On the ground, Jerusalem’s Old City is a maze of winding, narrow alleyways, crowded with churches, mosques and synagogues, all held together by the shuk–the exotic market streets tightly packed with stalls filled with trinkets, food, pottery and spices.
To make sense of it all, it pays to climb up to one of the many observation points scattered throughout the Old City to spend a few moments to take it all in.
The top three observation points in the Old City are:
The roof of the Aish HaTorah Building overlooking the Western Wall Plaza. It’s well worth the climb to get to this rooftop that boasts a model of the Second Temple as well as a couple of telescopes that you won’t really need, since all the sites of the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives are laid out before you. Open Sun-Th: 9a.m-6 p.m. Fee: 10 NIS. 02-628-5666
The Roof of the Austrian Hospice. Corner of Via Dolorosa and El Wad Road, Moslem Quarter. From this angle, the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher are very close. Superb view of the Mount of Olives Jewish cemetery as well as toward Damascus Gate and northern Jerusalem outside the city walls too. Open 7 days per week, dawn till late. Added bonus is the garden cafe downstairs.
Tower of the Church of the Redeemer, 24 Muristan Road, Christian Quarter. Tel: 02-627-6111. Open: Mon-Sat: 9 a.m-1 p.m: 1:30p.m-5 p.m: Fee: 10 NIS. This one entails a bit more huffing and puffing–there are 177 winding stairs up the bell tower, with a couple of rest platforms along the way. The reward is the simply spectacular 360 degree view over every section of the Old City and beyond.