Over the years, archaeological excavations in the Old City and its surroundings have become an inspiring national endeavor and have generated enormous public interest in Israel and around the world. The Jewish Quarter Reconstruction and Development Company, headed by CEO Herzl Ben-Ari, is working to renovate the Jewish Quarter and make these incredible findings accessible to visitors from around the world.
- A Rooftop Breakfast at the new Ibis Styles Hotel
- Plugat HaKotel Museum (i.e. The Museum of the Western Wall Platoon)
- The Burnt House
- Tiferet Israel Synagogue: Under Restoration
- The Western Wall Elevator: Under Construction
- "Chavayat Hatanach" or The Bible Experience
- Lunch stopover at Hummus Haviv
- The Menachem Begin Heritage Center
A Rooftop Breakfast at the new Ibis Styles Hotel
The Ibis Styles Hotel is the second hotel after Ibis Red to have opened in Jerusalem belonging to the international IBIS hotel brand that is part of the Accor International Hotel chain. The new hotel has a spectacular location. It is located in the middle of the pedestrian mall on 4 Ben Yehuda St. near Zion Square, a few minutes' walks from the Old City, the light rail, Mahane Yehuda market and a variety of tourist attractions in Jerusalem.
The hotel design, led by Aryeh Dvilansky Architects was inspired by the nearby Mahaneh Yehuda Market and is full of cheerful, colorful illustrations. The new Ibis Styles is set in a historic building and has 104 different rooms including standard rooms and family rooms, mini-suites, and rooms with balconies. Children receive a gift kit at check-in and have a children's menu.
On the 8th floor of the hotel, guests can enjoy a restaurant and bar with scenic views, where a large breakfast buffet is served daily from 6:30 to 10:00. You can enjoy the breakfast buffet separately from the accommodation. Every day between 18:30 and 19:30 the hotel has a happy hour in the restaurant. The restaurant itself will be open for three meals after Passover. All meals at the hotel are kosher.
Plugat HaKotel Museum (i.e. The Museum of the Western Wall Platoon)
Around 80 years after it was closed by the British, the Museum of the Western Wall Platoon was opened last year to the public. The museum tells the heroic story of the young members of the Betar revisionist movement who decided to stay in the Old City.
The museum is located inside the original house that was used by the platoon for residential purposes. It tells the story of the young men and women who went to work in the mornings and trained at night in an effort to guard the safety of the Jews who used to pray at the Western Wall. The presentation is about 35 minutes long and tells about their life under the British rule and about one of the most famous heroic activities that they undertook on the Yom Kippur of 1928.
Registration is through the Begin Heritage Center's office.
The Burnt House
The burnt house is the familiar name of an archeological site that is one of the homes of a wealthy Jerusalemite dating back to the period of the Second Temple around the destruction in 70 CE.
The visit includes a view of the house and some of the archeological findings as well as a spectacular film that carries you back in time to the events preceding the fall of the Second Temple. The burnt house has already completed its renovation and the film has been translated into Chinese, Spanish, English, French, and Russian.
Tiferet Israel Synagogue - Under Restoration
One of the landmarks of the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem until its destruction in 1948 was the Tiferet Israel Synagogue. Archaeological excavations began about four years and only recently the restoration work has begun. In the first stage, the construction work is focused on three underground floors that go down ten meters below street level. Once these three levels are complete, the Tiferet Israel synagogue will be restored and is expected to reach a height of 25 meters high.
The Western Wall Elevator - Under Construction
Between the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem are several staircases that limit access to people with disabilities. The Western Wall Elevator project is designed to create a convenient and accessible passage for the entire population. The project covers a total area of about 2,000 square meters and the cost is estimated at 57 million NIS.
"Chavayat Hatanach" or The Bible Experience
The Tourism Department of the Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter, in cooperation with the Bible Experience, is launching an interactive game in the Jewish Quarter. The game presents a series of challenges and riddles that lead you through hidden underground passages and excavations in the Jewish Quarter. It takes about an hour and a half and is conducted with tablets and laminated reality technology that generate a fun modern tourist experience.
Lunch at Hummus Haviv
Hummus Haviv is named after the owner Tzach Haviv, an entrepreneur who has managed two other businesses in the Jewish Quarter and the center of Jerusalem. It is the first hummus restaurant that opened in the Jewish quarter in Sept.2018. The kosher certificate is provided by Rabbi Rubin and with which the restaurant is able to serve tourists as well as some of the ultra-Orthodox residents alike.
The restaurant serves vegetarian/vegan food based on fresh raw materials daily with no preservatives. The hummus is served hot and ground thinly, based on a personal recipe together with gluten free green falafel, homemade fries and Chef Moshe's "Father's Shakshuka" that is unique in its intense flavor. The pita bread is freshly baked at the restaurant. The menu also includes soups, a rice and lentil dish called "Majadra", cooked vegetables and salads to complete the meal. The atmosphere is updated even though the building is preserved as an authentic building of the Quarter and seats up to 40 people.
The Menachem Begin Heritage Center (Tripadvisor)
The Menachem Begin Museum is a building dedicated to the 6th Prime Minister of Israel. The multi-sensory audiovisual experience includes rare films, interactive touch screens and a whole set of reconstructions and original items to take you through a journey into the life of one of the most prominent leaders in the country's history.
The museum is divided into four major periods of his life. The first period starts with Begin's childhood in Europe including his arrest for Zionist activity.
The second period is dedicated to his command of the Etzel and describes some of the main activities of the Irgun.
The third is dedicated to his political years in the opposition and the fourth focuses on his achievements as Prime Minister - the peace treaty with Egypt, the Nobel Peace Prize, the bombing of the nuclear reactor in Iraq, and more ...
The museum is an experience for the whole family and is done only by guided tour. The tour takes about 75 minutes with a waiting period of half an hour in-between tours. The museum conducts the guided tours in Hebrew and English, but you can also receive headphones for Spanish, French, Russian and Arabic.
In addition to the tour about Menachem Begin within the building, visitors are invited to enter the archeological park that lies within the museum's compound. The park is part of a necropolis of burial complexes that dates back to the First Temple period, the days of the Kings of Judah. Other findings include remains of a Byzantine church, rock-hewn shaft tombs from the Roman period and burial ground of the 10th Roman legion. The most fascinating find is a burial cave from the First Temple period in which an exciting discovery was made - a silver cylinder bearing the familiar verse from the Birkat Kohanim: "May the Lord bless you and preserve you." This finding is the oldest biblical text to date.
The park has recently been renovated with appropriate signs and walking paths that connect it to a sequence of parks between Bloomfield Garden and the Biblical Hill. Admission to the park is free between 10:00-18:00, Sunday - Thursday, even after museum hours, but requires advance notice.
For contact details to each of the sites, you are welcome to enter the full article on:
Photos by Silvia G. Golan