Jerusalem/West

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West Jerusalem (also known as "New Jerusalem") represents the modern commercial heart of the city, having become the focus for development in the capital from the time of Israeli independence in 1948 to the reunification of the city with the Six Day War in 1967. That said, many of the districts of West Jerusalem date back to the late 19th century when the Old City became no longer able to contain the city's increasing population.

Understand[edit]

The three most well-known streets in West Jerusalem are Ben Yehuda (a pedestrian mall), Jaffa (Hebrew: Yafo) on which the light rail runs, and King George (Hebrew: King George or HaMelech George) which runs perpendicular to Jaffa and carries many bus routes. The triangle formed by these streets is considered the center of downtown West Jerusalem. The three corners of this triangle are Zion Square, the Jaffa Center light rail stop, and the Horse Park (Hebrew: Gan HaSus, after a whimsical sculpture of a horse there). All around this triangle are the main shopping streets of Jerusalem. This area is a 5 minute walk west of the Old City, along the light rail tracks.

Get in[edit]

See Jerusalem. When coming from the airport or other places in Israel, West Jerusalem is the first part of the city you will encounter.

  •   Central Bus StationJaffa 224. Conveniently located, with the light rail taking you to the city center and Old City.
  •   Malcha train station. Inconveniently located. Buses 18 (very slow) and 77 (requires a walk from the train station) will take you to the city center.

Get around[edit]

See[edit]

Heichal Shlomo
the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
the entrance to Mount Herzl Natioanal Cemetery
  •   Safra Square. the City Hall sq. in Jaffa st. next to the walls of the old city.
  • Jerusalem City Modelat the Jerusalem City Hall (Safra Square 1, Jerusalem) +972 2 629-7731. 11:00-13:30. a model of the city of jerusalem including a planned structures. Free.
  •   Jerusalem Biblical Zoo +972 2 675-0111. Sun-Thu 09:00-19:00, Fri (and holiday eves) 09:00-16:30, Sat (and holidays) 10:00 - 18:00. At the Malha neighborhood, near the train station. This zoo attracts more visitors than any other paid attraction in Israel. Regular: 50 NIS, Special discounts (children, students, etc.): 40 NIS.
  •   Jerusalem Botanical Gardensat the university campus in Givat Ram +972 2 648-0049, +972 73 243-8914. Sun-Tue and Thu 9.30am-5.00pm, Fri 9.00am-3.00pm. Shows a variety of plants from around the world. Plants native to the region have interesting descriptions of their role in local history and religion. All exhibits are outdoors, which can make the garden unpleasantly hot in summer. Regular: 30NIS, special discounts: 20NIS.
  •   Mount Herzl (Mount of Remembrance), 1 Herzl Boulevard, Mount Herzl (Mount Herzl light rail station). This is Israel's national cemetery and memorial. It contains the graves of Theodor Herzl and four prime ministers including Yitzhak Rabin. The Herzl Museum is in the entrance plaza. There are memorials for terror victims and MIA soldiers. Near Herzl's grave is the Mount Herzl Plaza for the main ceremony of the opening of the Independence Day. Free.
  •   Mamilla Cemetery. Amid an old Muslim cemetery which contains graves of Muslim leaders, there is also a large ancient pool once used to hold water. The cemetery is now the center of some controversy, as the Center for Human Dignity (which will include the Museum of Tolerance) is expected to be constructed on the parking lot of the cemetery.
  •   Haas Promenade. A park which has an incredible view of the Old City. It is common for tours to take people hear blindfolded, and have them take off their blindfolds one by one to get their first view of the holy city.
  •   Tombs of the Sanhedrin. A freely accessible park with impressive rock-carved tombs from the 1st century,
  •   Zion Square (Kikar Tzion). While small by international city square standards, this square is a common location for political rallies, concerts, street culture, and other events. The light rail runs through here without stopping; the Jaffa Center and City Hall stations are a short walk away in either direction.
  •   Sultan's Pool. A large water reservoir just outside the Old City. It likely dates to the time of Herod, and has been remodeled since then. Now, it is empty of water, and used to hold concerts and other large events.
  •   Jerusalem YMCA26 King David. Built in 1933, this building is a West Jerusalem landmark located across the street from the King David Hotel. The view from the top of the tower is very impressive.
  •   Museum of Underground Prisoners. The central prison run by British authorities from 1917-1948. Towards the end of that period, many members of underground Jewish militias were incarcerated here, including several who were later executed. Now the site is a museum commemorating the underground movements and their members who went through this prison.
  •   Ramat Rachel. A prominent hill guarding what used to be the southern approach to Jerusalem. In the First Temple period there was a royal palace here. Its remains, as well as some later archaeological findings, can be seen freely outside. In 1948, the hill was conquered by Jordanian and Egyptian forces, but finally ended up in Israeli hands. There is an excellent view from here in all directions. Worth visiting for the well-explained archaeological site and for the view.
  •   Agnon House. Home of Nobel Prize-winning author S.Y. Agnon and the place were many of his most famous works were written, this is now a museum documenting his life.
  •   Italian SynagogueHillel 25. The center of the Italian-origin Jewish community in Jerusalem. In addition to the synagogue itself, whose ancient wooden decorations were transferred from Italy and reassembled, there is a museum displaying beautiful art and Judaica.

