Southern and Northern Ramparts Walk, Jerusalem – Visitors Guide


Jerusalem Ramparts Walk (Walls Promenade) offers a fresh perspective over the Old City. And besides the basics, we walk you through both. Let’s begin exploring!

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Map

Both Ramparts Walk start near the Tower Of David in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Interactive map of the area:

And here is my photo of the Old City Map sign that I saw during one of my visits:

Jerusalem Old City Map
Jerusalem Old City Map

Note: you can click on the map to enlarge it.

Walking Routes

Both routes start at the opposite sides of the Jaffa gate (square I4) and lead you on top of the walls around the old city. Southern Ramparts Walk ends around square L9, and Northern Ramparts Walk terminates in square D12.

NameDescriptionStartEndLength (km)Duration (hours)
Northern walkPasses above Christian and Muslim quarters. And it will lead you from Jaffa Gate to Lions Gate.To the north of Jaffa gate (square I4) – near the restroomsNear Lions Gate (square D12)1.70.5 – 2
Southern walkCrosses above the Armenian and Jewish quarters. And takes you from Jaffa Gate to a point between Zion Gate and Dung Gate.To the South of Jaffa gate (square I4)Between Zion Gate and Dung Gate (square L9)1.20.5 – 2

You can visit both parts with the same ticket since it is valid for two days.

The routes have many stairs and narrow places. Thus, they are not accessible to people with disabilities. Moreover, do not take strollers. Instead, carry young children in carriers.

Note: do not mix between Ramparts Walk and Rooftop walks. Rooftop walks are within the old city, and Ramparts Walk on the walls around the old city.

Entrance Fee

Adults – 20 NIS.
Child (5-18 years old), student and retiree – 10 NIS.

Where to buy tickets?

You can buy the tickets online on the official site or at the tourist office near Jaffa gate (after entering through Jaffa gate, continue straight for about 30 meters, and you will see the tourist office to your left).

Opening Hours

Sunday – Thursday and Saturday: 09:00-17:00 (16:00 during winter).
Friday and Holiday Eves: 09:00-14:00
On Fridays, the Northern Promenade is closed.

Note: opening hours and ticket prices were last in January 2021. In any case, recheck the official site before visiting.

Walls Promenade With Kids

From my personal experience, children love this attraction. It offers both the freedom to walk, even run in some parts and nice views. But, they should be supervised as there are many stairs and places where you can fall. As I mentioned in the beginning, if you are visiting with babies and toddlers, take carriers.

When To Visit

While walking on top of the walls, you will be touring under the open sun. There is no shade. Moreover, the stones themselves will reflect the sun. Thus it will be hotter on the wall than in the city below. Therefore, always bring plenty of water, hats, and sunscreen. For that reason, I would recommend visiting either in the morning or in the evening. It becomes especially crucial if you are traveling during the summer.

One extra thing that worth keeping in mind is rain. The stones will be very slippery after any rain. Thus, allow enough time for the surface to become completely dry.

Tours

Ramparts Walk offer is a self-guided tour. There is some information on site, but not too much. Moreover, you do not receive booklets at the entrance. Therefore, for a better experience, I would recommend preparing in advance. You have several options. Beyond the standard ones, I will mention two excellent resources. If you love audio guides, you can use free voice tours in the “Voice Tours in Jerusalem” app. And in case you prefer a document, here are two resources by itraveljerusalem.com: Southern and Northern.

Northern Ramparts Walk

The first time we visited the Walls Promenade, we went to the Northern Route by mistake. We intended to go to the southern route, but we entered the northern one. Initially, I thought both routes have the same entrance, but they do not (and if you take a closer look at the Jaffa gate, you will see that there is no wall where you can pass from one side of the gate to another).

Northern Ramparts Walk
Northern Ramparts Walk

As you enter the old city through the Jaffa gate, you will see a narrow staircase after about 20 meters to your left. As you climb the stairs to the second floor, you will see an entrance to the Northern Route, and on the other side, you will find public restrooms.

Walls Of The Old City

The walls are not that old. They were built by Sultan Suleiman I in the 16th century.

