“Soundscapes of the old city”: Listening to Jerusalem’s old city

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Jerusalem’s Old City is a complicated space. Thick stone walls built by the sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1538 enclose about a square kilometer of urban space, encompassing residential areas and market streets; some of the most important religious sites in the Holy Land for Jews, Christians, and Muslims; schools; museums, monasteries, hostels and pilgrim houses, bakeries, markets, sweet - shops, cafés; basic amenities and a heavy Israeli police and security infra structure. Today’s maps of the Old City usually follow the British Mandate’s division of the walled area into four quarters-Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Armenian, in descending order of size-yet these designations far oversimplify the complex social geographies of the walled space, whose 40, 000 or so inhabitants also include minority communities such as Domari gypsies, an African-Palestinian community, Copts, Karaite Jews, and transitory communities including Christian monks and nuns of many denominations and Jewish religious students, among many others. This residential population is further complicated by the fluid movement of people into and out of the walled space, in which local populations are sometimes dwarfed by throngs of tourists and pilgrims from many corners of the world. This chapter presents an aural postcard of the sounds of this city, and explores how they might help us to understand this complex web of space and identity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPieces of the Musical World
Subtitle of host publicationSounds and Cultures
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781317935032
ISBN (Print)9780415723107
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Taylor & Francis.


  • Christianity
  • Conflict
  • Experience
  • Identity
  • Islam
  • Judaism
  • Space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities

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