Old City of Jerusalem Photo by Raffi Ben Hakon for Pami

Old City of Jerusalem more accessible to wheelchair users & visually impaired

The Old City of Jerusalem has now become more accessible for wheelchair users and visually impaired with the improved infrastructure and audio apps to help residents and visitors navigate the small streets and alleyways better.

The accessibility enables wheelchair-bound residents and visitors enjoy the historic and cultural wealth of the city. Among other things, four kilometres of streets in the Muslim, Armenian and Christian quarters were adapted, and about two kilometres of handrails were installed alongside staircases. The accessibility is carried out with the cooperation of the merchants and the residents of the area.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site is the most visited place in Israel with about 10 million visitors each year.

The accessibility is intended to ease the congestion in the main streets, enabling wheelchair users, the users of freight carts (including strollers), and other differently-abled people navigate with ease.

The facilities include: roads fixing; fixing and renovation of public services (including accessible); adding direction and explanatory signs to the main sites and spatial maps along the main tourist routes; upgrading the current cleaning and garbage collection system; replacement of stone cladding; highlighting historical or archaeological findings of public interest; installation of infrastructure cladding for water clocks and a garbage collection point in the tourist area according to the 'street language'; renewal of business complexes, facades and facilities along the route; and the completion of promenades from Zion Gate to the Dung Gate along the northern outer wall.

In order to complete the process, the East Jerusalem Development Company also produced a printed accessibility orientation map along with a dedicated application in eight languages that enables real-time navigation between the alleys and sites (GPS-based, similar to Google Maps).

Visitors to the Old City are invited to download accessible guided tours in the "Vocal Tours of the Old City" application for free (in the Jewish Quarter, Via Dolorosa, Temple Mount, Jaffa Gate and Zion Gate).

The Center for the Blind in Israel made the Old City of Jerusalem accessible to the blind with special audio tours through an app. 

The Old City accessibility project is being funded by the Jerusalem and Heritage Ministry and the Jerusalem Development Authority, together with the Ministry of Tourism, the Accessibility Department of the Jerusalem Municipality, the National Social Security Agency and the Israel Antiquities Authority, and carried out by the East Jerusalem Development Company.

For more information about Israel, visit: https://en.citiesbreak.com

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