New Jerusalem Walking Tour (Self Guided), Jerusalem

West Jerusalem or New Jerusalem is made up entirely of westernized, modern neighborhoods. This part of the city was built around the wall of the Old Jerusalem city. The following self-guided tour will lead you to some interesting streets, art galleries, museums and shops in New Jerusalem:
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New Jerusalem Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: New Jerusalem Walking Tour
Guide Location: Israel » Jerusalem (See other walking tours in Jerusalem)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 Km or 3.4 Miles
Author: vickyc
1
YMCA Tower

1) YMCA Tower

This attraction is part of the YMCA in Jerusalem. It was built as a symbol of peace and coexistence for the world to see. It is located across the street from the Kind David hotel. The whole complex is architecturally stunning. Beside the tall structure, there is a beautiful stand of Cyprus trees there, which really depict the spirit of Israel.

By comparison to other hotel offerings, the YMCA is simple. You will get a clean room at a fair price. But that is not the reason to stay here. The big draw is that it is a place that is dedicated to serving everyone who comes to the Holy Land. This part of the building is known as the Three Arches. It currently has 56 rooms, and is simply equipped (bring your own toiletries). The lobby is spacious and quiet. The restaurant serves breakfast, and the pool and gym are free for hotel guests.

The idea was the brain child Dr. A.C. Harte, the head of the this famous Christian organization in the 1920s. It was designed by Arthur Harmon. In case the name doesn't ring the bell to you, he was the creative force behing the Empire State Building.

There is a lot of symbolic meaning that has been designed into the building also. The twelve trees at the entrance recall the tribes of Israel. Forty pillars represent the years the people were in exile, awaiting the entrance into the Promised Land.

You can take a trip up the tower for a mere five shekels. There are a lot of stairs to climb, though, so be ready for that. At the top is a grand room with openings to the outside. There are four balconies in all. Each of them looks off in a different direction. So, there is some great photo opportunities of Jerusalem to be had here.
2
Museum for Islamic Art

2) Museum for Islamic Art (must see)

The Museum for Islamic Art is a premier museum in Jerusalem, located very close to the residence of the President of Israel. The location was opened to the public in 1974 and was founded by Mrs. Vera Bryce Salomons. You may not find a better art gallery either, for the presentation of the art of the Muslim people.

Though not of that faith tradition, Mrs. Vera Bryce Salomons had a great love of the culture of Islam. She was very interested in helping the world know that religion alone did not define this people. She was expressly interested in the beautiful calligraphy that was some common in the handwriting of this area. She noted also that the various Muslim regions of the world had their own “flare” in the art of the writing as well.

The institute itself was dedicated to Ms. Salomons’ professor: L.A. Mayer, who passed away in 1959. It was her hope that opening this place would allow art to help bridge the gap between the Israeli and Arabs.

There are nine galleries in total, which depict the culture, faith, and art of the Islamic people across the world. The museum also is home to Professor Mayer’s personal collection. Displayed here are some of the world’s finest examples of chess pieces, eye masks, daggers, swords, helmets, textiles, glass items, etc. The rooms are laid out in chronological order. One spot also houses the pieces owned by David Salomon, the husband of the founder. Some of the finest examples of handmade clocks from the 1700s through the 1800s are kept here. You can also find some exquisite artisan-style music boxes from that time in history.

Why You Should Visit:
Untainted by political commentary, the museum tells the story of Islam itself, accompanied by exquisite pieces of art that capture the importance of the religion's various aspects.
Lately, the museum went through a process of innovation, bringing to the public highlights of modern artists linked with Islamic arts.

Tip:
If possible, try to see the film about the clocks & timepieces before looking at the world-class collection thereof.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Wed: 10am-3pm; Thu: 10am-7pm; Fri, Sat: 10am-2pm
3
Jerusalem Theater

3) Jerusalem Theater

The Jerusalem Theater is a center for the performing arts. It opened to the public for the first time in 1971. The complex consists of “the Sherover Music Hall,” which can hold 950 people. There is also the “Henry Crown,” which also has a Symphony Hall that is used by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. You can also visit the “Rebecca Crown Auditorium.” It has 450 seats. Finally, the “Little Theater” which can hold 110 persons. Various art exhibits are on display everywhere. You can also visit their restaurant for a bite before or after a show. A bookshop is also located on the main level of the complex.

In 1958, the Jerusalem Municipality organized a design competition to decide who would start the project. The Architectural firm of Nadler, Nadler and Bixson won this competition. The project got a real boost, monetarily, from a benefactor from Venezuela. His name was Miles Sherover.

Construction began in 1964, but would not get finished until October 1971. The theater is built of concrete and local stone from the area. The designers used both of these elements in a very artistic way, to really make the place striking. It is located in a square that is often used for concerts and plays. If you are a lover of the arts, then you will want to plan on attending one of the events that are held here, while you are visiting.
4
Monastery of the Cross

4) Monastery of the Cross

The Monastery of the Cross is home for the Byzantine order. It is located just outside the Old City of Jerusalem. Popular myth holds that a tree was located on these grounds that could have been used to construct a crucifix that was used for Jesus’ execution. This tradition and mythos dates back to the 5th Century.

In that time period, a house of worship stood in the location where the monastery is now. It was destroyed in circa 614 A.D. by the Persian Empire. By stroke of luck, part of the original mosaic tiles of the floor, around the altar, has survived. The art is a classic example from the period.

