Once populated by “progressive” thinkers who dared to reside outside the walled city, today’s residents of Mea Shearim are very conservative and ask that visitors, particularly women, come “modestly” dressed. That means legs, shoulders and elbows should be covered.
Families on the average have six to eight children. Note, the girls are always wearing skirts and dresses, even for outdoor play. The boys over age 3 wear a skullcap called a Yarmulka or Kipa and have long side curls called payot. Explore the Mea Shearim neighborhood - it's fun. But a word to the wise - be discreet in taking photos.
The father is walking with his son down Shomerei HaEmunim Street, close to the Olive Tree Hotel. In English the name of the street translates as, "Keepers of the Faith". During the Jewish Sabbath this street is filled with pedestrians, for the whole neighborhood of Mea Shearim is closed to vehicular traffic.
The crowd in the street has come to congratulate the parents of a young woman soon to be wed. Marriages in the neighborhood are arranged by matchmakers according to the family's economic, educational and religious status. Explore the Mea Shearim neighborhood - it's fun. But a word to the wise - be discreet in taking photos.
One of seven open gates around the Old City. Called Shaar Perahim in Hebrew and Bab el-Sahra in Arabic.
Herbs, sweets and fresh meat are all sold within a few feet of each other. Note the fellahin women in long dresses with embroidered bibs hawking grape leaves, nanna (mint flavoring tea), parsley, and zaatar (native spice in the oregano family).
One woman is carrying a sack of potatoes while the others are selling fresh spices.
You'll see fresh meat hanging on hooks. Many Jerusalemites prefer to buy "fresh" meat they can inspect, as opposed to frozen and shrink-wrapped. Come and bargain - or watch others!
After entering the Damascus Gate take a right at the fork to see many types of fresh herbs and sweets being sold. These sweets tempt everyone on their way to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Opened in 1938 thanks to a million dollar donation by John D. Rockefeller, the museum was built to house antiquities unearthed by American excavators in digs around the country including Beit Shean, Megiddo and Samaria. The reception desk staff at the Olive Tree Hotel will be happy to check current museum opening hours for you.
From the northeast corner of the Old City wall (the Storks Tower) there is a magnificent view of the Mount of Olives and Augusta Victoria.
From the northeast corner of the Old City wall (the Storks Tower) there is a magnificent view of the Mount of Olives and the Church of Ascension.
Originally built for Russian pilgrims in 1864, the Underground Prisoner Museum commemorates the activity of underground groups in pre-state Israel. Located in the Russian Compound.
A Franciscan chapel commemorates “Simon of Cyrene Picks up the Cross for Jesus.”
A Franciscan chapel commemorates “Jesus Falls for the Second Time.”
In the early 1880's this plot of land, opposite the Old City, served as a campsite for a very large contingent of French pilgrims. In 1887 the church was built by the Catholic Assumptionist Fathers. Used as a landmark, the twin stone towers have a beautiful sculpture of the Madonna and Child between them. Mass is celebrated daily. Check with the reception desk at the Olive Tree Hotel for an update on the time of the daily mass, or to help make a reservation for a group mass.