Al-Quds, an Arabic name which means the Abode of Holiness, is a holy city to the three Abrahamic faiths.
The Old City, or Al-Quds, has, by the lapse of time, grown in space and therefore, the modern Al-Quds or Jerusalem does include the Old City which of course includes the holy places; Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock Mosque, the Church of Nativity and many other holy sites.
Here follows a short description of the city gates, quarters, and historical sites.
New Gate (Al-Bab al-Jedid): constructed in 1887 at the West of northern side
Damascus Gate (Bab al-Amoud): constructed in 1537 at the middle of northern side
Herod’s Gate (Bab Al-Sahira): constructed in 1875 at the east of northern side
Lions’ Gate (Bab Al-Asbatt): constructed in 1538-39 at the north of eastern side
Gate of Mercy (Bab al-Rahma, Golden Gate): constructed in the sixth century at the northern third of eastern side
Dung Gate (Bab al-Maghariba): constructed in 1538-40 at the east of southern side
Zion Gate, (Bab al-Nabi Da’oud), constructed in 1540 at the middle of southern side
Jaffa Gate (Bab al-Khalil), constructed in 1530-40 at the middle of the western side
The Muslim Quarter is the largest and most populous of the four quarters and is situated in the northeastern corner of the Old City, extending from the Lions’ Gate in the east, along the northern wall of Al-Aqsa mosque in the south, to the Bouraq Wall – Damascus Gate route in the west. The Muslim quarter borders Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site.
The Christian Quarter is situated in the northwestern corner of the Old City, extending from the New Gate in the north, along the Bouraq wall of the Old City as far as the Jaffa Gate, along the Jaffa Gate – Bouraq Wall route in the south. The quarter contains the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, viewed by many as Christianity’s holiest place.
The Armenian Quarter is the smallest of the four quarters of the Old City. Although the Armenians are Christian, the Armenian Quarter is distinct from the Christian Quarter. Despite the small size and population of this quarter, the Armenians and their Patriarchate remain staunchly independent and form a vigorous presence in the Old City.
The Jewish Quarter lies in the southeastern sector of the walled city, and stretches from the Zion Gate in the south, bordering the Armenian Quarter on the west, along the Cardo to Chain Street in the north and extends east to the Bouraq Wall and the Al-Aqsa mosque.
There was previously a small Moroccan quarter in the Old City. Within a week of the Six-Day War’s end, the Moroccan quarter was largely destroyed in order to give visitors better access to the Western Wall by creating the Bouraq Wall plaza. The parts of the Moroccan Quarter that were not destroyed are now part of the Jewish Quarter. Simultaneously with the demolition, a new regulation was set into place by which the only access point for non-Muslims to Al-Aqsa mosque is through Bab al-Maghariba.
Al-Quds Historical Sites
It is a Muslim mosque with a silver-lead dome located in the southern part of Al-Aqsa Mosque. It was built by the Rashidun caliph Umar ibn Al-Khattab in 637 CE as part of Al-Aqsa mosque. While Al-Aqsa Mosque is actually the entire area of the sanctuary, in modern times the name has been mistakenly used to refer to just the silver domed building.
The Dome of the Rock
The beautiful shrine of the Dome of the Rock dominates the skyline of Al-Quds city. Built on a platform over the rock of Mt. Moriah more than 1300 years ago by the Muslim Umayyad Caliph Abdul Malek bin Marwan, the shrine was completed in 691 AD, 6 years after building commenced. It is a shrine in Al-Aqsa Mosque commemorating the Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) miraculous journey to the Seven Heavens known as Israa & Mi`raj.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
It is a church within the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Al-Quds. The church, deemed the most important pilgrimage site for Christians worldwide, is located a few steps away from the Muristan.
It is located in the Old City of Al-Quds as part of Al-Aqsa mosque wall. Islamic reverence for the site is derived from the belief that the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) tied his miraculous steed Buraq nearby during his night journey to Al-Quds and Seven Heavens.
It is a mosque located in the Haram al-Sharif in the Old City of Al-Quds. It is in the passage that once led to Barclay’s Gate, which is at the south end of the Buraq Wall and has been sealed for many centuries. This small structure, on the south-west corner of the Al-Aqsa compound, is believed to be the place where Prophet Muhammad tied the Buraq.
Al-Quds (Al-Khalil) Citadel
Al-Quds Citadel is an ancient citadel located near the Bab al-Khalil (Jaffa) Gate entrance to the Old City of Al-Quds. The citadel dates to the Mamluk and Ottoman periods. It is mistakenly known as Tower of David though it has no relation with Prophet David bin Solomon.