Spring is the perfect season to enjoy a walk around the top of the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, allowing you to see the Holy City from a totally different perspective – viewing Jerusalem from above!
The Old City is divided into four quarters and filled with narrow cobbled streets and ancient buildings that are difficult to appreciate at street level. Climbing up to the city ramparts allows you to appreciate the scale and layout of the city in a totally different and refreshing way.
The walls of the Old City were mostly built during the 16th century on the orders of Sultan Suleiman I when Jerusalem was part of the Ottoman Empire. It was built to protect the city against attack, and you can still see its defensive features such as arrow slits in the wall, and it has been restored and fitted with guard rails for the safety of pedestrians. However, the walls are made of stone that has been worn smooth over the centuries and can be slippery when wet. We recommend wearing sensible shoes and taking it slowly where the steps and stones are uneven.
A single ticket for the Ramparts Walk tour allows you to explore either the north side or the south side of the city or both – a combined distance of almost two miles. Heading north from the Jaffa Gate, the Ramparts Walk takes you around the edge of the Christian Quarter, with views of the major churches and religious establishments built by different Christian denominations. As you continue around the Muslim Quarter, you can see not only mosques and minarets but also school buildings and sports fields. You can walk as far as the Lions Gate, where there are spectacular views of the Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount.
The southern route is shorter and easier, starting at the Tower of David, just inside the Jaffa Gate, takes you around the Armenian Quarter, and bringing you close to the Western Wall Plaza, between the Zion and Dung Gates.
The Ramparts Walk offers you a bird’s eye view of the fascinating Arab Souq that runs through the Old City, with the same sounds and scents enjoyed from a different viewpoint. It allows you to appreciate how many religious institutions and private homes are enclosed within the Old City walls, and what life is like for its residents.
When you descend from the Ramparts, you will have a clearer understanding of the layout of the City as you set out to explore its history at ground level and below.
Shatour Israel Experience tour guides are experts in guiding groups around the city of Jerusalem – it’s our home, after all. Talk to us about including a Ramparts Walk during your next visit to Israel.