While the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem is abundantly pleasant, it suffers somewhat in comparison to the city's other three quarters because, as a result of its complete destruction by vengeful Jordanian forces in 1948, it lacks the aura of antiquity so pervasive in the rest of the Old City. But there was an unanticipated silver lining in the Jordanian razing of the quarter; when Israelis returned to the Old City after the Six Day War in 1967, they were able to look beneath the rubble and uncover some of the most historically significant ruins and antiquities in the Middle East.
While sites like the Broad Wall and the Israelite Tower are of special significance to the Jewish people, the most obviously impressive ruins – and those with the broadest appeal – are those of the Cardo, the colonnaded Roman-style street that was the main avenue of Aeolia Capitolina, the Roman city built atop the rubble of Jerusalem in the wake of the failure of the Great Revolt in 70 CE.
The Cardo was the heart of the Roman city, the street that bisected the city, the street on which all the municipal commerce took place. The ancient Madaba Map, a 6th-century-era mosaic depicting the layout of Jerusalem, discovered in Jordan (a reproduction of which is housed in the Jerusalem Cardo), clearly indicates the centrality of the Cardo in even the Jerusalem of the Byzantine era. Israeli archaeologists uncovered dozens of Corinthian columns, many in good shape, that had once lined the broad street, and raised them up again according to their original layout, giving Jerusalemites a glimpse of Jerusalem in the late classical era. The Cardo remains impressive, and when columns lose their appeal, you can entertain yourself with shopping – the Cardo is lined, much as it was in ancient times, with shops, although the shops today specialize more in pricey gifts and luxury goods.
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The Jerusalem Tourism Map:Print
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