Why is there an Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem?

The Old City in Jerusalem is one of the most historic and holiest sites in the world for all of the main religions. You probably heard about the Jewish Quarter, a Muslim Quarter, a Christian Quarter, but this might come to you as a surprise there is also an Armenian Quarter.

In the 4th century AD, Armenia became a Christian country. Around that time, many monks moved from Armenia to Jerusalem. Some consider the Armenian Quarter to merge with the Christian Quarter, but it is undeniably its own unique entity in the Old City. It’s the only quarter not dedicated to a major world religion!


The Armenians who came to Jerusalem brought the unique Turkish ceramic style with them that you can see all over the Old City. They’ve contributed more than just that – for example, they made the first printing press in 1833 in Jerusalem.


Of course, the Old City of Jerusalem has on occasion been a hostile place to live. The real estate there is some of the most desirable in the world. The Armenians have tried to maintain a neutral standpoint between Jews and Arabs—perhaps this is the key to their longevity.

So what is there to check out in the Armenian Quarter?

  • Shopping for unique ceramic goods in the shops.

  • St. Mark’s Chapel - a 12th-century church and one of the oldest in Jerusalem – said to be the site of the "Last Supper”

  • Armenian Compound – it's a monastery, residential area, and more. There is a museum where you can learn more about Armenians in Israel.

Directions

Public transportation: Take the Jerusalem Light Rail to 'City Hall' and it's a short walk from there.

Take bus #20 from the Central Bus Station to the Old City. It will drop you off at the Jaffa Gate, and you can enter through there!