Modern Jerusalem Today
Modern Jerusalem is, as some Israelis say, "Half of Israel." Here, in this city, traces of a centuries-old history have been preserved, and here any traveler will see a dynamically developing modern city.
The old city with its shrines, narrow streets, temples, and unique architecture contrasts with modern buildings, huge shopping centers, and colorful fairs - in the heart of the Israeli capital. On the streets of the city, among pedestrians, black hats of Orthodox Jews, Muslim outfits of women in hijabs and men in keffiyehs and, of course, many young people and many elegantly dressed people flicker among pedestrians, because Jerusalem is a city of festivals, museums, theaters and exhibitions. The Israeli Parliament - Knesset and the Supreme Court building are deservedly considered masterpieces of modern architecture.
Many people advise starting acquaintance with modern Jerusalem with the Citadel of David - this is a museum of the city of Jerusalem. By the way, its name is not associated with the founding king, but this should not confuse curious tourists - from here, absolutely mesmerizing views of the Old City and the Temple Mount open up. Equally well visible is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher's domes and the mosaic ornaments of the Dome of the Rock, which, according to legend, hides the cornerstone of the universe - the holy of holies of the destroyed Jerusalem temple.
A very vivid mixture of antiquity and modernity can be seen walking along a new street near the walls of the Old City - Mamile. "Mamila" in Arabic means "pool". Once in the time of Herod the Great, a kilometer from a bustling trading place, there was a deep pool below, which was one of the main sources of water supply for the city. At the end of May 2007, Mamila was reopened as a pedestrian street leading to the Jaffa Gate. On both sides of it, there are shops, cafes, and restaurants. Expansion for shopping lovers!
The main artery of the city is Jaffa Street. It was around her that the business and trade center of Jerusalem was formed. Continuing our way from the Old City walls along Jaffa Street, we will get to the most colorful market in the Middle East - Mahane Yehuda (Stan Yehuda). Approaching it, we pass Jerusalem's famous Davidka Square, named after the mortar, the only weapon used during the 1948 War of Independence. The howl of a flying mine and the roar of an explosion had a demoralizing effect on the enemy. The memory of this little hero (it is easy to understand why he received such a name) was immortalized on Herut (Freedom) Square, which today is called "Davidka", and the inscription above the mortar is a quote from the Book of Kings: "And I will always protect and defend this city. "
Recently, such colorful fairs as "Shuk Agrippas" and "Shuk Bezalel" have reopened in Jerusalem after a long quarantine period. The old shopping street Agrippas is transformed on Thursdays: people from all over Israel bring their goods here. The second name of the "Retroshulaim" fair is a sale of antiques, handicrafts, vintage clothing, and various accessories. To some extent, this market is trying to compete with the famous Tel Aviv Flea Market, Israel's big flea market. What is not sold on Agrippas Street on Thursdays! Here you can find sets of old vinyl records, a collection of amazing postcards, and antique porcelain sets, candlesticks, jewelry, and much more.
And on the adjacent to Agrippas street - Bezalel street, the "Shuk Bezalel" market is open on Fridays. There are already completely different products. This is not a "flea market", but a sale of goods by owners of small businesses - there are new fashionable items of clothing and dishes; cosmetics, toys, and many household goods.
It is believed that visiting Jerusalem and not visiting the Jerusalem district of Nachlaot means not getting to know the modern Israeli capital. Nachlaot is a picturesque pedestrian residential area with tiny confusing streets, which began to be built also by the late 19th Sephardic people, who came from North Africa. The famous misanthrope Montefiori, who encouraged the expansion and construction of the city outside the walls of the Old City, offered loans to mixed Sephardim and Ashkenazi couples to build their homes in the area, and families from many different countries settled in the alleys of Nachlaot. Today, this area is especially popular with students, artists, and other representatives of the Jerusalem bohemia. The alleys of Nachlaota stretch along Agrippas Street, and between it and Jaffa Street, the largest market in the Middle East, the Mahane Yehuda (Stan Yehuda) market, deserves a separate visit with its flowers, smells, and barks. (One Hundred Gates) is also not far from all these places, and by visiting it, you will plunge into the flavor of a religious Jewish place of the past centuries. Just remember to dress modestly - it is not customary to wear shorts, short skirts, or flashy costumes here. Large posters with strict warnings are posted on the walls of the houses.
Tourists visiting Jerusalem in the summer should know that during the summer months in the Israeli capital - on the streets and squares, interesting events are organized, for example, the Festival of Light, the International Film Festival, the Street Theater Festival, the Wine Festival, the International Puppet Theater Festival, the Khutzot Ha handicraft festival -Yozer "and many others.
