes that “the State of Isralel affirms its continuing commitment to maintain and respect the ‘status quo’ in the Christian holy places…” The Vatican recognizes the PLO in October 1994.

May 10, 1994: “…My brothers, it must be understood that after the Gulf war the main conspiracy was to completely eliminate the Palestinian problem from the international agenda. … Our community in Kuwait, which was one of the largest and richest, was kicked out of Kuwait. Not only that, but later we were presented with the Bush initiative on the Madrid Conference. And, it was not easy to agree to go to Madrid conference, because of its very difficult conditions….The jihad will continue. Jerusalem is not only of the Palestinian people, but of the entire Islamic nation. You are responsible for Palestine and for Jerusalem…. After this agreement you must understand that our main battle is not to get the maximum out of them here and there. The main battle is over Jerusalem, the third most sacred site of the Muslims. Everybody must understand it. Therefore, I insisted before signing (on the Gaza and Jericho agreement in Cairo) to get a letter from the Israelis that Jerusalem is one of the items for discussion in the negotiations. We are not talking about (a discussion of) Israel’s permanent status. No. We are talking about the permanent status of Palestine. It is very important that everybody understand it.” Yasser Arafat Speech on “Jihad” for Jerusalem

October 26, 1994: “…in accordance with the Washington Declaration, Israel respects the present special role for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy Shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.” Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty, https://israeled.org/resources/documents/israeli-jordanian-treaty-excerpts/

November 1994: Twelve Christian church denominations sign a memorandum, “The Significance of Jerusalem for Christians, calling for the maintenance of the ‘status quo’ in Jerusalem.

January 1995: The Islamic Conference’s Jerusalem Committee opposes Jordan’s role in maintaining the Muslim Holy Sites in Jerusalem, supporting to transfer power over the holy places to the Palestinian Authority, continuing the angry jockeying for influence over Jerusalem between Jordan and the Palestinians, which began well before Israel was established.

September 18, 1995: “We still carry on our shoulders many other tasks, such as moving toward the permanent status negotiations as soon as possible. The permanent status negotiations will deal with such issues as settlements, the delineation of the borders, the rights of Palestinian refugees as determined by international legitimacy, and the fundamental issue concerning the status of Jerusalem, which our people irrespective of their faith — Muslims, Christians, or Jews — consider to be the heart and soul of their entity and the center of their cultural, spiritual, and economic life. Here, I must note that the sanctity of Jerusalem for us all dictates that we make it the joint cornerstone and the capital of peace between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples inasmuch as it is a beacon for believers all over the world.” Taba Agreement: Speeches by Arab and Israeli Leaders at the Washington Signing Ceremony (Remarks by Yasser Arafat)

October 1995: Jerusalem Embassy Act passed by Congress with an overwhelming 93-5 majority in the Senate and 374-37 in the House, calling on the embassy to move to Jerusalem unless the president uses a waiver for national security reasons.

July 10, 1996: “Since 1967, under Israeli sovereignty, united Jerusalem has, for the first time in two thousand years, become the city of peace. For the first time, the holy places have been open to worshippers from all three great faiths. For the first time, no group in the city or among its pilgrims has been persecuted or denied free expression. For the first time, a single sovereign authority has afforded security and protection to members of every nationality who sought to come to pray there. There have been efforts to re-divide this city by those who claim that peace can come through division — that it can be secured through multiple sovereignties, multiple laws and multiple police forces. This is a groundless and dangerous assumption, which impels me to declare today: There will never be such a re-division of Jerusalem. Never.” Speech by Prime Minister Netanyahu to a Joint Session of the United States Congress

March 21, 2000: In the second Papal visit to Jerusalem ever, Pope John Paul II visits Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites meets with Israeli politicians and chief Rabbis and blessed the state of Israel. While visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, he stated ”As bishop of Rome and successor of the Apostle Peter, I assure the Jewish people that the Catholic Church, motivated by the Gospel law of truth and love, and by no political considerations, is deeply saddened by the hatred, acts of persecution and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews by Christians at any time and in any place.”

July 11-25, 2000: As part of the “Camp David II Summit,” the Israeli delegation offered to divide Jerusalem into Jewish and Arab Areas. Under their proposal, Israel would maintain control over the settlement blocks of Kedar, Ma’aleh Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, and Gilo. The PA would then gain control of the Arab neighborhoods of Shuafat, Kafr Aqab, Issawiya, Wadi Joz, A-Tur, Abu Tor, Beit Safafa, and Sur baher. The Old would be divided between the PA and Israel. Arafat turned the deal down, causing negotiations to halt.

