Christian Quarter

The Christian Quarter occupies the northwestern corner of the walled Old City of Jerusalem, and is one of the four quarters alongside the Jewish Quarter, the Muslim Quarter, and the Armenian Quarter. The Christian Quarter is the second largest of the four quarters, next to the Muslim Quarter.

The Christian Quarter is usually recognized as the grounds where Jesus was crucified and buried. Since it lies just beyond Jaffa Gate — which is the traditional entrance for the pilgrims — the Christian Quarter is usually the first place that most tourists visit. The Jaffa Gate is also the easiest way to get into the Christian Quarter. Or, tourists can proceed straight through the marketplace on David Street, and then turn on Christian Quarter Road or at the Muristan. Whichever way you choose, the entrance to the Christian Quarter is free.

As it is a Christian site, you can find several of the most significant landmarks and holy sites in all Christendom. The most notable is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (also known as the Church of Resurrection). It is one of Christianity’s holiest places, as it is revered as the site where Jesus Christ was crucified, buried and eventually risen, among other events associated with the church. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre also incorporates a variety of other Christian sites, among them the chapel where Adam’s skull was buried.

The Christian Quarter essentially revolves around churches of multiple Chrisitan denominations, among them Latin, Greek Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Eastern Catholic, and Protestant (particularly Lutheran). You can even find two mosques that flank the Church of the Holy Sepulchre — the Mosque of Omar and the Al-Khanqah al-Salahiyya Mosque. It is possible to visit all (or most) of the churches in the quarter in a day or two.

Among the residents in the quarter are numerous priests, monks, nuns, and other religious servants and officials, many of whom are attached to the prominent Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Greek Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Walking on a warren of broad streets connected by narrow and winding alleyways, exploring the Christian Quarter is unique experience. It offers tourists to immerse in a unique multicultural experience that reveal a mosaic of Christian diversity through clothing, aromas of incense, light, sounds, and color, which give an impression to the tourist an ever-changing cultural and ethnic landscape.

To further experience the diversity of Jerusalem’s Christian community, you can stand near the tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at 1:00 in the afternoon, when different Christian denominations perform an incense-waving ritual. Or, you can visit the Armenian Cathedral of St. James between 3:00 to 3:30 in the afternoon to observe prayers and procession.

Like many other tourist sites, the Christian Quarter also contains souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants, hotels, and other accommodations. The article has earlier made mention of the Muristan, which is a renowned marketplace built over the ruins of a longtime Hospitaller hospital for the pilgrims and residents in Jerusalem. It offers a vast and dizzying array of souvenirs, memorabilia and gift item stalls. Haggling is a common practice in bazaars at Christian Quarter, just like in many other bazaars in Jerusalem. It is even considered an art, so you have to really practice your bargaining skills to make sure that you negotiate for the desired price of your keepsake.

The Christian Quarter is open 24 hours daily and is also a great place for families with children to discover Jerusalem.

See also this gallery of a recent street event – Jerusalem Knights.

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