Just off the center of the world
A roof-top vista from the Old City of Jerusalem
Jerusalem is the center of the world although most of the Chinese would not agree to that statement…
The city is also the center of all three major religions, most important for Jews and Christians and the ranking third with the Muslims.
Ever tried to think of what it would be like to stand “just off the center of the world” and see ALL of Jerusalem in a glance? There is one such place – on the roof-top of the junction between David Street (the market) and Chabbad (Habbad) Street.
How to get there:
You can come down Chabbad Street from the Jewish Quarter and at the corner of Chabbad Street and St. Mark’s Street (just before you reach David Street) you will see on your right a metal staircase leading up to the roof.
If you come down David Street (from the Jaffa Gate) you make a right into Chabbad Street, at the end of the first set of steps the metal staircase will be on your left.
Climb up the stairs until you reach the rooftop and continue straight ahead (walking north) for 50 meters until you see a slightly elevated roof-top with 2+3 steps to get to the top and a tall fence to the north of that rooftop. That is your destination. Be careful on rainy days – it is very slippery.
You are now standing “just off the center of the world”.
And here is your panoramic view:
From here you can see the following sights:
- Inside the city:
- To the north – the 2 domes of the Church of the Holy Sepulture (light grey and dark grey), the bell-tower of the Church of the Redeemer, the Russian Church of Alexander (black dome), the Omar mosque, the Church of St Saviors (pointed black bell-tower) and the many minarets of the numerous mosques.
- To the west – David’s Citadel (look for the Israeli flags on the tall turret) and the Christian Quarter houses.
- To the south – the edge of the Armenian and Jewish Quarters (look for all the rooftop verandas for building Succas) and the Hurvah Synagogue dome.
- To the east – parts of the top of the eastern wall (from the time of King Herod) the Dome of the Rock (golden dome) and the El-Aksa Mosque (black dome).
- Outside the city walls:
- To the north – the Roofs of the Rockefeller Museum, Mt Scopus and the Hebrew University campus.
- To the west – sorry but the western side of the city higher and in the way.
- To the south-east – the Judean desert and the Silwan and Ras-el-Amud neighborhoods.
- To the east –Mt. of Olives, the Jewish cemetery, the domes of the Church of St Mary Magdalene (5 golden onions), Dominus Flevit Chapel, the Mormon University (many arches) and the Augusta Victoria hospital (black roof).
Points to ponder:
- Who are the people walking along the rooftop and where are they heading?
- How can you get down to the Arab Market without going back the same way? Come on – be a wanderer. There are 3 other exits that all lead down into the market (If you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a Yeshiva – a Jewish Orthodox school – it’s men only so please respect their privacy and dress conservatively).
- Why are there so many Israeli flags flying from the rooftops to the north of this vista (in the Muslim Quarter)?
- What are all the voices and noises you here around and beneath you?
- What can you see in the small windows nearby? Come on – be inquisitive.
A small tip – choose a good spot with all the panoramic sights and take a 360 degree photograph of all the sights. Make sure you have some 30% overlapping of the shots and do not change the lighting or the zoom. When you get home you will be able to put together a panoramic masterpiece – at least as good as what they will try to sell you at the market.
(Airial photographs published by permission of Amnon Ziv)