Neighborhoods[edit]

  • Haredi Jerusalem is a large area in the north and west of Jerusalem, populated by Haredi ('ultra-Orthodox') Jews. The most noteworthy neighborhood is   Me'ah Shearim. .
  •   Ein Kerem. A secluded neighborhood that maintains a picturesque and rustic village atmosphere. Ein Kerem is home to a number of churches, art and sculpture galleries, and restaurants and cafes..
A typical house in the German Colony
  •   German Colony. A neighborhood southeast of the city center, founded in 1873 by German Protestants of the "Temple Society", who were expelled by the British during World War II. It's now an upscale residential neighborhood full of restored 19th century homes. Its main street, Emek Refa'im, is a wonderful place to drink coffee and to eat in its many cafes and restaurants. You may hear more "Anglos" speaking English than Hebrew on these streets.
  •   Baka. Another neighborhood just south of the German Colony. This neighborhood has beautiful old Arab-style houses alongside new, modern buildings. There are many nice cafes on the main street of Derech Beit Lechem. This neighborhood too is home to many English-speaking Israelis.
  •   Lifta. An abandoned Arab village near the western entrance to Jerusalem. The place is full of spacious, multilevel, half-ruined buildings. Some of the houses are rebuilt and Jewish families live in these. It's easy to find wild opuntia (cactus fruit) and almond trees there. The must-see spot in Lifta is a long, very narrow tunnel going from the bricked-in ancient pool at the bottom of the village. The pool is mentioned in the Bible. Take off your shoes before entering it, because water can reach knee-level. The simplest way to get there is to take a walk from the main bus station towards the nearby hill where you enter the city from Tel Aviv, take the foot bridge over the highway and a downhill hike from behind the gas station, which takes about 15 minutes. Be careful: the pool is about 2 meters deep when full but has no stairs or ladder out, and while sometimes people pile stones at a corner for a step up to get out, you need to be strong enough to exit with a full pullup and hand press from the high edge or wait for a friend to pull you out. Especially on Friday and even more so before major Jewish holidays, many religious male youths will be found at Lifta performing ritual purification by immersion, and they may become irritated should a female bather show up to swim, potentially forcing large numbers of males wishing to use the ancient ritual mikveh pool for what they consider a non-recreational ritual away from the area.
  •   Yemin Moshe. The first neighborhood of Jerusalem to be built outside the Old City. The Mishkenot Sha'ananim housing project and the landmark windmill were finished in 1860; the rest of the neighborhood was built in the 1890s. Nowadays the neighborhood is quaint, beautiful, surrounded by parkland, and with a direct view of the Old City walls. It's a delightful neighborhood to walk around, both during the day and at night.
  •   Nachlaot. A picturesque old neighborhood of narrow lanes and courtyards, built starting in 1875. Nowadays it has a distinctive character that is both religious and hipster. On evenings before the High Holidays, "selichot tours" here take you between the various synagogues where Jews of all backgrounds are praying for forgiveness.

