New City of Jerusalem
The "New" city of Jerusalem was established approximately 160 years ago when conditions in the walled Old City became overcrowded and unsanitary. The only way to truly discover and experience this vibrant and exciting city is to walk the streets of Jerusalem - any time day or night!
Breaking out of the walls: Visit the first neighborhoods of Mishkenot Shaananim, Yemin Moshe, the Montefiore Windmill, Machane Israel, Nachalat Shiva, Nachlaot and Neviim Street. We will discover who built these neighborhoods, hear stories about the trials and tribulations of the residents and appreciate the architecture brought to Israel by numerous foreign cultures such as the British, Italians, Russians, and French. Other places of interest are the King David Hotel, the classic YMCA building, the renovated First Station and the German Colony neighborhood.
Shuk Machane Yehuda (open air market on Jaffa Road) is a fun place where you can eat your way through the tour. Over the years, the shuk, as it is called in Hebrew and Arabic, has become a trendy night spot, when the fruit and veggie stalls close, and the bars and restaurants stay open to the wee hours. Make sure to check out the large metal shutters of the stalls at night to view the art gallery of famous and local people mostly done by Solomon Souza. A foodie tour of the Shuk is fun and yummy!
Ammunition Hill was a site of an extremely strategic but bitter battle that took place in Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967. The museum was recently renovated to commemorate all the soldiers who fell in the battles to liberate Jerusalem. (See me pictured in the trenches in the slide show above)
There are many museums in Jerusalem that are worth visiting, such as the world-famous Israel Museum including the renowned Shrine of the Book home of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Second Temple period model of Jerusalem, the stunning archaeology wing, impressive Jewish art and life exhibit, Fine Arts display, Youth Wing and exciting temporary exhibits. There are meat and dairy restaurants on site that are worth checking out.
The Menachem Begin Heritage Center and The Herzl Museum house fascinating audio-visual presentations of these 2 very significant people and times of Israel.
Yad Vashem - the World Holocaust Remembrance Center is an important place to understand how the horrors of the Holocaust happened in chronological order with interactive displays and movies of survivors telling their stories. Adjacent to Yad Vashem is Mount Herzl serving as both a military cemetery and resting place of many of Israel's dignitaries and includes the Herzl Museum where we learn about Theodore Herzl and his dream of a Jewish homeland 50 years before the State of Israel was born.
The Hebrew Music Museum in the heart of downtown Jerusalem is a gem of a museum where you can learn about and hear some amazing musical instruments from different regions of the world, plus make sure to do the virtual reality 'tour' of the Holy Temple.
We can tour the Knesset and the Supreme Court complex, the heart of Israel's thriving democracy, as well as other museums sprinkled around the city.
The gorgeous YMCA building was designed by Arthur Loomis Harmon who also designed the New York Empire State building! Much symbolism is incorporated into the design of the building to reflect Judaism, Christianity and Islam. A ride up the bell tower gives you a fabulous 360 degree view of Jerusalem. Check out the carillon bells as well - they are cool!
The German colony is named for the German Templers who built a beautiful neighborhood in the late 19th century. During the British Mandate Period, the Templers began to show Nazi tendencies so the British authorities ousted them out of the country in the 1940s. Now it's a trendy area with renovated homes, delicious restaurants, artsy shops and a fun place to stroll and browse.
The desert is such a fun place to visit! Close to Jerusalem you can take a thrilling ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) ride through the Judean desert on an exciting off-road adventure for an up close and personal look at the natural grandeur of the desert. Take a camel ride and watch a re-enactment of Abraham and his servant Eliezer's story brought to life followed by a sumptuous meal in Abraham's hospitable tent at Genesis Land (Eretz Beresheet). It'll be an experience you'll never forget and I know you will hear cries of "Can we do it again, please!!"