Jerusalem Synagogues Walking Tour, Jerusalem (Self Guided)

Jerusalem is a city that represents the three main religions of the world, that is Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The city contains some of the oldest and most beautiful historical monuments related to these religions. This self-guided tour will lead you mainly through the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and its synagogues:
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Jerusalem Synagogues Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Jerusalem Synagogues Walking Tour
Guide Location: Israel » Jerusalem (See other walking tours in Jerusalem)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.5 km
Author: vickyc
Four Sephardic Synagogues

1) Four Sephardic Synagogues

These famous houses of worship are situated throughout the Jewish Quarter. They form a complex which ties together four such houses of worship. The four sub-structures were built at different times to meet the religious needs of the Sephardic community. Each of the four congregations were practicing their faith differently enough to warrant separate locations for worship.

In 1589, the last of the Jewish synagogues in the area were closed by the ruling Ottoman sultan. As a result, there was no place for Jews to go to publically worship until the 17th Century. The Jews of the day, who were mostly exiles from Catholic Spain, were compelled to hold services in secret. At the beginning of the 17th century, the newly formed Yochanan ben Zakai Synagogue, was inaugurated.

The rebuilding of the four synagogues in 1835 was the result of the ruling by Muhammad Ali. There is a plaque located at the Istanbul prayer house that commemorates the event

After the destruction of the Jewish Quarter in 1948, almost all the prayer houses were demolished. To add further insult to injury the remaining synagogues were turned into stables. After the Six Day War was concluded, the houses of worship were meticulously restored by architect Dan Tanai.
Beit El Synagogue

2) Beit El Synagogue

The famous worship site’s name means “House of God.” It is also known as Midrash Hasidim, or the “School of the Devout.” It is also the “Yeshivat haMekubalim” a very important place to the practitioners of Kabbalah. In fact, it is the foremost center for such religious in Jerusalem for over 250 years.

The Yeshiva, which is a Kabbalistic name for the place, was founded in 1737. The founder was Rabbi Gedaliah Hayon. This famous cleric hailed from Constantinople. He specifically ventured to Jerusalem to study Kaballah . In the 1740s, Shalom Mizrachi Sharabi came to Jerusalem from a small village in the area of what is now Yemen. He became a student at Beit El, and was considered to be a gifted student. He was eventually appointed as head of the school. It flourished on and off for years.

In July of 1927, a rather catastrophic earthquake greatly damaged the structure. In fact, it was so badly destroyed that the British Municipality of the day ordered the building completely leveled. This was not to be the end of the building though. In March of the next year, plans were made to re-build.

During the Israeli War, the building was cleaned out and the facility was leveled. In 1974, the Beit El Yeshiva was re-established. Later the next year, the newly remodeled house of prayer was officially consecrated. A new name was given to the structure also. It was re-named the Yeshivat HaMekubalim Beit El.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Ramban Synagogue

3) Ramban Synagogue

The Ramban Synagogue is the oldest active such house of worship in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was instituted in 1267. Rabbi Moshe ben Nahman was the first cleric, as well as the main organizer. In the present day, it is located on Ha-Yehudim Street. That location is just off the square in the JQ.

The foundation of this place rests upon the Romanesque and Byzantine capitals. There is no real Gothic or Islamic architectural to be found in the design, so this leads one to believe that the building is very old. In all probability, it was built during the time of the Crusaders. The whole thing had to be built 10 feet into the ground, to comply with a local Islamic rule that forces all such houses of prayer to be lower than the resident mosques.

Over the years, the location has been the physical and spiritual home to the Sephardi community. For a time, it was converted into a mosque after being confiscated. It also served as a mill. People used to also make cheese there for a bit. In recent times, the place is used as a prayer house for the Ashkenazi.

In 1967, the Jews regained control of this piece of ground, and rebuilt the synagogue. Intriguingly, the house of worship was re-opened 700 years after its first restoration.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Hurva Synagogue

4) Hurva Synagogue (must see)

The Hurva Synagogue, also known as Hurvat Rabbi Yehudah he-Hasid, is a historic synagogue located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. It was designed and constructed under the supervision of Assad Effendi, the sultan's official architect. Built in neo-Byzantine style, it was supported by four massive pilasters at each corner over which soared a large dome. The construction of only one of these towers was completed. The other three were missing the upper level and the small dome which capped it. The facade was covered in finely hewn stone and incorporated 12.5 m high window arches. The height of the synagogue to the bottom of its dome was around 16 m and to the top of the dome, it was 24 m. Twelve windows were placed around the base of the dome which was surrounded by a veranda, which offered a fine view of large parts of the Old City and the area around Jerusalem. Being one of the tallest structures in the Old City, it was visible for miles.

Why You Should Visit:
Beautifully restored and fully functional, this synagogue offers commanding views of the Old City from its observation deck.

Don't miss the entrance at the back, on HaYehudim Street, where you can enter the synagogue for an interesting tour.

Opening Hours:
Sun-Thu: 9am-6pm; Fri: 9am-1pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Menachem Zion Synagogue

5) Menachem Zion Synagogue

There are several synagogues in the Old City of Jerusalem. One of them is the Menachem Zion Synagogue built in 1837. It was dedicated to Jewish leader Rabbi Menachem Mendel.
Tzuf Dvash Synagogue

6) Tzuf Dvash Synagogue

The Tzuf Dvash Synagogue is a Sephardic house of worship and prayer which was founded in 1860. It was under Turkish rule at the time. It is located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. Its current address is 15 Plug at ha-Motel Street.