The current structure was erected in the 11th century by Orthodox monks from Mount Athos. The major funding came from the King of Georgia. The walls have been built very high for extra protection. This may have been done because the fortress was built outside the walls of the city. They were, no doubt, needed to keep the people inside safe.

Three hundred years later, the monastery became the social and economic center of the area. By 1685, grounds came under the managerial control of the Greek Orthodox Church.

The very Spartan style dome is one of the features of the building. The frescoes housed here are also worth seeing. They were repainted in the 1600s from the 13th century original pieces. The artwork set in the paintings show that the artists used religious images from many faith traditions and beliefs. The refectory is very typical of structures of this type. The kitchen also provides a good look into what life must have been like for the clerics living there. A tiny gallery shows off the monastery's treasures. The Order is still active today. It is not a cloistered community of faith though. Visitors are permitted to come and enjoy the grounds year round.
5
Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

5) Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens is centrally located in Nayot, on the southeastern edge of the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The place is designed in sections, which feature flora and fauna of various regions of the world. The attraction opened to the public in 1985. In 1986, a tropical conservatory was opened to the general public. The famous South Africa section was planted in 1989. The Hank Greenspan Entrance Plaza, Dvorsky Visitors’ Center, which constitute much of the rest of the campus, were built in 1990. They also added a lovely restaurant.

The original grounds were procured in 1926, on the Mount Scopus side. Plans were created by Alexander Eig, who was the chairman of the Botany department of the University at the time. Planting started in 1931.

During the Israeli War of Independence, access to the university campus was cut off. An alternative campus was opened for a bit, through 1956. Some additions were then added over the years, but the real boom started in 1975. In that year, “the Society of Friends of the Botanical Gardens” was established to care for the place. The group was composed of lots of members of the former governing authorities, such as the JNF, the city of Jerusalem, and the local University.

In 1981, the Garden Association was started. The grounds were opened to the public in 1985. In 1994, it broke all formal ties with Hebrew University. Since that point in time, the Botanical Garden Association has been responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the place.

Among the things to see here is the Japanese garden. It holds the biggest collection of bonsai trees on the planet. There is also the "Bible Path" which is home to 70 species of plant life that have been known to have existed during the times in which the Bible was written. The organization is highly committed to creating a gene pool to protect rare flowers and plants in Israel.
6
Israel Museum

6) Israel Museum (must see)

The Israel Museum, or Muze'on Yisrael, Yerushalayim is located in Jerusalem. It was founded in 1965 as Israel's national archive. It is located in the local region of Givat Ram. The National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel, Knesset, the Israeli Supreme Court, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem are very near to this location also. Mayor Teddy Kollek was perhaps the most instrumental person in the development of the institution. In terms of similar places, it is world famous for art and archaeology. In its walls are housed ancient artifacts from the days of the Bible, Judaica, local ethnic graphic art, as well as archaeological pieces from every major continent in the world. You can also find treasures from the Orient, glass, clay and porcelain sculptures and rare documents from around the world. Perhaps the most famous exhibit here is the Shrine of the Book. In a specially shaped building, the Dead Sea Scrolls and artifacts discovered at Masada have found a home.

The museum owns over 500,000 collectible pieces. At any one time, there are around 7500 items that can be viewed or seen online. The location, under the directorship of James Snyder, underwent a multimillion-dollar campaign to modernize the structure. In addition, the construction would be designed to double the gallery space available for exhibits. It opened on July 26, 2010. The current building covers nearly 150,000 sq. feet. It attracts 800,000 patrons yearly. Well over 100,000 children visit each year. It holds the biggest public display of Israeli artifacts in the world.

Why You Should Visit:
The most interesting and magical museum there is in Israel, hands down – outstanding sculpture garden included.
Wide range of work from contemporary art to Jewish life (full-on synagogues included)!

Tip:
Don't try to do it all at once. The collections of archeology and art are each huge and incredible and could take hours. Do the Dead Sea Scrolls on your first visit.
Remember to bring an ID card (not passports), in order to use the audio guides.

Opening Hours:
Sun-Thu: 10am-5pm; Tue: 4-9pm; Fri & Holiday Eves: 10am-2pm; Sat & Holidays: 10:30am-4pm
7
Bloomfield Science Museum

7) Bloomfield Science Museum

The Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem serves as the country’s premier tribute to science. The location is well known for its family oriented activities and events that can keep the interest of everyone. The goal of the institution is to act as a kind of bridge between the scientific community and the general public.

One of the things that you will note right away is that the structure is quite well suited to children, with exhibitions that will interest the young visitors. The displays can teach a kid to be an entertainment park owner, or how to be an architect, and even how to better understand the laws of physics that keep our Universe in tact. However, the place is not just designed for kids. There are a lot of interactive displays designed to be of interest to adults, to keep them just as involved as the little ones who come to this place to play and learn.

The Israeli flavor of the building is expressed in specialized exhibits. They have been created by members of the local academic community. Often, they are based on current projects from the University. The location is also capable of hosting a party for various occasions.

The Bloomfield Science Museum is a mere five minutes from the Israel Museum. Admission for adults is 45 NIS. Children under 5 are admitted free. There are also special prices for Soldiers, Disabled, Students, and Seniors.

Opening hours: Monday - Thursday: 10:00 - 18:00; Friday: 10:00 - 14:00; Saturday: 10:00 - 16:00

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