Head north on Jerusalem’s walls

Looking down at Jerusalem evokes a sense of history and a glimpse through the eyes of many conquerors over thousands of years.

Jerusalem's northern wall (photo credit: ITSIK MAROM)
Jerusalem's northern wall
(photo credit: ITSIK MAROM)
The Old City of Jerusalem has so much to offer anyone who enters through its walls, be it on ground level, underground or from above. For years it has been possible to walk the walls of the Old City on the south trail. The rampart walk stretches from Jaffa Gate, along the southern rim towards the Western Wall area and beyond.
Recently, another section of the walls was opened to visitors. This route goes the opposite way from Jaffa Gate and heads to the north. In this northern route of the rampart walk, you will see a different view of Jerusalem and the Old City from above. This is the view that was well known to the soldiers who guarded the city from intruders throughout history. Since many have desired their piece of Jerusalem, these walls would have been historically well traveled.
The trail itself is very easy to walk. It is about a meter wide and fitted with handrails for safety in the appropriate sections. Stretching from Jaffa Gate to Damascus Gate, it sometimes affords an almost 360-degree view. At some points, it is possible to look outside the walls to the new city and see such views as the French Hospital. But the most interesting views are those towards the ancient sites within the Old City walls. The three major world religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are spread before you. At one point you can glimpse Al-Aksa Mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Hurva Synagogue.
The northern rampart trail focuses on the Christian Quarter and the Muslim Quarter to include the Terra Sancta Monastery, the Latin Patriarchate and more. Not too long ago (from 1948 to 1967), the Jordanians had control of the Old City, and from these walls Jordanian snipers constantly shot at the Jewish residents who lived in the neighborhoods outside the walls.
In the section of the wall that surrounds the Muslim Quarter, you will have a unique view of the market spread out along the alleys below. As you reach Damascus Gate, you will be able to appreciate the beautifully decorated stone and the wonderful view of Mount Scopus.
The multitude of views from every corner and every few steps provides a special feeling. Looking down at Jerusalem evokes a sense of history and a glimpse through the eyes of many conquerors over thousands of years. The first wall around Jerusalem was built 4,000 years ago, and the present walls were built by Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman ruler in the 16th century.
The northern rampart trail will give you a unique view of the Old City of Jerusalem, where it is always intriguing to find something new.
For more details about the northern rampart walk, visit www.pami.co.il or itraveljerusalem.com.