September 28, 2000: Likud Party leader Ariel Sharon visits the al-Aqsa area and is met by Palestinian protestors, sparking a sporadic Palestinian violence for five years known as the second intifadah. Subsequent research shows PLO leader Yasir Arafat instigated the violence against Israel to coincide with Sharon’s visit.

November 2002: Construction of a new, 225,000-square-foot Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) building is completed. The MFA originally moves to Jerusalem in 1953.

December 23, 2000: “The general principle is that Arab areas [of Jerusalem] are Palestinian and Jewish ones are Israeli. This would apply to the Old City as well. I urge the two sides to work on maps to create maximum contiguity for both sides. Regarding the HaramTemple Mount, I believe that the gaps are not related to practical administration but to symbolic issues of sovereignty and to finding a way to accord respect to the religious beliefs of both sides.” Clinton Parameters for Negotiating Peace, https://israeled.org/clinton-parameters-negotiating-peace/

March 19, 2001: “I bring you greetings from Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people for the past 3000 years, and of the State of Israel for the past 52 years and forever. Jerusalem belongs to all the Jewish people – we in Israel are only custodians of the city. Only under the sovereignty of Israel has Jerusalem been open to all faiths. Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, the holiest site to the Jewish people, is something you should stand up and speak out about. Jerusalem will remain united under the sovereignty of Israel – forever.” Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s address to the AIPAC Policy Conference

March 28, 2002: “…Having listened to the statement made by his royal highness Prince Abdullah Bin Abdullaziz, the crown prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in which his highness presented his initiative, calling for full Israeli withdrawal from all the Arab territories occupied since June 1967, in implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, reaffirmed by the Madrid Conference of 1991 and the land for peace principle, and Israel’s acceptance of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in return for the establishment of normal relations in the context of a comprehensive peace with Israel…” Resolution of the 2002 Arab league Summit in Beirut, Known as the “Arab Peace Initiative, https://israeled.org/resources/documents/2002-arab-peace-initiative/

April 30, 2003: “Parties reach final and comprehensive permanent status agreement that ends the Israel-Palestinian conflict in 2005, through a settlement negotiated between the parties based on UNSCR 242, 338, and 1397, that ends the occupation that began in 1967, and includes an agreed, just, fair, and realistic solution to the refugee issue, and a negotiated resolution on the status of Jerusalem that takes into account the political and religious concerns of both sides, and protects the religious interests of Jews, Christians, and Muslims worldwide, and fulfills the vision of two states, Israel and sovereign, independent, democratic and viable Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security.” A Roadmap for a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Presented by the Quartet, European Union, United Nations, Russia, and the United States, https://israeled.org/resources/documents/roadmap-permanent-two-state-solution-israeli-palestinian-conflict/

February 8, 2006: “We differ on several issues. And this may include settlement, the release of prisoners, the wall closing, and institutions in Jerusalem. We will not be able to solve all of these issues today, but our positions towards these issues are clear and firm.” Palestinian Authority President Abbas in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt as Part of Joint Statement with Israeli PM Sharon

June 4, 2008: “Let me be clear. Israel’s security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable. The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive, and that allows them to prosper — but any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” Speech by Senator Barack Obama at the AIPAC Policy Conference

May 11, 2009: In a Papal visit hailed by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as “an important stage in the development of the relationship between the Vatican and Israel, strengthening the dialogue between Christianity, Judaism and Islam, as part of the effort to achieve peace in the region,” Pope Benedict XVI meets with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, likewise visiting Jewish, Christian, and Muslim holy sites, including those in Jerusalem.

June 14, 2009: “Regarding the remaining important issues that will be discussed as part of the final settlement, my positions are known: Israel needs defensible borders, and Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel with continued religious freedom for all faiths.” Speech by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at Bar-Ilan University, https://israeled.org/resources/documents/pm-benjamin-netanyahu-bar-ilan-university/

March 19, 2010: “Recalling that the annexation of East Jerusalem is not recognized by the international community, the Quartet underscores that the status of Jerusalem is a permanent status issue that must be resolved through negotiations between the parties and condemns the decision by the Government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem… The Quartet recognizes that Jerusalem is a deeply important issue for Israelis and Palestinians, and for Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and believes that through good faith and negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem, and safeguards this status for people around the world.” Remarks by Quartet Representatives, UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Moscow, Russia

March 22, 2010, “And the United States recognizes that Jerusalem – Jerusalem is a deeply, profoundly important issue for Israelis and Palestinians, for Jews, Muslims, and Christians. We believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem and safeguards its status for people around the world.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, AIPAC Policy Conference.

