The Armenian quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem is the least accessible to visitors among all 4 quarters of the Holy City. On the territory of sacred objects pass for visitors several times a day. In the nighttime access to the monasteries is closed. Despite this, each of the Armenians will be happy to have the opportunity to receive guests. The streets are quiet and deserted, therefore it is very popular.
History of the Armenian Quarter
According to historical data, settlers from Armenia first appeared in the southern part of the Old City, where soldiers of the Roman legion used to stay. It is known that Armenia was the first to adopt Christianity in the IV century, after which a huge number of pilgrims migrated to Jerusalem. Many of them remained in the city forever and began to establish the Armenian quarter. In those years, Israel was inhabited by a community of 25,000 Armenians and rightly considered the oldest.
At the beginning of the 5th century, the Patriarchate abandoned Christianity, which caused a conflict with the Byzantine Empire. Byzantine emperors for many years pursued the Armenians, who were considered heretics, and forced them to leave the Holy Lands. The property of the Patriarchate was confiscated, and the community itself was expelled. However, in the 6th century, the city was captured by the Righteous Caliphate, and the Armenian diaspora recognized the authority of Caliph Umar, paying a poll tax for the return.
Believer people began to tirelessly build houses, churches, monasteries and strengthen the influence of the Armenian Church. By the 7th century, 70 churches operated in the territory of present-day Israel. After the expulsion of the last Crusaders, the Muslims became warmly inclined towards the Armenians, who presented no threat. Under the rule of the Mamluks, the Armenians were allowed to erect a wall. Behind it are Jewish holy places. An engraved inscription in Arabic is still preserved near the main gate, which says that the sultan forbade taxes.
During the Six Day War, the community was significantly reduced. Some died, and the rest left the country. Today, the Armenian quarter in Jerusalem has no more than 3 thousand Armenians. Here, all real estate, including residential buildings, is owned by the Patriarchate, which provides residence for members of the community. The clinic provides medical care free of charge, as well as keep old and low-income residents.