Landmarks[edit]

  •   The Knesset +972 2 675-3420, +972 2 675-3416. Tours: Su-Th 8.30am-2.30pm, Sessions: Mon & tue: 16:00, Wed: 11:00. the Israeli Parliament Building - The Knesset offers guided tours (in Hebrew, Arabic, English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Amharic, Yiddish, and Finnish) for the public. For both groups and individuals, one must call and arrange their guided tour in advance. One may observe the Knesset sessions from the public gallery on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Groups must call and arrange this visit; individuals may arrive directly with their identity cards or passports.
  •   Supreme Court +972 2-675-9612. Located between the Knesset and the Central Bus Station, the Supreme Court building (opened 1992) is a mixture of traditional Jerusalem architecture and modern elements. Tours are available each weekday in Hebrew (11:00) and English (12:00), or you could sit in on an ongoing court session.

Museums and Galleries[edit]

Shrine of the book and its famous sprinklers
  •   Israel Museum and the Shrine of the BookRuppin Blvd (near the Knesset, Bus: 7, 14, 35, 66),  +972 2-6708811, e-mail: . Mon, Wed, Sat and holidays 10.00am-4.00pm, Tue 4.00pm-9:00pm, Thu 10:00am:-9:00pm, Fri and holiday eves 10:00am-2:00pm, closed Sundays. Israel's national museum sprawls over a compound near the Knesset and covers a broad body and extremely unique body of work in its five wings. The Judaica Wing contains an unequalled collection of Jewish ceremonial pieces, tools, and artwork from throughout the Diaspora, as well as an entire replica of both a 17th century Italian synagogue and an Indian synagogue. Moving on, visitors can find the largest collection of artifacts found in Israel at the Archaeology Wing. The collection covers millenia of settlement in the Holy Land, from the Neolithic ancestors to the Canaanites to the ancient Jews. Probably the best-known wing of the Israel Museum is the onion-shaped Shrine of the Book, wherein the Dead Sea Scrolls, considered among the greatest discoveries of the 20th century, are permanently housed, along with the Aleppo Codex. Nearby is a large 3D model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple period. The Israel Museum also contains notable collections of pre-Columbian Central American Art, Primitive and Tribal Art, and a collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art, which, though perhaps less connected to the Jewish State, are worth a visit for art lovers. NIS 50, student NIS 37, child 5-17 yrs NIS 25 (free Tu and Sat).
  •   Bible Lands Museum (opposite the Israel Museum entrance),  +972 2-5611066, e-mail: . Sun-Tue and Thu 9.30am-5.30pm, Wed .30am-9.30pm, Fri and holiday eves 9.30am-2pm. Laid out chronologically, the Bible Lands Museum provides a detailed look at the ancient societies of the Middle East. The museum's wide range of artifacts from around the region, including among others Egyptian, Minoan, and early Christian works, appeal to a variety of different segments. NIS 28, pensioner NIS 23, child NIS 15, other concessions available.
  •   L.A. Mayer Memorial Museum of Islamic Art2 Palmach St +972 2-5661291/2fax: +972 2-5619802, e-mail: . Mon-Wed 10am-3pm; Thu 10am-7pm; Fri-Sat 10am-2pm; closed Sun. In the heart of Jewish West Jerusalem, the recently-renovated Museum of Islamic Art offers "one of the foremost collections of Islamic art" from across the Muslim world and the many centuries of Muslim artwork. NIS 20, students NIS 13, youths NIS 10.
  •   Wolfson Jewish Heritage Museum at Hechal Shlomo58 King George street +972 2 588-9000. Sun-Thu 9am-3pm. In the heart of downtown Jerusalem, this museum houses a unique collection of Jewish and Israeli art, with an interesting combination of old and new. NIS 15, students+youth NIS 10.
  •   Science Museum +972 2-6544888, e-mail: . Sun: Closed, Mon-Thu: 10:00-18:00, Fri: 10:00-14:00, Sat: 10:00-16:00. The museum features many "active exhibitions" which invite the visitor to touch and participate. A good choice for those travelling with kids. 40 NIS.
  •   Museum on the Seam (Next to the Shivtei Israel light rail stop). A museum which shows art with a socio-political emphasis. From 1948-1967 the only crossing between East and West Jerusalem was located here.
  •   Begin Center. A museum dedicated to the life and legacy of Menachem Begin, the first member of an opposition party to be elected as Israeli Prime Minister.

