Jerusalem New City Attractions
The New City of Jerusalem's page describe sites which had been founded in the 19th and 20th century (Beside two exceptions: Herodion and Rachel Tomb).
In this page, I decided to add these two sites, which are actually not in Jerusalem (nearby) and were founded thousands of years ago.
But usually, when you plan a tour in Jerusalem, these sites are part of the sites you should consider to visit, and geographically they are outside the Old city of Jerusalem compound.
When you see, two sites which are mark in the same round, it means it's a walking distance between them.
1. Chagall Windows- The Chagall Windows site, is located inside Ein Kerem Hospital- in the main Synagogue. It had been donated by the artist Marc Chagall, as an honor to Hadasa organization, which it's a women organization that donate a lot of money to the Zionist movement and activities.
"This is my modest gift to the Jewish people who have always dreamt of biblical love, friendship and of peace among all peoples. This is my gift to that people which lived here thousands of years ago among the other Semitic people", he wrote.
The Bible was his primary inspiration, particularly Jacob's blessings on his twelve sons and Moses' blessings on the twelve tribes. Each window is dominated by a specific color and contains a quotation from the individual blessings.
The synagogue's Jerusalem stone floor and walls absorb this beauty and reflect it. Standing within the simple square that forms the pedestal for the windows, gazing up at the vivid imagery, the Jewish symbols, the floating figures of animals, fish and flowers, even the most casual viewer is overwhelmed by their power and presence.
Every pane is a microcosm of Chagall's world, real and imaginary; of his love for his people, his deep sense of identification with Jewish history, his early life in the Russian shtetl.
"All the time I was working, I felt my mother and father looking over my shoulder; and behind them were Jews, millions of other vanished Jews -- of yesterday and a thousand years ago," Chagall said.
Chagall and his assistant, Charles Marq, worked on the project for two years, during which time Marq developed a special process for applying color to the glass. This allowed Chagall to use as many as three colors on a single pane, rather than being confined to the traditional technique of separating each colored pane by a lead strip.
The synagogue was dedicated in the presence of the artist on February 6, 1962 as part of Hadassah's Golden Anniversary Celebration. Really impressive.
Link to Chagall Windows website is: http://www.hadassah-med.com/about/art-at-hadassah/chagall-windows
2. Church of Saint John the Baptist, Ein Kerem- The Church of Saint John the Baptist is a Catholic church in Ein Kerem, Jerusalem, that belongs to the Franciscan order. It was built at the site where Saint John the Baptist was believed to have been born. As per Luke 1,5: “…a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth”.
In 1941–42 the Franciscans excavated the area west of the church and monastery. Here they discovered graves, rock-cut chambers, wine presses and small chapels with mosaic tiling. The southern rock-cut chamber contained ceramic datable to a period stretching from approximately the first century BC till 70 AD, an interval that includes the presumed lifetime of Zechariah, Elizabeth and John. The community living here has been dated by the archaeological findings back to the Roman, Byzantine and Early Muslim periods (Wikipedia).
Most of the current church structure probably dates back to the 11th century, with the lower courses possibly dating to the Byzantine period (4th-7th century).
The church was recently renovated, but without changing its design. The church is very easy to approach, they have toilets, and it's accessible to wheelchair.
3. Mary's Spring- According to a Christian tradition which started in the 14th century, the Virgin Mary drank water from this village spring, and here is also the place where Mary and Elizabeth met. Therefore, since the 14th century the spring is known as the Fountain of the Virgin. The spring waters are considered holy by some Catholic and Orthodox Christian pilgrims who visit the site and fill their bottles (I don't recommend that, due the fact the the water are polluted 90% of the time).
What looks like a spring is actually the end of an ancient aqueduct. The former Arab inhabitants built a mosque and school on the site, of which a Maqam (shrine) and minaret still remain. An inscribed panel to the courtyard of the mosque dates it to 1828-1829 CE (1244 H.) The spring was repaired and renovated by the Jewish Baron- Edmond de Rothschild.
