The Holy City attracted religious orders and individuals from all corners of the world who established churches, hospitals, schools, and philanthropies outside the confines of the Old City walls.
Start your walk at the (1) Russian Compound, built by the Russian Orthodox Church (7 Kheshin Street) in the mid-19th century and part of which still belongs to Russia. Flanking the domed church are (2) pilgrims quarters today serving as Israeli police and justice facilities. The excavation across the street has a partially formed (3) pillar still in the ground. Archeologists believe that the pillar was part of Herod’s temple.
With your back to the church, walk right, past the northern gate of the compound onto Monbaz Street, and then left onto Heleni Hamalka Street. A few steps down on your right is the entrance to the beautiful courtyard of (4) Beit Sergei (13 Heleni Hamalka Street). This turreted, medieval-style building was built in honor of Prince Sergei Romanoff’s pilgrimage. Notice the two outhouse towers constructed for the royal party’s convenience.
Return to Monbaz Street and continue left until you reach a roundabout. The rundown two-story building with a tasty Yemenite falafel shop and Bulgarian pastry store was once home to the American consulate.
Bear left into Hanevi’im (The Prophets) Street. On your left is the Rothschild Hospital building, the first medical facility built outside the city walls, now the grounds of Hadassah College. Continue and make a right turn into a flowering, shaded lane leading to the (5) Ethiopian Church (10 Ethiopia Road). The church was erected in memory of the queen of Sheba’s biblical visit to King Solomon. There are no set visiting hours, but the yard is usually open.
After resting in the courtyard, return to Hanevi’im Street, turn right and walk past (6) Tabor House (58 Hanevi’im Street) built by German missionary and self-taught Jerusalem architect Conrad Schick. Peek into the grounds of number 64, home to visiting English painter William Holman Hunt.
As you continue down Hanevi’im, the sidewalk widens. Soon after, you’ll reach the intersection of Hanevi’im and Strauss Streets. Across to the left is a hospital constructed in the early 19th century, now (7) Bikur Cholim Hospital (5 Strauss Street). Turn right, up the hill on Strauss Street until the next traffic light, then right again onto (8) Mea Shearim Street where you will enter the strict world of the ultra Orthodox Jewish community.
On your right are the houses of Mea Shearim, planned by Conrad Schick; on your left the houses known as the (9) Ungarim (Hungarian) Quarters, built in the 1880s and '90s. Individuals or small groups can visit the inner courtyards but no photography is allowed.
Continue along Mea Shearim for about a half-mile to where the street ends at Shivtei Yisrael Street. On your left is the (10) Romanian Orthodox Church (46 Shivtei Yisrael Street) built in 1936. On the right is the former Italian hospital building, now the (11) Israeli Education Ministry (34 Shivtei Yisrael Street). Proceed down Shivtei Yisrael Street until you return to the Russian Compound.
Travel Photos From Your Shot
See Captivating Photos of Our Days' End—Submitted by Members of the Your Shot Community
Shop National Geographic
Special Ad Section
Watch as Nat Geo photographers reveal what drives them to create iconic images.