Memorials[edit]

Hall of names in Yad vashem
  •   Yad Vashem. Su-Th 9am-5pm, Fr and holidays eves 9am-2pm, closed Sa and holidays. Yad Vashem documents the history of the Jewish people during the Holocaust period, preserving the memory and story of each of the six million victims, and imparting the legacy of the Holocaust for generations to come through its archives, library, school, museums and recognition of the Righteous Among the Nations. Located on Har Hazikaron, the Mount of Remembrance, in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem is a vast, sprawling complex of tree-studded walkways leading to museums, exhibits, archives, monuments, sculptures, and memorials. free admission.

Parks[edit]

  •   Teddy Park. Named after Teddy Kollek, Jerusalem mayor from 1965-1993, this park is located in the valley just below Jaffa Gate. The highlight is a fountain with 256 water spouts which performs a choreographed water show once an hour; you are encouraged to run through the fountain on a hot day. There's also some archaeology here, but it's unimportant by Jerusalem standards.
  •   Gehinnom (Gehenna). The Bible describes this valley as having been used for child sacrifice. Due to its association with evil, Gehinnom/Gehenna later became a name referring to Hell. Now, it is a pleasant though somewhat neglected park. If you come at night, you will see the cliffs lining the valley lit up in a variety of colored lights.
  •   The Mifletzet. This modern park is a landmark for Jerusalem kids. Its highlight is a giant monster with three tongues, each of which functions as a children's slide.

Do[edit]

  •   Cinema City. A recently built movie theater/shopping mall. Full of loud flashing signs and life-sized movie character figurines, it is the definition of tacky. You'll spend the rest of your trip wondering how they got approval to build it across the street from the Supreme Court. It is a reasonable place to get lunch or see a movie, though.
  • All Nations Cafe (Refa'im Valley, near the Malha train station). If you are interested in learning first hand about the delicate fabric of life in Jerusalem, this cafe offers a social, cultural and ecological experience for both locals and internationals.
  •   First Station (HaTachana HaRishona). Between 1892 and 1998, Jerusalem's train station was located here, not too far from the Old City. The station has since been reopened as an entertainment destination, with restaurants, shops, concerts, and more. There is something going on here every evening. A very nice linear park/bike path extends south from here all the way to Malha.
  •   Great Synagogue. Built in 1982, this synagogue seats 1400 people and was intended to function as Jerusalem's central synagogue. Prayers are held regularly here. Sabbath prayers here are often conducted with a professional choir.
  •   Ein Yael. A living museum where farming and crafts techniques are demonstrated in a natural setting. Good for children, not adults.
  •   National Library. The world's largest collection of Jewish books and records. The place to go for in-depth research about Judaism or Israel. Located on the Hebrew University's Givat Ram campus.

Buy[edit]

Ben Yehuda Street (Rehov Ben-Yehuda, pedestrianized), Jaffa Road, and King George St. (Rehov King George) are the three main shopping streets in central western Jerusalem. The network of small streets and malls around these two thoroughfares represent the main shopping centre of New Jerusalem.

Western Jerusalem have attracted a number of large mall developments in the last decade. One of the biggest is the Malha Mall in the neighborhood of Gilo.

