Our walking tour will be in one of the most ancient part of the Old City of Jerusalem, the Jewish Quarter. In this area, there are newer buildings because there was extensive damage to all the major structures (including the synagogues), destroyed by the Jordanians during the Six Day War in 1967.
The devastation allowed Israeli archaeologists to carry out massive excavations to reveal layers of history which had been obscured for centuries, including the whole quarter from the Second Temple Period. Just outside of the walls of the Old City, we will begin at King David’s Tomb which is one of the holiest sites for all three monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam).
Next, we will pass by the excavated Roman-Byzantine Cardo street which was built in around 130 CE by Hadrian and Constantine in the 4th century. Now it is lined with with lots of art galleries and souvenir shops. After a while we will visit the famous Hurva synagogue, the symbol of Jewish commitment to Jerusalem. In the center of the Jewish Quarter plaza we will see the famous golden Menorah, a gift of Ukrainian Jewish philanthropists.
We will visit Herodian underground ruins which shows the daily life within the priestly families' homes dating to the times of King Herod in the 1st century CE. Then we will come to the excavated remains of the city's wall from the times of King Hezekiah, 8th century BCE followed by a typical Israeli kosher lunch. Our next visit is another museum called the Burnt House. While there, we will view the ruins along with an excellent movie that provides the history and culture of one of the priestly families whose home was burned during the siege of Jerusalem when the Temple was destroyed.
At the end of our wonderful day we will visit the second holiest place of the Jewish people and sacred to many of the religions throughout the world - the Western Wall. Built by Herod the great, it is also known as the Wailing Wall or Kotel. According to common belief, the Divine Presence has never left the Wall even though only it is the only fragment of the Temple's retaining walls to survive the destruction of the Romans. Time will be provided for prayer and reflection. You may wish to participate in the tradition of writing your prayer then placing it in a crack of the Wall.
If time permits, we can visit the Temple Mount. The entrance for non-Moslems is open Sunday through Thursday. Modest clothes are required (No shorts, mini skirts, revealed shoulders).
Next year in Jerusalem!
(Herodian Quarter entrance fee 75 NIS/45 NIS)
(Burnt House entrance fee 29 NIS/15 NIS)