Walking on the old city wall of Jerusalem is quiet a special experience and I would highly recommend it when you visit Jerusalem. It was one of the absolute highlights of our stay in Jerusalem.
It is not that you get the greatest view, there are certainly scenic viewpoints/towers that give you a better view of the city overall. We enjoyed the ramparts walk as it helped us to get a feel for the layout of the old city and it was interesting to compare life within and outside of the old city in all of the distinct quarters of Jerusalem. The ramparts walk gives you a bird’s eyes view of the landmarks and mundane everyday life in the Arab, Christian, Armenian and Jewish quarters of Jerusalem.
Northern vs. Southern Ramparts Walk
The old city wall is not completely complete anymore and therefore there are actually 2 ramparts walks – the North one and the South one.
The access to the ramparts around Temple Mount is closed off for the public, and there is a road at Jaffa Gate that breaks up the walk too. For either of the 2 walks the same can be said- the entrances can be hard to locate, look for these signs and ask the storekeepers for directions. At the entrance gates you have to pass through narrow turnstiles, which are NOT suitable for strollers. You need to babywear and I would only recommend the walk with an older toddler/pre-schooler. The walk has plenty of steep, uneven steps with few handrail. The ramparts walk sometimes is a narrow passageway and offers plenty of uneven cobbled stones, and some areas are fenced off with barbwire. There are loads of opportunities to sit down to rest and take photos, or simply enjoy the view.
Northern Part – Arab & Christian Quarter: North side walk is longer than the southern walk. It starts at Jaffa Gate and ends at Lions Gate (close to Dome of the Rock).
Southern Part -Armenian & Jewish Quarter: It begins at the Tower of David (by Jaffa gate) and ends between Zion and Dung Gates (Wailing Wall area). It is the shorter walk.
You will see Jerusalem with different eyes
Before visiting Jerusalem I thought of Jerusalem as a place that is ‘one big open-air museum’ and life happens outside of the old city walls, but the walk opened my eyes, just how normal life is in the Old city.
We saw the famous landmarks of Jerusalem as well as housewife’s hanging up the laundry on rooftops. We saw bullet holes in walls, as Jordanian snippers used the old city wall during one of the many fights surrounding Jerusalem and we saw graffities asking for love & peace.
We saw children at play, shop keepers chatting to their customers and people on their way to prayers. We saw a school and I thought how strange it must be to go to school next to the Dome of the Rocks. Imagine sitting there during an exam and seeing this famous much fought about landmark one of the oldest Islamic monuments that stands today. But then again, if you live somewhere and you see it everyday it becomes less special.
It was a great way to go on a self-guided walk around Jerusalem and I highly recommend the ramparts walk to everyone who visits Jerusalem.
Good to know
- There is a small entrance fee. If I remember it correctly it was less than 20 shekel. Once you enter the ramparts walk you can exit at various locations, but it is only possible to enter at 2 locations, so be aware of that when you plan your walk!
- There is hardly any shade and it can get very hot. You must have a hat, enough water & snacks, and sunscreen.
Want to read more about Israel. Check out our blog about why Israel is a great family travel destination. Want to read more of our travel stories, visit our ‘where we have been’ page to see all of the travel adventures we blogged about.