  •   Mahane Yehuda (the Shuk), Jaffa 119 (Mahane Yehuda light rail stop). This is the main outdoor market of West Jerusalem. Large, loud, and labyrinthine, the market boasts a large number of stalls, generally open 8 to 8 Sunday to Thursday, 8 to 3 Fridays, closed Shabbat. Fresh produce, pastries, salads abound. Definitely the place for a bargain and a unique insight into traditional Israeli culture. When the shops close in the evening, the night life opens up.
  •   Mamilla. On the border between West Jerusalem and the Old City, this was an important commercial zone before 1948, but then became a DMZ between Israeli and Jordanian forces. After 1967 Mamilla was rebuilt, and now it is a beautiful pedestrian mall lined by upscale stores, fitting in perfectly with West Jerusalem on one end and Jaffa Gate on the other.
  •   Malha Mall (Kanyon Malha). Jerusalem's main indoor shopping mall. Usually very crowded.

Eat[edit]

  • Spaghettim - the quintessential pasta restaurant, located in an old Ottoman period house with high ceilings and arches. Over 50 varieties of pasta sauces, well-cooked and presented, in meat, seafood and vegetarian options. An average sitting will set you back NIS 40-50 (takes cards). Open midday - midnight Sunday - Saturday. Not kosher. 8 Rabbi Akiva Street (between Independence Park and Ben-Yehuda Street). Tel: 623 5547/8.
  • Village Green - vegetarian restaurant with homemade soups, mains, bread and salads. Main course NIS 25. Open Sunday - Thursday 11-10, Friday 11-3. Kosher. 10 Ben-Yehuda Street
  • Stanley’s. South African cuisine, friendly owners. A pricier option - steaks start at about NIS 75, but often has special rates for 3 course meals. Business lunch NIS 35 (until 5.30 pm). Open noon - midnight. Reservations recommended. Not kosher. 3 Horkanos Street. Tel: 6259459

Drink[edit]

There is plenty of nightlife in Jerusalem. Mostly it is located in the city center or the Talpiyot district. For clubs, the best way is to have a "proteksya", or connection with someone. This way of knowing someone who works at the door or a friend is the easiest and best way to have a great time in Jerusalem. In the way of a more laid-back alternative bar scene, crawl around the closely nestled joints centered around the corner of Heleni HaMaika and Monbaz.