The spring is located 150 meters from the Church of Visitation (Point No' 4 in our Map), and it's on the way (walking distance) between The church of St. John, and the Church of visitation.
4. Church of Visitation, Ein Kerem- The Church of the Visitation is a Catholic church in Ein Kerem, Jerusalem, and honors the visit paid by the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, to Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. (Luke 1:39–56) This is the site where tradition tells us that Mary recited her song of praise, the Magnificent, one of the most ancient Marian hymns.
In order to clarified this story of visitation, in the Bible (Luke 1:39–56) it's written: "At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Ein Karem was a reasonable place to live in those times, mainly for priest which serve the temple (As Zechariah was). The remains which were found there are from the 2nd temple time and the Byzantine time - things that encourage the traditional believe that this is the place.
The Church is divided to 3 areas: The yard with the statues of Mary and Elizabeth, and a lot of ceramic plates with the song of Mary, in several languages. The lower Church which contains a narrow medieval barrel-vaulted crypt. Also preserved are remains of the ancient church and beautiful mosaic floors. The rock with a cleft next to the entrance of the medieval crypt is said to mark the site where the mountain opened up to hide Elizabeth and the infant John from Herod's soldiers – this is the "Rock of Concealment". This tradition is based on the 2nd-century apocryphal Protoevangelium of James, and beautiful paintings on the ceiling, which describe the whole story of the Visitation. The walls of the upper church are decorated with frescoes. Those on the southern wall are depicting five episodes from the Christian history. And behind the altar, a fresco is showing Mary approaching through Judaea. Impressive church!
5. Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum- The Holocaust is a unique event in the history. This was decided by the UN in 1945 after they discovered the remains of the Death camps, and the survivors. The meaning of the word Holocaust in Latin is- Burning a person a life.
What makes the difference between Holocaust and Genocide?
I was interviewed by the Jerusalem Post Magazine regarding this issue. You are more than welcome to read this article in the link: https://www.jpost.com/blogs/a-daughter-of-zion/there-has-been-only-one-shoah-holocaust-in-the-history-of-mankind-453004
Yad Vashem Museum was built in order to explain (by showing documentation, pictures, films, models and maps) what happened, how it happened, and not less important- the fact the it can happen again if we will ignore the past.
The museum is divided to several compounds: The Main building, The Righteous Among the Nations forest, The children Memorial, and many more parts which are less popular (You can allow to yourself to skip them, if you are short in time).
In addition to the understanding of the Holocaust, in order to understand Israel, and the people of Israel, a visit in Yad Vashem is a MUST place to visit in Israel.
Link to Yad Vashem museum is https://www.yadvashem.org/museum.html
6. The Israel Museum- The Israel Museum was established in 1965 as Israel's foremost cultural institution and one of the world’s leading encyclopedic museums. It is situated on a hill in the Givat Ram neighborhood of Jerusalem, adjacent to the Bible Lands Museum, the Knesset, the Israeli Supreme Court, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The Exhibitions include the world’s most comprehensive collections of the archaeology of the Holy Land, and Jewish Art and Life, as well as significant and extensive holdings in the Fine Arts, the latter encompassing eleven separate departments: Israeli Art; European Art; Modern Art; Contemporary Art; Prints and Drawings; Photography; Design and Architecture; Asian Art; African Art; Oceanic Art; and Arts of the Americas.
The most popular exhibitions are:
6.1. Jerusalem Model, from the 2nd temple time - The model, is based on descriptions from Jewish sources, particularly the Mishnah, and the writings of the contemporary historian Flavius Josephus. He also relied on archaeological finds from Jerusalem and from other Roman cities.
At the heart of this impressive city stands the Temple Mount. Kings who built the city, notably the Hasmoneans and their successors, and King Herod and his descendants, were greatly influenced by the Greco-Roman culture. This is clearly reflected in the style of the buildings, and in the layout of the streets; in the holy precinct at the top of the hill; the public water facilities, and other dedicatory monumental buildings as well as in the sports and entertainment facilities.