The Walls of Jerusalem surround the Old City of Jerusalem (approx. 1 km²). In 1535, when Jerusalem was part of the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Suleiman I ordered the ruined city walls to be rebuilt. The work took some four years, between 1537 and 1541.

The length of the walls is 4,018 meters (2.4966 mi), their average height is 12 meters (39.37 feet), and the average thickness is 2.5 meters (8.2 feet). The walls contain 34 watchtowers and seven main gates open for traffic, with two minor gates reopened by archaeologists.

In 1981, the Jerusalem walls were added, along with the Old City of Jerusalem, to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List.

Source: Wikipedia

Coexistence of different religions:

Ramparts Walk
Northern Ramparts Walk

Once you have entered, there are almost no guides, no staff, nobody beyond tourists. There will be different exits (one-way rotating doors), but some of them were closed from our experience. Thus, you either will have to go till the end of the route or back to the beginning point. Thus it can take more time than expected.

New Gate

The New Gate is the newest gate in the walls that surround the Old City of Jerusalem. It was built in 1889 to provide direct access between the Christian Quarter and the new neighborhoods then going up outside the walls. The arched gate is decorated with crenelated stonework. The New Gate was built at the highest point of the present wall, at 790 meters (2,590 ft) above sea level.

The reason I am mentioning the New Gate is the Notre Dame Of Jerusalem Center. Just outside the New Gate, you can find Notre Dame Of Jerusalem, which is not a coincidence.

The New Gate was built at the request of the French Consul to provide access to the Old City from the Notre Dame Hospice that was completed in 1886 and to provide Russian Christian pilgrims living at the Russian Compound (outside the Old City walls) direct access to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter. Contrary to popular belief, Kaiser Wilhelm II during his visit to Jerusalem entered not through the New Gate, but the “Hole in the Wall,” made so that he wouldn’t have to dismount his carriage to enter the city.

Source for both quotes: Wikipedia

Note: check out my full guide to the Church Of The Holy Sepulchre.

Notre Dame Of Jerusalem Center

Notre Dame Of Jerusalem Center
Notre Dame Of Jerusalem Center

Basic info from the official site:

In 1882 large groups of pilgrims began coming to the Holy Land under the direction of the French Assumptionists. The experience gained from there pilgrimages prompted the religious to build a center to host French pilgrims. The location of the new center would be right next to the walls of the Holy City of Jerusalem. The building would be known as Notre Dame de France.

Thanks to the help of generous benefactors, the Assumptionists were able to acquire a 4,000 square meter property right next to the French Hospital of St. Louis des Français. The cornerstone of the building was officially laid on June 10th, 1885.

In 1888, Notre Dame received its first pilgrims. The cornerstone of the Chapel was laid during the Eucharistic World Congress of 1893. The Chapel was consecrated the following year. In 1904, after twenty years of ongoing construction, the guest house was completed and crowned with the great statue of the Virgin Mary, a replica of Our Lady of Salvation in Paris.

Notre Dame Of Jerusalem Center
Notre Dame Of Jerusalem Center
Closeup of  Dome Of The Rock
Closeup of  Dome Of The Rock
Muslim quarter from Ramparts Walk
Muslim quarter from Ramparts Walk

It was an exciting experience, and the tickets are quite cheap. But since we had bad luck with the weather (it was too hot), we did not reach the end and ended our trip in the middle. If you continue along this route, you will pass through Damascus Gate, move above The Roman Plaza and Zedekiah’s Cave, see Rockefeller Archaeological Museum and Herod’s Gate. This path ends at Lion’s Gate.

And now let’s continue to the second trail of the Walls Promenade.

Southern Ramparts Walk

On another occasion, during Passover vacation, we have visited the southern route.

I have mentioned Passover vacation since it is one of those attractions in the old city that kids will enjoy. There are narrow passes, many stairs, fewer people than in the old town itself, and a unique view. They all contribute to the experience. But, I should warn you, you might feel your knees towards the end of this trip as there are quite many steps.

Since it was in the middle of the week, we parked at Givat HaTahmoshet and took the Jerusalem light rail to the City Hall station. From there, it is a five-minute walk to the old city.