  • Artel Jazz ClubHeleni Hamalka 9 (Russian Compound). Every night live jazz concert at 22:00. Great food. Good selection of beverages. Free Wireless Internet.
  • HAOMAN 17Rachov Haoman #17, Talpiyot Industrial Area. Open Thursday and Friday nights. Opens around 12AM, closes well after sunrise.. HAOMAN is one of the top rated night clubs in the world. DJs from around the world entertain beautiful people into the morning hours with live house-techno music. The long line prefers well dressed, attractive people. Flashing a University ID helps you get through the crowd on a busy night. Go with friends, as the club is in an industrial area (not the safest place to be alone at night). Do not argue with the regulars, as people have been assaulted in the past. The most fun Thursday night in Yerushalayim. Cover is 80-120 NIS.
  • The Cassette1 Horkenous St +972 54-7263567. Sun-Thu and Sat 20:00-4:00; Fri 21:20-4:00. With the electric conduits forming a vine pattern over your head in its crypt-like backroom, this bar screams 'talk to me about philosophy' while experimental music plays in the background. The customers are the sort of people you'd find lounging around in art student's dorm room--in the best way possible. 18 NIS Beer and 6 NIS chaser.
  • UgandaAristobolus 4 (Russian compound). If you're looking to nudge your friend to ask them if they know this B-side, then you need to check out this hipster, music-oriented college staple. Uganda's unpretentious decor with cover art clad walls is matched by the understated fashion sense of its patrons. From hummus in the afternoon to Goldstar beer at night, the prices are pocket-friendly. Come here to meet Jerusalem's art- and image-conscious students.
  • Ha-TipaHadekel 2 (Mahane Yehuda Market). Small neighborhood pub at the outskirts of the Ben-Yehuda Market. Very Cheap alcohol, good music and Photo gallery.
  • NocJaffa 31 in the alley (Feingold Courtyard).
  • StardustRivlin 6. The pub was established in '96, and is named after a David Bowie album. It's crowd is a mix made of students, tourists, artists and young people. The music is mainly Alternative, mostly from England, and the bar prices are extremely good. The Happy Hour starts at 16:30 and lasts for five hours. All major sports event, including Premier League, Bundesliga, World Cup and Champions League are shown there on a big screen.
  • SiraBen-Sira 4. Jerusalem hardcore pub. Live DJs every night.
  • [dead link]DailaShlomtzion 4. Multi-cultural space for independent art and social change.
  • PragueRivlin 6, e-mail: . 18:30 till the last customer. An east European bar restaurant offering some great ethnic food together with big amount of draught beers and some exclusive attractions. 40-60.
  • Birman (Musical Bistro), Dorot Rishonim ST (pedestrin mall, downtown Jerusalem),  +972 50-2990059. Musical Bistro – Live music every night. For art, music & good food lovers. Open daily 19:00 till late hours, Friday 13:00 – Sabbath, closed Saturday.
  • Izen BarDereh Beit Lehem 7 (Old Train Station), e-mail: . IZEN Bar has for the past 3 years been the highest rated bar in Jerusalem. It's open Thursday, Friday & Saturday (sometimes also earlier in the week). Located outdoors, there are a numbers of DJs playing popular high beating tunes into the early morning. Also known for it's happy atmosphere, dancers, drummers, saxophonists, and different theme nights. Food and snacks are served all night. It's recommendable to come early to avoid long lines.
  • AngelicaShatz 7 (any bus to king george street, exit at cafe joe),  +972 2 623-0056. the only bar in Jerusalem serving classic cocktails using freshly muddled fruits and vegetables. Elegant atmosphere and the best drinks in town.
  • Glen whisk(e)y bar18 Shlomtzion st. (mamila area),  +792-54-9010076. 20:00 till last customer. A proper English bar, very close to the old city with 17 taps of beers from Israel and all other the world, the bar has its' own beer on tap! It's a whisk(e)y bar with over 100 types of single malt whiskies. You can meet locals from Jerusalem and students from all over Israel. It plays mostly rock music. Sometimes hosts a live bands and has simple but good food. ~30 nis.

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

  • Jerusalem Hostel44 Jaffa Rd (From Jerusalem bus station walk along the Jaffa road to the left (toward Old City) where the railtrack lies),  +972 2-6236102. No curfew. Clean hostel with a convenient central location on Zion Square. Dorm: 80 NIS; Private Room: starting from 230 NIS.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Harmony Hotel Jerusalem6 Yoel Moshe Salomon St (Nahalat Sheva). Open 24hr. Single: 120$; Double: 140$.
  • Jerusalem Inn7 Horkanos St. Israeli buffet breakfast and free WiFi included in the price. All rooms have a private bath and toilet, a balcony, TV, airconditioning, mini-bar and a safe.
  • Jerusalem Gardens4 Vilnay Street +972 2-655-8888. A short walk from the Bridge of Strings, in central Jerusalem. Nicely-appointed rooms and numerous dining options.
  • Park Hotel2 Vilnay St. Close to Calatrava Railway Bridge, Park Hotel stands adjacent to modern Jerusalem's International Convention Center and is only a short walk from the Israel Museum, the Hebrew University's Givat Ram campus, the Knesset (home of Israel's Parliament) and the Government's most important buildings.
  • Colony SuitesHananya St (German Colony). Self-contained, serviced vacation apartments for short term let. US$50-180.

Splurge[edit]

  • King David Hotel23 King David St. +972 2-620-8888fax: +972 2-620-8882, e-mail: . Probably the city's most famous and historic hotel. A landmark that has been residence to monarchs and heads of state in exile. The ground floor is decorated in the style current in David and Solomon's time (based on archaeological discoveries), so it is worth visiting even if you're not staying there.
  • Mamilla Jerusalem Hotel11 King Solomon St +972 2-5482222fax: +972 2-5482220. A 5-star hotel located in the City Center near the Old City few minutes walk from Jaffa Gate, Tower of David and Alrov Mamilla Avenue.

Connect[edit]

Go next[edit]

This district travel guide to West is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.
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