A closer look reveals the uniquely Jewish character of Jerusalem. First, there is only one sacred precinct - the Temple Mount - with a single temple, to one God. Second, the city has no sculptures, or reliefs depicting human figures and animals, in accordance with the second of the Ten Commandment: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
The magnificence of the city as it replicated in the model did not last for long. In 66 CE the Great Revolt against the Romans broke out, and in 70 CE, after five years of fighting, the city was destroyed and the Temple burnt down.
6.2. The Archaeology Wing - The Archaeology Wing tells the story of the ancient Land of Israel, home to peoples of different cultures and faiths, using unique examples from the Museum's collection of Holy Land archaeology, the foremost holding in the world. Organized chronologically, from prehistory through the Ottoman Empire, the transformed wing presents seven “chapters” of this archaeological narrative, weaving together momentous historical events, cultural achievements, and technological advances, while providing a glimpse into the everyday lives of the peoples of the region. This narrative is shown by Hebrew writing, glass, and coins. Treasures from neighboring cultures that have had a decisive impact on the Land of Israel – such as Egypt, the Near East, Greece and Italy, and the Islamic world – are on view in adjacent and connecting galleries.
6.3. Shrine of the Book- The Shrine of the Book present the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest biblical manuscripts in the world, as well as rare early medieval biblical manuscripts. The scrolls were discovered in 1947–56 in 11 caves in and around the Wadi Qumran.
As the fragility of the scrolls makes it impossible to display all on a continuous basis, a system of rotation is used. After a scroll has been exhibited for 3–6 months, it is removed from its showcase and placed temporarily in a special storeroom, where it "rests" from exposure. The museum also holds other rare ancient manuscripts and displays the Aleppo Codex, which is from the 10th-century and is believed to be the oldest Bible codex in Hebrew.
In addition to these wings, you can find in the Israel Museum other wings such as Art, Youth and Temporary exhibitions- everything depends on your interest and time.
Link to Israel Museum website is: https://www.imj.org.il/en/
7. The Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem- The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem is a museum of archaeological finds, adjacent to the Israel Museum and adjacent to the National Archaeological Museum of Israel.
Not like the archaeological wing in the Israel Museum which is focus in the story of Israel, this museum is focused in the regional stories which are mention in the bible starting from Abraham time (Chaldea- East Turkey today) Kingdom of Aram (Syria today), Kingdom of Ammon (Jordan today), and so on...
The museum present you thousand s of remains from these periods, follow by maps and documentation. Very interesting, A lot of knowledge, and very informative.
There are signs all over, therefor you don't need to be guided there (although, a tour guide can add more historical perspectives to the remains.
link to The Bible Lands Museum website is: https://www.blmj.org/en/
8. The Knesset- The Knesset is the parliament of Israel. The name "Knesset", comes from the 2nd Temple Time, when the Jews in Israel, establish a Parliament and they call it "Knesset"- which means in Hebrew "gathering".
The parliament today has the same number of members as it had in the 2nd Temple Time -120 members.
The government is establish as a coalition of several parties (which have to have a majority of more than 60 Members), to serve the country for no more than 4.3 years. It can "fall" earlier, by voting in the Knesset, if the coalition is canceled by its members.
The building itself is designed as an altar, in order to remind us that this is the rebirth of the Jewish nation in his country, and as a continuity of the 2nd Temple Time period.
The Knesset has a visitor Center, which offers tours and activities for visitors on a variety of subjects and invites visitors to experience democracy in action. Well recommended!
Link to the Knesset website is: https://main.knesset.gov.il/EN/Pages/default.aspx
9. Mishkenot Sha'ananim and Teddy's park- Mishkenot Sha'ananim is the first Jewish neighborhood, which was built outside of the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. In the year it was founded (1860), it was pretty dangerous to live outside the Wall. A lot of bandits, Thieves, and criminals, were active at night in this area.
