The Old City of Jerusalem is a city that is said to be the “center of the world”. This city which is relatively small at just .35 square miles holds cultural and religious significance for at least half the world’s population. There is truly nowhere on earth like it. A city that the world converges on however is divided… into four distinct quarters of Jerusalem.

While Jerusalem proper is actually much much larger than the .35 square miles at 48.3 square miles, most of the world immediately thinks of the Old City when it comes to Jerusalem. Within it are four distinct quarters of Old City Jerusalem; The Jewish Quarter, The Christian Quarter, The Armenian Quarter and the Muslim Quarter.

Where Did the Quarters of Jerusalem Come From?

The quarters of Jerusalem are actually a very common system in cities in the Middle East. It is seen as a way to keep the peace in densely populated areas. Some type of division of the city has probably taken place for generations, though not always the quarters they currently are.

What are the Quarters of Jerusalem?

Jewish Quarter

The Jewish Quarter

The Jewish Quarter is about 28.7 acres in size and the population is around 2,000. The Jewish Quarter has been a point of intense change overs over many centuries, but since 1967, it has solidly been a Jewish population in the Old City.

Points of Interest

  • The Western Wall
  • The Temple Institute
  • The Cardo

Christian Quarter

The Christian Quarter

The Christian Quarter is in the northwestern part of the Old City. It goes from the Jaffa Gate to the New Gate. Around 7,000 Christians reside there, mostly Arab.

Points of Interest

  • Church of the Holy Sepulcher
  • Lutheran Church of the Redeemer
  • Muristan Market

Armenian Quarter

The Armenian Quarter

The Armenian Quarter is accessed through the Zion and Jaffa gates. It has around 2500 people living within its 31 acres. For many, it seems strange that there is an Armenian Quarter, but it has a long history that goes back to the 4th century AD when Christianity became the official religion of Armenia. It’s the longest lasting Armenian community. The quarter actually sees themselves as part of the Christian Quarter, except in the quarter there is actual Armenian culture and language used.

The Armenians have an interesting history in Jerusalem that has allowed them to remain in relative peace. The Mamluks even said whoever bothered them would be “cursed by Allah”.

Points of Interest

  • Tower of David
  • Cathedral of St. James

Muslim Quarter

The Muslim Quarter

The Muslim Quarter covers seventy-seven acres in the northeastern area of the city. It extends from the Lions Gate to the Damascus Gate. The quarter is the largest and most populated, serving as home to 22,000 people. While most of those are muslim, there are sixty Jewish families who reside there as well.

In this quarter you will find many small shops and you’ll notice they aren’t all souvenirs. Remember that this serves as home for 20,000 people, within it’s so you will see some shops that sell household wears and and personal items for the locals.

Points of Interest

  • The Western Wall Tunnels– While the entrance is from the Jewish Quarter, most of the tunnels actually lie under the Muslim Quarter.
  • Pools of Bethesda
  • St. Anne’s Church

Now is the time to plan your tour for 2021 and 2022 and come explore the quarters for yourself! Contact our helpful staff to find out about how you can plan a tour with confidence!