May 24, 2014: Marking the 50 th anniversary of the first Papal visit to Jerusalem, Pope Francis travels to the holy city as well as other locations, where he meets with Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinians leaders. Throughout his trip, the Pope made numerous pleas for peace in the region.

December 17, 2014 “Reiterates its strong support for the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, with the secure State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security on the basis of the right of self-determination and full respect of international law:…” European Parliament Calls for Recognition of Palestinian Statehood in Context with two States Living Side by Side, https://israeled.org/resources/documents/european-parliament-calls-for-recognition-of-palestinian-statehood-in-context-with-two-states-living-side-by-side/

2015: Jerusalem population – 857,800 inhabitants, 524,700 of whom are Jewish

March 21, 2016: “But when the United States stands with Israel, the chances of peace really rise and rises exponentially. That’s what will happen when Donald Trump is president of the United States. We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem. And we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the State of Israel.” Donald Trump at AIPAC Policy Conference, March 21, 2016.

December 23, 2016: UNSC Resolution “Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations…” UN Security Council Resolution 2334 [The resolution was passed in a 14–0 vote by members of the U.N.], https://israeled.org/resources/documents/text-egyptian-drafted-unsc-resolution-2334-israeli-settlements/

March 26, 2017: “And know this, after decades of simply talking about it, the president of the United States is giving serious consideration to moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.” Vice President Mike Pence, AIPAC Policy Conference.

December 6, 2017: “…I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering. I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process. And to work towards a lasting agreement. Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this is a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace…. Jerusalem is today, and must remain, a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the Stations of the Cross, and where Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque. … This decision is not intended, in any way, to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement. We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians. We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.” President Trump’s Speech Recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel, https://israeled.org/resources/documents/president-trumps-speech-recognizing-jerusalem-capital-israel/

December 21, 2017 “Affirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council, and in this regard, calls upon all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem, pursuant to resolution 478 (1980) of the Security Council..” UN General Assembly Status of Jerusalem Resolution GA/11995 (128 in favor, 9 against, and 35 abstensions), https://www.timesofisrael.com/full-text-of-un-resolution-rejecting-jerusalem-recognition/

Jerusalem Old City

Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and also the largest city in the country. Jerusalem Old City is said to be the oldest and the holiest city in the world. It has a history that spans back to the fourth millennium BC. The old city is full of sites that are holy and thus attract countless pilgrims from all over the world. Jerusalem is claimed to be sacred by the three major religions. It is believed by many that anyone who is a Christian, Jewish or Muslim must once pay a visit to this holy place. The old city is filled with countless temples and ruins that any tourists can visit. The old city of Jerusalem has a very strong combination of Jewish and Arab culture.

The main attractions are found in the overcrowded city which includes some remains of the Roman dynasty. The Tower of David is where King David had his final resting place. But the main focal point of attraction is where Jesus is said to have been crucified.

Jerusalem Old City is also famous for the ‘Wailing Wall’ which was once called the Solomon temple. The wall has countless scribbled messages to God that are hidden in and around the stones. The wall is a very enchanting place for tourists to come and get a firsthand experience of some common Jewish rituals. The Dome of the Rock, located at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, is a shrine that represents the holiest place of the Islam religion. Muslims believe that the site is where the prophet Muhammad ascended into heaven.

A Photo Diary of Jerusalem Old City

Jerusalem, Israel&rsquos capital, is one of the most fascinating and famous cities in the whole world. Unfortunately, Jerusalem&rsquos treasures have led people to fight over it many times throughout its rich history leading to its destruction not once but twice. Christians, Muslims and Jews have had a special place in their heart for Jerusalem for many years and many come especially to Israel to visit the holy sites within the Old City. Jerusalem is so special, and there&rsquos no better way to get familiarize with its ancient history than getting lost in the alleys of the Old City. Wondering through Jerusalem&rsquos Old Town is a special experience, one you would probably cherish for many years to come. We loved strolling around the winding alleys and discover its everyday street scenes and hidden gems. Moreover, we even had a chance to visit Jerusalem during Easter and we took part in the famous Good Friday Procession. We really tried to capture the special atmosphere in Jerusalem&rsquos Old City and share it with you in this photo diary of Jerusalem.

Good Friday Procession

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Old Jerusalem's alleys are a photographer's dream

The Four Quarters of the Old City

The Old City of Jerusalem might be less than 1 square kilometer but there are four quarters in this Old Town, each with its own character.