However, A Jewish philanthropist, Sir Moshe Montefiore, from England, decided that the condition s which the Jews are living inside the Old city is so difficult, that it's worth to take the risk and to build this neighborhood.
In this page I'm going to focus in this beautiful neighborhood, and Teddy Park which located in the lower part of this neighborhood.
Mishkenot Sha'ananim was built as a fortress, surrounded with wall, and inside a very romantic neighborhood, beautiful houses, gardens and a lot of stories regarding the settlement. Our visit will start at the summit of the neighborhood (the neighborhood is located on the slop), near the old windmill, which was built in 1858, in order to produce flour for the Jews in Jerusalem.
Then, we will continue to walk along the small streets with the pastoral gardens, and the artist center which called also as the name of the neighborhood "Mishkenot Sha'ananim". Link to the art center website is: http://mishkenot.org.il/mishkanot-shaananin/
On the east side of the neighborhood (Near Mammilla Mall and Jaffa gate), we will find Teddy's Park. Teddy's park is on the name of Teddy Kollek, the mythological mayor of Jerusalem (1965–1993). It's a beautiful park with a small museum (free of charge) which tell the story of the rebuilder of Jerusalem in the Modern time. The main attraction in this park is largest fountain in Israel, with 256 nozzles, 1,800 light fixtures and a recording of original music performed by the New Jerusalem Philharmonic.
Every evening, starting after sunset, there is a magnificent performance of lights-water- Music in the park (Free of Charge). This is something you won't forget. The performances Start at every hour till 22:00 (For example, at Winter: 19:00, 20:00, 21:00).
10. The Hebrew Music Museum and Nahalat Shiv'a neighborhood- The Hebrew Music Museum was opened in April 2016. This Museum, which is located in the heart of Nahalat Shiv'a neighborhood, is the highlight of the Music square there. You have two options to visit the museum: Independent tour with tablet, or, Guided tour with a tour guide from the museum.
Immediately after entering the museum, you are starting a long and exciting journey, to the culture and music of Jews, from all over the world. During the visit, you'll enter to seven spaces that each one of them present you the Jewish Music, the music Instruments, and the Jewish culture from one of the five continents. In the spaces you will see 3D films, the unique instruments they used, and of course, music...
Link to the Hebrew Music Museum is: http://hebrewmusicmuseum.com/about/#museum
You can see a Jewish Music demonstration of one of the instruments in the museum, in the link: https://youtu.be/DT_ZqyXQUeg
Nahalat Shiv'a neighborhood, is located 8 minutes' walk from Jaffa gate. This is also one of the Jewish neighborhood which was built in the 19th century, outside the Old City. Today, it considers one of the main entertainment centers of Jerusalem. It's a beautiful neighborhood, full with pubs, restaurants, small museums, and coffee shops.
If you plan to see the night show in Teddy's Park, or the night show in the Tower of David, it's worth to go back through Nahalat Shiv'a, and have a cold beer or something else that you prefer, there.
Link to Nahalat Shiv'a neighborhood with focused to the Music Square is: https://kikar-hamusica.com/vision/?lang=en
11. Machane Yehuda Market- The Machane Yehuda market is one of Jerusalem’s world-famous icons. The Market presents the heart of Jerusalem, nowadays and in the foreseeable future. In a unique way, Machane Yehuda integrates the old and the new. A bustling marketplace and a neighborhood, it intertwines food, drinks, shopping, bars and restaurants. Despite being a touristic destination, the market has maintained its most important characteristic: it remains authentic – as can be sensed by all the flavors and aromas, seen in its colorfulness and heard in the traders' interaction with the crowds.
Even though Jerusalem today has many shopping and entertainment centers, some are located within several hotels in Jerusalem, there remains something unique about the Machane Yehuda Market that continues to attract people – even those without a shopping list. Perhaps the Machane Yehuda Market simply enables us to be who we are – lovers of life and the city of Jerusalem.
