About the Project
The Old City walls are one of the most important cultural heritage assets of Jerusalem. They are without a doubt the most prominent monument in the city's urban landscape and their influence on the development of the modern city has been decisive.
In 2005 several of the stones from the Old City walls became detached and fell into the schoolyard of the College des Frares. Consequently the Conservation Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority undertook a survey, sponsored by the Government Tourism Company, for the purpose of gathering data about the physical condition of the walls. The results of the survey pointed to a variety of physical problems along the entire length of the city walls, and in 2006 the Prime Minister's Office decided on a project the purpose of which is the conservation and rehabilitation of Jerusalem's city walls. The project is being directed on behalf of the Jerusalem Development Company and the Conservation Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority is entrusted with its planning and implementation. Conservation measures were begun in January 2007 and finished in May 2012.
The wall we are familiar with today was erected in the Ottoman period by the sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and it is the latest in a series of fortifications that surrounded Jerusalem throughout its history. The city wall is c. 4,300 meters long, 2.5-3.9 meters wide at its base and c. 1.5 wide meters at its top, and between 5 and 15 meters high depending upon the topography. Parts of the wall were built on top of the remains of earlier fortifications. The city wall is built of indigenous stone and is characterized by 35 square towers that protrude from the outside of the wall, 344 arrow loops and crenellation along the top of it. Seven gates which face the four cardinal directions were fixed in the wall. There are 135 stone decorations and 16 inscriptions along the wall's perimeter.

The conservation of the current facade of the city walls and their historic value is the principle that has guided us in the planning phase of the project. As a basis for the overall planning the walls were measured using a three dimensional lazar and an urban-historic survey, a physical survey and a survey of natural resource were conducted. Afterwards, we divided the wall into fourteen sections and sub-sections. In each section a detailed historic survey was conducted, its current physical state was documented, physical problems and their causes were identified, and an architectural analysis and an evaluation of the cultural significance were done. Recommendations were made for the treatment of the wall in accordance with the information that was gathered and we prepared a conservation plan and an intervention report.

The major physical problems that were identified along the wall are: unstable foundations, the deterioration and disintegration of stones, the disintegration of bonding materials, cracked stones, vegetation that has taking root, the top of the wall is not sealed and there is a lack of drainage. Thus the aim of the conservation action is to remove any hazards in the sections of the wall which are in a physically unstable state. It will include: completing the missing stone work and replacing it where necessary; completing the bonding material and sealing the top of the wall in order to prevent water from penetrating into the core of the wall and washing away the bonding material; restoring the building elements so as to present the urban and architectural values of the monument; and treating the decorations and inscriptions in order to protect them and present them to the public in as befitting a manner as possible.
Division of the Wall into Sections and Sub-sections
  Name Sub-section Numbers Length in meters
I The Moat 1-29 657
II Damascus Gate 30-48 513
III The Franciscans 49-55 231
IV Zahal Square 56-59 118
V Jaffa Gate 60-73 323
VI The Citadel's Outer Wall 74-76 123
VII The Armenians 77-88 335
VIII Mount Zion 89-97 397
IX Ma'aleh HaShalom 98-106 302
X Dung Gate 107 107
XI The Archaeological Garden 108-109 186
XII The Southern Wall of the Temple Mount 110-115 213
XIII The Eastern Wall of the Temple Mount 116-121 437
XIIII Lions' Gate 122-134 461
The Project Team

Management: Ra'anan Kislev, Eran Hamo (arch.), Yoram Sa'ad, Moriah Slavin, Esther Ronen
Planning: Avi Mashiah (arch.), Amir Freundlich (arch.)
Historic survey: Adi Weiner-Sela (arch.)
Physical surveys: Liliya Sokhanov (eng.), Ofer Cohen (eng.), Yael Rosenthal (eng.)
Survey of Natural Resources: Asaf Miroz and Amir Balban, Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel
Wall Sections Planning: Avi Mashiah (arch.), Amir Freundlich (arch.), Yuval Abraham
Implementation: Avi Peretz and Fu'ad Abu Taa'a, with the assistance of laborers
Artistic Conservation: Jacques Neguer, Meir (Mark) Avrahami

       Editing and Preparation for Internet: Yael Fuhrmann-Naaman, Reuma Izhaki, Liat Weinblum
       Translation:  Don Glick

Hadashot Arkheologiyot Online Conservation of the Built Heritage in Israel Friends of the IAA The Jerusalem Archaeological Park Survey
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