Jerusalem is undoubtedly one of the world’s most beautiful cities. As you explore both the old and new side of the city, you will come across awesome impressive buildings, greenery, and delightful views. But as with every city, it is hard to get a good vantage point on street level and this is why rooftops and decks are there for. In Jerusalem, there are several rooftops that offer stunning views. Many of these rooftops are also located in several establishments, such as cafes and restaurants.
If you are in the mood for seeing things from above; then the Jerusalem Old City Roof Top Walk is also a must. Children will love running over the Old City roof and the rest of us will be mesmerized by the unique views of the sites and buildings in the Old City of Jerusalem. Don’t forget your camera. In our opinion this is one of the essential places to visit in Jerusalem. Check out the Rooftop Album.
It is also fascinating to stand over the central point of the Old City where the main North South & East West roads cross over effectively dividing the the Old City of Jerusalem into the four quarters – Jewish, Christian, Muslim & Armenian. Look through the small window for a unique overhead view of the souk.
From here the areas are clearly identifiable — spires, minarets, the rebuilt Jewish Quarter and the fairly private Armenian Quarter – which is hard to see because it is higher than the viewpoint. There are many vents from the streets below – and the experience is enhanced by the aroma of the spices wafting through the air. See if you can figure out where the meat market is located.
Probably the most famous rooftop in the Old City is the Austrian Hospice. It opened during the mid-19th century on the Via Dolorosa in the heart of the Old City. Its architectural style is akin to the that of Vienna’s Ringstrasse palaces. The building itself, as well as the gardens, provide a quiet, peaceful, and relaxing respite from the noisy urban hubbub. However, the obvious gem there is the roof. As you enter the Austrian Hospice, go through an old elevator which will take you up to a few number of floors. Then, you have to climb some stairs and you will emerge onto the rooftop, where you can finally enjoy breathtaking views of the Old City. After your eyes have feasted on the incredible vistas, it’s ideal to go downstairs to have a strudel and a cup of coffee.
If you have enjoyed the views from the rooftop at Austrian Hospice, then you can also enjoy the views from the Old City Rooftop. It’s easy to go up on to the roofs and enjoy vast amounts of the Old City, enjoy stunning views, and take photos.
The rooftops are obviously exposed to the elements and get hot in the middle of the day; but this is definitely one of the places to catch the last rays of the afternoon and enjoy the nocturnal view towards the Temple Mount.
Most visitors here take a seat on the rooftop and primarily look east towards the Temple Mount & the Mount of Olives beyond. Our advice is to move around — behind the natural seating area gives you a great view of the Christian Quarter and it is worth following the walk north a few tens of meters for another view of Jerusalem.
The easiest entrance point is from the narrow metal steps on the right as you walk down Rehov Chabad just as it meets St Mark’s Street. You may have to ask for directions as it is not trivial to find, but it is worth the effort (in the Rooftop Album we have included a picture of the stairs to help you identify them.)