Nine Quarters of Jerusalem
A New Biography of the Old City

Click here for a list of speaking events.

In Jerusalem, what you see and what is true are two different things.

Maps divide the walled Old City into four quarters, yet that division doesn’t reflect the reality of mixed and diverse neighbourhoods.

Beyond the crush and frenzy of its major religious sites, much of the Old City remains little known to visitors, its people overlooked and their stories untold.

Nine Quarters of Jerusalem Testimonial

"Original and illuminating ...
What a good book this is"


"Reveals Jerusalem better than
any other book about the city"


"Vivid ... as much about the present as the past"

The Observer

"Teller is an enchanting but angry storyteller"

Catholic Herald

"A love-letter to the people of the Old City"

Jerusalem Post

"Highly perceptive and readable ... a subtle portrait"

The Observer

"An engaging biography ... Teller is an informed, enthusiastic guide"

Financial Times

"A fresh perspective on this infinitely complex city"


"A must-read book, exploding the myths about age-old hatreds between religions"


"The best sort of genre-bending writing"

Literary Review

"A rich, nuanced, yet completely accessible account of this enigmatic city"

Jerusalem Story

"This illuminating and deeply researched book ... accessible and upbeat"


"A compelling and original read"

The New Arab

"Succeeds in transmitting the local experience"

Balfour Project

"Excels in combining research with powerful human stories"

Arab News

"A delight to read ... Teller shakes up common presuppositions about Jerusalem"

Jordan Times

"An original and engaging take on the city"

Tel Aviv Review of Books

"Teller deftly finds the middle ground ... highly informative, and a delight to read"


"A history as brilliantly labyrinthine as the city it describes"

The Critic

"An impressionistic portrait ... informative and occasionally absorbing"

Jerusalem Report

"Fascinating ... eye-opening even for repeat visitors to Jerusalem"

The Times of Israel

"Teller highlights the often-overlooked communities of Jerusalem"

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

"A deft and engaging portrait of a shape-shifting city"

Kirkus Reviews

Nine Quarters of Jerusalem lets the communities of the Old City speak for themselves. Ranging through ancient past and political present, it evokes the city’s depth and cultural diversity. Matthew Teller’s highly original ‘biography’ features the Old City’s Palestinian and Jewish communities, but also spotlights its Indian and African populations, its Greek and Armenian and Syriac cultures, its downtrodden Dom Gypsy families and its Sufi mystics.

The book discusses the sources of Jerusalem’s holiness and the ideas – often startlingly secular – that have shaped lives within its walls.

It is an evocation of place through story, led by the voices of Jerusalemites.

Published reviews include:

By Ian Black in the Guardian/Observer (UK)
By Adam LeBor in the Financial Times
By Yuval Ben-Ami in the Jerusalem Post
By Anthony Sattin in the Literary Review
In Kirkus Reviews
By Danny Seidemann in Fathom
By Daoud Kuttab in Arab News (Saudi Arabia)
By Renee Ghert-Zand in the Times of Israel (also in French and Spanish)
By Simon Yaffe in the Jewish Telegraph
By Chris Doyle in The New Arab
By Menachem Klein for the Balfour Project
By Robert Low in the Jewish Chronicle
By Kieron Monks in Middle East Eye
By Susan Blumberg-Kason in the Asian Review of Books
By Alex Stein in the Tel Aviv Review of Books
By Dr Michael Nazir-Ali in the Catholic Herald
By Sally Bland in the Jordan Times
By Tom Chesshyre in The Critic
By Elisabeth Johnson in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
By Tibor Krausz in the Jerusalem Report
In Publishers Weekly
By Bríd Conroy in Mayo News
By David Eimer in Geographical
By Clare Jenkins in OnYorkshire
By Ida Audeh for Jerusalem Story
By Tom Verde for Commonweal
By Sophia Akram in Middle East Monitor
By Susan Kurosawa in the Australian


Selected interviews and appearances for Nine Quarters of Jerusalem:
(for more, click here)

Royal Geographical Society
Oxford Literary Festival
BBC Radio 5 Live
Times Radio
BBC Radio Scotland
Mondoweiss podcast
US public radio (The World)
Christian Science Monitor (US)
ABC Australia Radio National
Talk Radio Europe
Bethlehem Cultural Festival, with Educational Bookshop and Balfour Project
CAABU, with MBI Al Jaber Foundation
Jerusalem Unplugged podcast
New Books Network: Middle Eastern Studies
Asian Review of Books podcast
MiliM arts and culture (UK)
Five Leaves Bookshop, UK
Abraham Path Initiative


Lecture at the Royal Geographical Society, London (11 March 2024)