Jaffa Gate
Jaffa Gate

Entrance To Southern Route

After entering the Jaffa gate, you will see a sign on your left pointing to the Ramparts Walk. This sign points to narrow stairs that go up. If you take these stairs, you will find a public toilet and entrance to the Walls Promenade’s northern part. That is where we entered by mistake the last time.

The entrance to the Southern Route is located outside of the Old City. If you already entered the Old City, then you need to exit it through the Jaffa gate. After passing through the gate, turn left, and after a while, you will see signs like in the following photo.

The entrance:

Entrance to Southern Ramparts Walk
Entrance to Southern Ramparts Walk

After entering you will start climbing the stairs to the top of the wall.

Southern Ramparts Walk

You can find several informative signs along the route. But, there are very few of them. So, better come prepared.

Tower Of David

At the beginning of the Southern Route, you will be passing near the Tower Of David. But, you will not see much except this view.

Tower Of David

The route:

The Ramparts Walk
The Ramparts Walk

One interesting fact is that the Tower Of David has nothing to do with King David. It was a mistake caused by a misinterpretation of Josephus Flavius’ writings. If you to find out more about this citadel, then check out Tower Of David.

Another tourist 😉
Ramparts Walk - Southern Route
One of the towers from inside
One of the towers from inside

While passing the Armenian Quarter, there is not much to see inside the city. Thus, most of the time, you will be looking outside. There you can find the Dormition Abbey and other attractions Around The Old City Of Jerusalem.

You will also get a view of the Mishkenot Sha’ananim neighborhood. This is the first Jewish neighborhood outside the old city walls.

Mishkenot Sha'ananim neighborhood
Mishkenot Sha’ananim neighborhood
Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion
Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion
Dormition Abbey
Dormition Abbey
Walls Promenade In Jerusalem
Almost at Zion Gate
Standing on top of Zion Gate and looking towards Mount of Olives
Standing on top of Zion Gate and looking towards Mount of Olives
Silwan neighborhood
Silwan neighborhood

The Church that you can see in the lower right corner is the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. “Gallicantu” in Latin means cock-crow. This is in commemoration of Peter’s triple rejection of Jesus “… before the cock crows twice.” (Mark 14:30).

Jerusalem is heaven for archaeologists ;), they can always find something interesting there:

טיילת החומות - The Ramparts Walk-20
Zion Gate
Zion Gate

And we are continuing our walk towards Mount of Olives.

Walls Promenade In Jerusalem

As you can see, throughout the whole route, you can find a safety railing. Maybe there were several exceptions, but overall I would rank it as quite safe.

Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu
Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu
Old city walls and Dormition on Mount Zion
Old city walls and Dormition on Mount Zion
Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque

And if you continue along this route, then you will reach the Western Wall.

Western Wall

Since we visited during Passover (one of the Shalosh Regalim), we decided to visit the Western Wall.

At the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel
Western Wall

Note: If you are interested in learning more about this and other nearby sites, check my posts about the Western Wall and Old City Of Jerusalem.

And the way back towards Jaffa Gate, we made through the market. While passing there, I shot one of the antique stores.

Market in Jerusalem, Israel

And I will finish this post with a photo of a sewer cover. While in Jerusalem, you will see many lions. It is the emblem of the city. And it represents the “Lion of Judah.”

Summary

Ramparts Walk a lovely route where you get to see things from an elevated perspective. But, since Jerusalem has so many things to offer, the rivalry between attractions is tough. I would recommend it as a second priority. Do it if you have been to Jerusalem before or spending at least several days in the city. And beware of the hot days.

Have you ever been to the Ramparts Walk? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!

Stay Tuned!

For additional points of interest nearby check out Jerusalem page.

   

Additional Resources

Here are several resources that I created to help travelers: And if you have any questions then check out Useful Information For Tourists To Israel.  
Did not find what you were looking for? Email me at hi@israel-in-photos.com, and I will do my best to answer your questions.

Lev Tsimbler

Lev from israel-in-photos.com. You can contact me at hi@israel-in-photos.com

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