On one of Jerusalem's hills - Givat Ram, there is the Israeli Parliament - the Knesset, and not far from the Knesset, the building of the Supreme Court, built with donations from the Rothschild Foundation. Tours are organized in the building, and next to it is the Rose Garden, which grows 450 varieties of these wonderful flowers. Across the road from the Knesset is the National Museum of Israel, surrounded by a beautiful park, terraced down the hillside. The Israel Museum is the largest cultural institution in the State of Israel and one of the leading museums of archeology and art in the world. Founded in 1965, the Museum has an encyclopedic collection ranging from prehistoric times to contemporary art. In just forty years of its existence, the museum has become the owner of a multifaceted collection - about 500,000 exhibits.
One of the most recent and significant acquisitions of the Museum is the Model of Jerusalem from the time of the Second Temple. It recreates the city's topography and architectural character as it was in 66 AD, when the Great Revolt against the Romans broke out, leading to the destruction of the city and the Temple. The model, originally built on the territory of the Goliland Hotel, is now part of the museum complex along with the Temple of the Book. The Temple of the Book is almost entirely underground, with only a snow-white dome on top, shaped like the lid of a jug. The Israel Museum, which has recently undergone reconstruction, was previously known for its richest archaeological hall and unique collections - from Jewish symbols to modern paintings and sculptures. Today, new halls have been opened and old ones have been restored. Foreign and Israeli architectural bureaus took part in the reconstruction of the museum. New pavilions were built, the existing ones were expanded and modernized. The interior design of the premises has also changed. Interesting fact: the cafe in the Central Pavilion is named after Alfred Mansfeld, the architect who designed the Israel Museum in 1968.
In general, in modern Jerusalem, there is a huge number of all kinds of museums - the Rockefeller Museum, the Museum of Islamic Art, the Armenian Museum, the Museum of the Bible Countries, the Tax Museum, etc. Many theaters, concert halls attract tourists, and the Jerusalem Zoo, where all the animals mentioned in the Bible are collected.
Approaching Jerusalem from any direction, you will immediately feel that this city is not like all others. According to the age-old tradition, each building in the city is decorated with a stone that is mined on the surrounding hills - limestone of warm golden tones, or as it is also called Jerusalem stone, from where the name of the city "Golden Jerusalem" originated.
To the west of Mount Herzl is the Yad Vashem Museum - a memorial complex dedicated to the six million Jews who died during the Holocaust. The name of the complex - “hand and name”, “memory and name” or “place and name” comes from the words of the prophet Isaiah: “And I will give them in My house and within My walls a memory and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give him an eternal name that will not be destroyed. " (Isa. 56: 5)
In one of the halls, a small fragment of the Warsaw ghetto was recreated with cobblestone pavement, with tram tracks, at the end of the corridor, the Hall of Names, a hall on the dome of which there are photographs of those killed in those years, and on the sides, there are folders with the stories of their lives and deaths. And only by seeing these endless shelves, containing millions of tragedies, do you begin to understand how great the grief of the Jewish people is, how many people the world lost when the Nazis exterminated Jews just because they are Jews.
There are many memorable places on the territory of the museum, but the Children's Memorial, built-in memory of the 1.5 million children killed in concentration camps and gas chambers, is especially striking. The memorial is set up in a specially carved cave. You go down there and find yourself in a round room, in which there is almost no light. And while you walk in a circle, there are a lot of candle lights hovering around in the air. And only a monotonous voice reads the names and countries of the dead children ...
There are many monuments on the territory of the complex: this is the monument to Janusz Korczak, and the Alley of the Righteous, where there are signs on each tree indicating in whose honor this tree was planted and how many Jews this man saved from death. Impressive, standing on a high pedestal, as if over an abyss, a freight car is the same as those in which Jews were taken to concentration camps.
Jerusalem is a dream come true for those who love walking. Various routes of walking excursions allow you to visit any corner of the city.
There are especially many unusual street names in Jerusalem. For example, Hospitality Street. For many years it housed the dining room for the poor, created by Rabbi Shlomo Eliach, where everyone was lovingly fed and watered. The fame of this institution was so great that the street was named in honor of its good deeds. (Street "Ahnasat ha-orhim"). And also in Jerusalem, there is a street of Water Carriers ("Mehalkey maim"). There is no play on words or figurative meaning: the name perpetuates those whose duty it was to deliver a portion of water to residents during the blockade of the city during the War of Independence. And finally, in Jerusalem, there is a street called the Paradise Steps ("Madregot Gan Eden"). And where could it be if not in Jerusalem?
Would you like to see the modern Jerusalem this year? give me a call and let's start exploring!