Explore the Old City of Jerusalem with a private guide, uncovering the layers of history that make this ancient settlement so important to the three major monotheistic religions of the world. The maze of narrow streets and alleyways can be confusing to navigate but your guide will lead you, taking you to major points of interest and offering insightful commentary along the way. A walking tour is a great way to orientate yourself for further independent exploration, and will provide historical and religious context to help you get the most from your time in the city.
Your guide will pick you up at your hotel on the morning of the tour, leading you into the heart of the Old City — a place of intense sanctity to Jews, Christians and Muslims but also a working city bustling with life. Holy sites tumble over each other in Jerusalem, and there are plenty of options for routes and destinations. Your guide will devise a plan based on how busy particular sites are at different times of the day or on different days of the week.
Among the many sights you will visit is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, said to mark the site of Calvary and the crucifixion. The large sprawling building also contains the Tomb of Christ, where Jesus is believed to have risen from the dead. From here you can trace the steps of Jesus along the Via Dolorosa, the route he is believed to have followed on the way to his death.
This leads into the Muslim Quarter and the Temple Mount, site of the First Temple and now home to the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque. As you walk around the Old City you’ll see the Temple Mount from various viewpoints, and your guide will explain its significance to Christians, Jews and Muslims and the tensions this has caused over the years.
After a look at the Cardo, an excavated Roman street, you will continue to the Western Wall (Kotel), the only remaining part of the Second Temple and one of Judaism’s holiest sites.
Once you’ve seen some of the most important religious and historical monuments in the city, you’ll head into the Old City’s lively bazaars. Those in the Jewish and Christian areas tend to have shops and stalls aimed at tourists, but the stalls of the Muslim Quarter are visited by locals and offer a far more authentic experience.
Between the sights and the souqs, your guide will recommend a place to eat a light lunch before taking you outside the Old City to the Mount of Olives, a place of significance for both Christians and Jews. The hillside has several Jewish cemeteries, with some graves dating back thousands of years, while at its foot sits the Garden of Gethsemane. Enclosed within the grounds of the Church of All Nations, it is accepted as the site of the garden where Jesus and his disciples prayed on the night of his arrest.