This structure is named after Rabbi David ben Shimon, who came to the country from Morocco in 1854. Shortly after, he founded one of the first communities located outside of the Old City.

During this same time period, a very large number of settlers came to Jerusalem. The newcomers did not always feel fully welcomed, so they formed their own Sephardic community in 1860. It would come to be known as the “Westerner’s Synagogue.” Later, the Talmud Torah would be instituted here. The group also built their own version of a nursing home for the Aged.

This location was made up of two synagogues, one of which was much larger. The history of the two buildings indicates that people would start worship here each day at midnight. The upper area housed the Talmud Torah, which was made up of three chambers. The lower area of the structure housed the meeting place of the community council, as well as two small spaces in which lived the widows who cleaned the place.

With the onslaught of the 1948 War for Independence, the house of worship found itself sitting in the space between the two warring factions. There was some damage to the place, but it survived overall. After the War, the building was refurbished. By the spring of 1980 it reconsecrated as a synagogue.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Jerusalem, Israel

Create Your Own Walk in Jerusalem

Create Your Own Walk in Jerusalem

Creating your own self-guided walk in Jerusalem is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Jerusalem Old City Gates Walking Tour

Jerusalem Old City Gates Walking Tour

The Old City of Jerusalem is very old indeed. It probably existed more than 4500 years ago. It is surrounded by gates, which, too, are old constructions built by Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century. There are archaeological gardens along the wall and near the gates. Prophesies about some of these gates are written in the Bible and the Koran. This self-guided tour will lead you from gate...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 km
Landmarks of Jerusalem Walking Tour

Landmarks of Jerusalem Walking Tour

Jerusalem, capital of Israel, is a stage of history for the entire universe, so to speak. Its religious and historical landmarks attract more tourists than any other city in the world. This self-guided tour will lead you through its most visited landmarks:

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 km
Jerusalem Museums Walking Tour

Jerusalem Museums Walking Tour

Jerusalem is the historic land of the Bible. It is sacred to the three great monotheist religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Here you will find archaeological and historical museums full of artifacts dating back to high antiquity. This self-guided tour will take you through some of the most visited museums of Jerusalem:

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 km
Latrun at the Outskirt of Jerusalem Self-Guided Tour

Latrun at the Outskirt of Jerusalem Self-Guided Tour

Latrun is a hilltop on the road to Jerusalem. It has must see attractions such as "mini Israel", monasteries and the historical Emmaus. This self-guided tour will lead you to these historical, archaeological and cultural monuments:

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 2

Souvenir Shopping Part 2

It would be a pity to leave Jerusalem without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Jerusalem, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Religious Buildings of Jerusalem Walking Tour

Religious Buildings of Jerusalem Walking Tour

Jerusalem is considered to be one of the most holy places on this planet. Temples, cathedrals and churches are packed closely together in this ancient town. This self-guided tour will take you through some of the most historical religious buildings in Jerusalem.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

16 Uniquely Israel Things to Buy in Jerusalem

16 Uniquely Israel Things to Buy in Jerusalem

Modern day Jerusalem is a mosaic of neighborhoods, reflecting different historical periods, cultures, and religions. The influx of repatriates in recent years has made the cultural and artisanal scene of the city even more colourful and diverse. To find your way through Jerusalem's intricate...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Jerusalem for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Jerusalem has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Jerusalem's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Jerusalem City Pass by Ticketbar, Jerusalem City Pass by Musement, or Jerusalem City Pass by Viator.

A city pass combines all Jerusalem's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows user to skip lines at major attractions, thus saving precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Jerusalem hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: Leonardo Plaza Hotel Jerusalem, The David Citadel Hotel, Prima Kings Hotel.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Jerusalem, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Jerusalem typically costs somewhere between US$10+ and US$90 per person:

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour of Jerusalem – this usually lasts around 2 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise could have done by walking.

- Provoke your contemplating eternal matters on a mixed (coach and walking) tour of Jerusalem, the city where the ancient and religious are intertwined more than anywhere else in the world. With the help of an expert guide try and perceive the profound meaning and context behind the holy Christian and Jewish sites of Old and New Jerusalem.

- Visit the places that once saw Jesus Christ in flesh, feel the tales of the Bible become real on a walking tour of Jerusalem led by a knowledgeable local guide. Walk the stones of Via Dolorosa in the footsteps of the Messiah to his crucifixion and learn more about that pivotal day in human history.

- Explore the city of three religions through the eyes of Jewish, Christian and Muslim worshipers on a 4-hour guided walk of Old Jerusalem to the holy places and landmarks revered in Islam, Judaism and Christianity, and learn about the religious beliefs associated with them.

- Tantalize your taste buds with the scents and sights of exotic delicacies fit to arouse anyone's appetite on a 3-hour guided tour of Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem’s biggest outdoor market! Explore the city's favorite marketplace in its variety.

- Descend into the unknown, at least until recently, deep beneath the ground to explore the ancient roots of Jerusalem on a 1.5-hour guided tour through the centuries-old tunnel dating back to the times of the Second Temple. Get a chance to touch and hear about some truly incredible artifacts found here, and more.

Day Trips

If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Jerusalem, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Bethlehem and Jericho, Masada and the Dead Sea, Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, or the West Bank. For as little as as circa US$100 to US$125 per person you will get a chance to experience first-hand the ancient and Biblical treasures, discover fascinating religious history, see the fabled Biblical and Nativity sites, scenes of the New Testament stories including places where Jesus performed miracles, plus explore legendary ruins, and so much more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in Jerusalem, and transported either by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, minibus or a private vehicle to the destination of your choice and back again.