Old City (Jerusalem)

The Old City (Hebrew: הָעִיר הָעַתִּיקָה, romanized: ha-ir ha-atiqah; Arabic: البلدة القديمة, romanized: al-Balda al-Qadimah) is a 0.9-square-kilometre (0.35 sq mi) walled area[2] in East Jerusalem, part of the territory considered to be occupied by Israel by the international community.

Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls[1]
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Clockwise from top:
CriteriaCultural: ii, iii, vi
Inscription1981 (5th Session)

The history of the Old City has been documented in significant detail, notably in old maps of Jerusalem over the last 1,500 years. This area constituted the entire city of Jerusalem until the late 19th century; neighbouring Arab villages such as Silwan and new Jewish neighborhoods such as Mishkenot Sha'ananim later became part of the municipal boundaries.

The Old City is home to several sites of key importance and holiness to the three major Abrahamic religions: the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Judaism, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christianity, and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Islam. It was added to the World Heritage Site list of UNESCO in 1981.

Traditionally, the Old City has been divided into four uneven quarters, although the current designations were introduced only in the 19th century.[3] Today, it is roughly divided (going counter-clockwise from the northeast) into the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, and the Jewish Quarter. The Old City's monumental defensive walls and city gates were built by the Ottoman Empire from 1535 to 1542 under Suleiman the Magnificent, the 10th Ottoman sultan.[4]

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