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The Old City of Jerusalem: Spotlight on the Armenian Quarter

Posted by Iris Hami on Feb 27, 2009 9:21:18 AM

 The following article is the fourth in a series about the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. 

The Armenian Quarter,  situated in the southwestern area of the Old City, is owned mostly by the Armenian Patriarch. The Patriarch has its own compound, which is closed off to the general public. It does, however, host a seminary, monastery, the Cathedral of Saint James, Saint Toros Church, and the Church of Archangels. There are limited hours to visit the Cathedral of St. James, between 15:00-15:30 for the vespers prayer service.

The Armenian Museum is typically available to visit Monday through Saturday from 10:00-17:00, but is currently undergoing renovation and is consequently closed for the time being. You will, however, find maps of the Armenian Genocide plastered all over the walls of the quarter.

Within the cartographic boundaries of the Armenian Quarter resides the David Citadel Tower. Inside this complex, located on the southern side of Jaffa Gate, is the History of Jerusalem Museum. Walk through history itself as you tour the Citadel's cellars, rooms, and lush outdoor terraces. Inside many rooms you'll find exhibits depicting an era through maps, text, and ancient artifacts. There is even a theater where you can view an short animated movie depicting the story of Jerusalem. For more information, visit the Tower of David website at

If you feel the need to fill your stomach, there are a few restaurants for you to choose from. Check out the Armenian Tavern (menu pictured above) located on the Armenian Patriarch Road for some classic Armenian fare. Try the kubbeh (meat stuffed balls of wheat) or the Armenian pizza for starters. Be aware that they only accept cash here, so come prepared.

There are a couple of hostels that are recommended in this quarter. The Jaffa Gate Hostel, located just inside Jaffa Gate (accessible through a walkway situated across from the David Citadel Tower entrance), is currently undergoing a revamping and is improving its look and comfort factors. Their staff is very friendly and helpful, and the private room rate comes out to around 150 shekels per night, some including a private bathroom and television. Another reasonable deal can be found at the Citadel Hostel, located on St. Marks Road (from Jaffa Gate, enter the shuk and take the first set of stairs to the right, then make a left). Phone numbers: Jaffa Gate Hostel 02-6276402 (from Israel), 011-972-2-6276402 (from USA); Citadel Hostel 02-6285253 (from Israel), 011-972-2-6285253 (from USA).

Images courtesy of bdnegin and the author.

Check out the other quarters of the Old City:

Topics: Christian Travel, Culture and Heritage, Israel Travel