Within the city of Jerusalem, is Jerusalem's Old City, a walled enclave that maintains religious significance for three of the world's great religions. In time, each faith has developed a distinct idea of the sites that matter most in the city they all hold sacred. Peer through the Culture Goggles to see six such hallowed spots.Click on the image to launch the interactive.Instructional IdeasCulture Goggles is just one part of Xpedition Hall, an archived interactive from the National Geographic Xpeditions website. Note that we are no longer updating archived content like Xpedition Hall.Download the Xpedition Hall Teacher Guide for an overview of the interactive and activities and lessons for exploring it.
- In total, Jerusalem's Old City is 0.9 square kilometers (0.35 square miles).
- Because walls surround Jerusalem's Old City, people enter this section through gates. While there are eleven gates in total built around the city, only seven gates are open today: New Gate, Damascus Gate, Herod’s Gate, Lions’ Gate, Dung Gate, Zion Gate, and Jaffa Gate.
- Jerusalem's Old City is divided into four uneven quarters: Muslim, Christian, Armenian, and Jewish.
- The Armenian Quarter is the smallest of the four quarters. While Christian, the Armenians are a distinct population with their own unique history. The Armenians were the first people to make Christianity their national religion.
- The Western Wall, or Wailing Wall, is the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount—an enormous stone platform in Jerusalem's Old City. The Western Wall is one of Judaism’s most sacred monuments because the Temple Mount is all that survives of an ancient temple. Jews also believe this is the location where the biblical patriarch Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son.
- The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, located in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, is believed by many Christians to be the site where Jesus was crucified and resurrected.
- The Dome of the Rock, located near Al-Aqsa mosque atop Temple Mount, is a magnificent shrine built over a large rock. Muslim tradition associates this location with the Prophet Muhammad's miraculous Night Journey and ascension to heaven.
For Further Exploration
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Judaism
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Islam
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Christianity
- National Geographic Travel: Jerusalem Walking Tour—Parks and Vistas of the Old City
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry Abrahamic religions Plural Noun
faiths that trace their origins to the Jewish patriarch Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
people and culture focused on the teachings of Jesus and his followers.
religion based on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
cultural geography Noun
study of the impact of human culture on the landscape.
Dome of the Rock Noun
Islamic shrine in Jerusalem, Israel.
Gihon Spring Noun
source of water flowing beneath the oldest neighborhood (City of David) in Jerusalem, Israel.
religion based on the words and philosophy of the prophet Mohammed.
person who practices the Jewish religion.
religion based on the holy book of the Torah and the teaching surrounding it.
having to do with Islam, the religion based on the words and philosophy of the prophet Mohammed.
Old City Noun
walled, UNESCO World Heritage Site within the modern city of Jerusalem, Israel, consisting of four quarters: the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Jewish Quarter and the Armenian Quarter.
a system of spiritual or supernatural belief.
Temple Mount Noun
ancient site in the Old City of Jerusalem sacred to Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths.
Western Wall Noun
stone wall on the western side of the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel, held sacred by Jews as a site of prayer and pilgrimage. Also called the Kotel or Wailing Wall.