The Christian Quarter &ndash this is probably the most visited area of the Old City. You&rsquoll find here plenty of souvenir stands and shops, churches and other holy sites and of course the most significant site for Christians &ndash The Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Armenian Quarter &ndash this is the smallest quarter that is home for more than 2,000 Armenians, a community who has been living here over 2,000 years. In the Armenian Quarter you can visit the Armenian Museum, the beautiful St. James Cathedral and the Tower of David.

The Jewish Quarter &ndash this quarter is the place of residence of Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families. There are a few schools for Jewish studies in this compound as well as synagogues, shops and restaurants. For history lovers make sure to visit the ancient Roman Cardo street and the old Byzantine bazaar and of course, the Western Wall.

The Muslim Quarter &ndash this is the largest quarter in the Old City, always busy with activity and crowds. You&rsquoll find here a maze of alleys filled with shops and produce stands as well as restaurants and little hummus joints. You can also find here a few Christian churches and the famous Dome of the Rock.

Easter in the Holy City - in pictures

The Western Wall (Ha-Kotel)

The Western Wall or the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem&rsquos Old City is probably the most sacred sites in the world for Jews. This Wall used to be one of the supporting walls of the Second Temple which was destroyed by the Romans. Archaeological researchers have proven the authenticity of the Western Wall whose history dates back to the second century BC.

For years Jews from all over the world have come to pray in this holy site and place notes in the crevices with prayers for God. Over 1 million notes are placed every year in the Wall&rsquos cracks, and these are collected twice a year and buried in the Mount of Olives. Nowadays, thanks to modern technology, you can even email your note to The Western Wall Heritage Foundation and they will put it for you! Remember that this is a holy site and you are expected to dress accordingly. In addition, due to the gender separation in Judaism, Men and women need to pray in different sections that are separated by a barrier. For more information about opening hours and location of the Western Wall.

Via Dolorosa

Via Dolorosa or the Way of Sorrow is believed to be the route Jesus walked on his way to the crucifixion. There are fourteen stations along this route. The first Station of the Cross is located in the Muslim Quarter and the last five stations are located in the compound of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. For many Christian believers walking Via Dolorosa is the highlight of their trip to Israel. You can walk this route by yourself or for a more interesting experience you can join the Friday Procession that is led by Franciscan priests. The procession starts at the Church of the Flagellation just near the Lions Gate at 3:00 or 4:00 pm (depending on the season).

Good Friday in Jerusalem

Easter and Good Friday in Jerusalem

During Easter, there are many events all over the Old City starting with Palm Sunday and ending with Easter Monday. One of the most special dates in and a really unique experience is the procession of Good Friday in Jerusalem when hundreds and thousands of believers from all over the world congregate to walk Via Dolorosa, singing, praying and carrying crosses. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be able to attend Good Friday in Jerusalem. Hope we did it justice in our photo diary.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

There are many churches and holy sites in the Old Town of Jerusalem, but for Christians, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the most sacred one. It is the site of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Since the fourth century many Christians pilgrims have visited this hole site and nowadays several Christian denominations share the control over this sacred place. For more information about opening hours and location of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock

The Temple Mount is a holy site for Muslims, Christians and Jews. For Christians, many events in Jesus Christ&rsquos life occurred here. For Jews, it is a holy site since parts of the four walls around the Temple Mount date back to the time of the Second Temple. The Temple Mount is sacred to Muslims since according to their beliefs it is where the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven. The Dome of the Rock, one of the symbols of Jerusalem, was built when the Muslims conquered Jerusalem in the seventh century. This spectacular shrine is, in fact, the oldest standing Muslim monument in the world. Although it is located in the Muslim Quarter, the visitor entrance to this compound is through the Mughrabi Gate just next to the Western Wall. Due to very limited visitor hours for tourists (2 hours in the morning and the same at noon) and the security checks required to enter this holy site, this is one of the busiest sites in the Old City, therefore, make sure to arrive very early in the morning, and even then there will probably be long queues. Bring your passport and don&rsquot bring any Jewish religious artifacts since you won&rsquot be able to enter with them. Officially the site is closed for visitors on Fridays, Saturdays and Muslim holidays but sometimes it can be closed without notice on other occasions. You should find out with your host regarding the opening hours since they change quite often. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the mosques on the Temple Mount.

Watch the video: Στα λευκά ντύθηκε η Παλιά Πόλη της Ιερουσαλήμ