To experience the Market and the Food tasting experience, you have to spend at least 2 hours, for walking along the narrow streets, with the market's typical noise of the sellers, the smell and the flavor of the food, and the unique environment of the market. Link to Machane Yehuda Market website is: https://en.machne.co.il/
12. Hebrew University of Jerusalem Mount Scopus- The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is Israel's second-oldest university, established in 1918, 30 years before the establishment of the State of Israel.
The university has 5 affiliated teaching hospitals including the Hadassah Medical Center, 7 faculties, more than 100 research centers, and 315 academic departments. As of 2018, a third of all the doctoral candidates in Israel were studying at the Hebrew University.
The first Board of Governors included Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Martin Buber, and Chaim Weizmann. Four of Israel's prime ministers are alumni of the Hebrew University. As of 2018, 15 Nobel Prize winners, have been affiliated with the University.
But, it's not a regular academic institute. It has a theater with one of the best views in Israel, to the Judean Desert, botanical gardens with a 2000-year-old cemetery in the middle (One of the burial caves belongs to Nikanor, a Jew from Egypt, which is mention in the Talmud as the donator of the doors to the Holy of Holies in the 2nd Temple), classrooms, Museum of archeological with remains that connected to regarding events which are mentioned in the bible, and even a Kabala synagogue with a direct view to the Old City.
It's a beautiful campus with very interesting sites.
Link to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is: http://multimedia.huji.ac.il/tour360/scopus/index-e.html
Annex: As I wrote in the beginning, although two site (Herodion and Rachel Tomb) are located outside of Jerusalem, I decided to add them to this page.
13. Herodion- Herodion is a truncated-cone-shaped hill, 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) south of Jerusalem and 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) southeast of Bethlehem, in the Judean Desert, West Bank. Herod the Great built a palace, fortress, and a Hugh SPA area at Herodion, between 23 and 15 BCE, and buried there. Herodion is 758 meters (2,487 ft.) above sea level.
Herodion was first excavated in 1956 and since 1967 every 3-4 years they are continue to excavate.
In 40 BCE, after the Parthian conquest of Syria, Herod fled to Masada. On the way, at the location of Herodion, Herod clashed with Jews loyal to his enemy Antigonus, and emerged victorious. According to the Roman Jewish historian Josephus, he "built a town on that spot in commemoration of his victory, and enhanced it with wonderful palaces... and he called it Herodion after himself"
Archaeologists believe that the palace was designed by architects and built by slaves (we not sure that he used slaves) and paid workers (contractors). Herod was considered one of the greatest builders of his time and was not daunted by geography—his palace was built on the edge of the desert and was situated atop an artificial hill, which he built. We can find in the site the palace, the Spa area, the impressive water system, and the grave of king Herods which was discovered only in 2008.
Link to Herodion website is: https://www.parks.org.il/en/reserve-park/herodium-park/
14. Rachel's Tomb- Rachel's Tomb, a site sacred to Jews for many generations. Since the time of her burial- more than 3000 years ago, the Tomb of Rachel has always been a special place for prayer. To this very day, men and women go to Rachel's Tomb to shed tears and beg "Mother Rachel" to intercede with G-d on their behalf -- for the health of a loved one or for Divine Intervention for those in need.
Rachel, the childless woman who ultimately became the mother of the Jewish People, has become a special symbol of hope for childless women.
The earliest extra-biblical records describing this tomb as Rachel's burial place date to the first decades of the 4th century CE. The structure in its current form dates from the Ottoman period, and is situated in a Christian and Muslim cemetery dating from at least the Mamluk period. Sir Moses Montefiore renovated the site in 1841 and obtained the keys for the Jewish community.
According to the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, the tomb was to be part of the internationally administered zone of Jerusalem, but the area was occupied by The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which prohibited Jews from entering the area. Following the Israeli 1967 war, the Israeli's forces liberated the area and the site has come under the control of the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Rachel's tomb is the third holiest site in Judaism, and has become one of the cornerstones of Jewish-Israeli identity.
You can see a short pray in the tomb, while blowing the Shofar in the link: https://youtu.be/4uobpjm5CWA