Studies of tourist–historic cities often rely upon evolutionary models, which chart the development of tourism in historical towns. Prominent among these models are: Ashworth and Tunbridge's model of the tourist–historic city; models outlining the development of the Central Tourist District; The Tourist Town's Functional Spaces Model; and the Accommodation Service Model. The article seeks to prove that using such models without, at the same time, examining the roots and evolution of tourism in these towns from an historical perspective, will provide only a partial and, occasionally, inaccurate picture of the birth, development and unique character the tourist–historic city. Moreover, given the fact that tourism is a widespread and dynamic phenomenon that touches upon many aspects of the human urban experience–social and political, environmental, economic and so on–probing into the roots and rise of tourism in historical towns may also shed light on various features which, idiosyncratic to historical towns, encouraged their eventual transformation into tourist–historic cities. The article will do all this by tracing the origins and flowering of tourism in Jerusalem–one of the world's most famous tourist–historic cities–during the time of the British mandate (1917–1948).