Digging Up and Cleaning Up the Jerusalem Streets

Digging Up and Cleaning Up the Jerusalem Streets

Oh, Jerusalem,

Jerusalem, Israel where the very old and new come together.

Where the ancient and the future collide on the streets.

Israel Museum in Jerusalem Israel as seen over the Valley of the Cross

Winter clouds drift over the Israel Museum overlooking the Valley of the Cross.

Old street morning scene in Jerusalem Israel

A street scene in Mea Shearim is another classic image.

Jerusalem Israel sign for construction of Gateway project

However, the Gateway Project at the entrance of Jerusalem seems to be constantly changing.

Jerusalem Israel street near entrance to city

Indeed, new roads and traffic patterns have been a topic in the past. 

Construction in Jerusalem Israel

Rising above a road out of Jerusalem are new housing projects of Ramat Shlomo.

Jerusalem Israel hills where new roads have been built

To build many of the roads, large sections of the Judean Hills have to be blasted away.

Jerusalem Israel tree preservation

When there is a tree to be saved, it is tagged for preservation.

Jerusalem Israel old Kraft Stadium

Remember Kraft Stadium, the scene of countless night football games and the Woodstock Revival?

Digging for new project at site of old Kraft Stadium in Jerusalem Israel

It is now only a memory as digging has begun on a massive municipal project.

The old Kraft Stadium was next to Jerusalem’s Gan Sacher, Sachar Park.

New paths in Jerusalem Israel Sacker Park

The new biking and walking path in Gan Sacher is now complete.

Jerusalem Israel Park pedestrian tunnel painted with colorful graffiti

At night the path is well lit and much more pleasant to use.

Gan Sacher Park with construction

However, the other side of Gan Sacher is one big construction site.

Jerusalem Park Gan Sacher

The clock is ticking for a new memorial to be ready in the park for its dedication with Vladimir Putin attending.

Jerusalem Israel Sache Park

The Russian President is to arrive with 39 other world leaders for a special Holocaust commemoration at Yad Vashem on Thursday, January 23rd.

Jerusalem residents have been complaining and bracing for major traffic delays for days already.

Presidents, the King of Spain, and Prince Charles of Great Britain and their extended entourages are among the expected guests.

Israeli President Formal hall ceiling

The President is hosting a major dinner reception in Beit Hanasi, the official Israeli President’s Residence, on Wednesday evening for the world leaders.

They even cleaned up the panels on the ceiling in the main hall.

Ceiling of Israeli President Residence

The brightness of the colors so noticeable, I had to take a photo.

Road work on Jerusalem Israel street CAT piece of equipment

Jerusalem is famous for its cats, but a new bred of CATs are now all over the Jerusalem streets.

Electric bus on Jerusalem Israel streets

One of the new Jerusalem electric buses went by.

Construction of new sidereal in Jerusalem Israel

Drivers try to maneuver around closed intersections during the construction of new sidewalks.

Ambulance in Jerusalem Israel construction area

Walking along Azza Street has been a challenge. With work done day and night and in the rain, even for emergency vehicles, it is challenging.

This bus stop was removed the next day, people had to stand and wait in the rain.

Jerusalem Israel construction site Muslim man using work vest as prayer rug

But while walking, I discovered an alternative use for those safety vests, a handy substitute for a Muslim prayer mat.

Clean up street in Hebrew on Jerusalem Israel street

Oh, the new Jerusalem streets, and trying to keep them clean.

Jerusalem Israel feel good signs along main road

Feel good signs have been posted along the main street.

Jerusalem Israel cleanup poster to keep city clean

“Jerusalem is your home, keep it clean,” reminds the new bus stop sign.

Oh, there is more, the light rail construction has whole neighborhood streets dug up.

Fire performance on Jerusalem Israel Ben Yehudah Street

You never know what you will find next on Jerusalem streets – this fire dancer was new to see.

Jerusalem Ben Yehudah at night

However, along Ben Yehudah Street and Zion Square – music, a common sight.

Jerusalem is ever-fascinating and changing.

Yemin Moshe Jerusalem Israel young woman taking a photo

We had a wonderful time in Yemin Moshe on a photo walk.

Tourists on top of Jerusalem Tower of David

Old or new, day or night, whether you look down or up,

millions of tourists have found what’s happening on the Jerusalem streets.

Come see for yourself.

 

Jerusalem, Israel Diverse and Democratic

Jerusalem, Israel Diverse and Democratic

Jerusalem, Israel is a busy place in the winter holiday season.

“It is no surprise that both the Jewish and Christian traditions share holidays of light – the light of faith and hope, even in the face of darkness…

As guardians of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, the State of Israel is committed to religious freedom for all,” said President Reuven Rivlin.

“Jerusalem must serve as a model for peace and harmony between religions.”

Jerusalem Israel for Hanuka at Old City Jaffa Gate near Tower of David

This past week Hanukkah was celebrated in Jerusalem, Israel.

Jerusalem lights on Agron Street for Hanukkah

Also this year Hanukkah coincided with the Christmas holiday season.

Neutral lighting lined some of the major streets.

Hebrew University had no classes on December 25th.

construction on Jerusalem Gaza Street backed up in morning

Traffic volume plus street repairs created backups even when the sun was shining.

In the rain? Forget getting anywhere in the usual amount of time!

Jerusalem Israel YMCA Christmas tree in lobby

In the past inside the YMCA was a sure bet for finding a holiday tree and decorations.

Jerusalem Christmas decorations at YMCA

This year the outside tree was decorated and additional lights placed at the entrance.

Suffganiot and Christmas tree at First Station

This year at First Station along with those Hanukkah donuts there was a Christmas tree.

Hanuka and Christmas in Jerusalem Israel

The banner sign at First Station next to the Hanukkah menorah had greetings for Hanukkah and Christmas.

Jerusalem Hotel in Old City with Christmas light

The lights at night in the Old City were bright inside of Jaffa Gate.

Santa in Jerusalem Israel for Christmas

That Santa Claus was not out at night when I looked for him, but he appeared in his annual spot near Jaffa Gate the next day.

Jerusalem Israel New Gate decorated for Christmas holiday

Inside the New Gate decorations greeted the holiday crowds to the Christian Quarter and churches.

Lights on Jerusalem Israel French Hospital at night in holiday season

Outside of the Old City walls, the lights on the St. Lous French Hospital brightened it up at night.

Jerusalem December Holiday crowds

The holiday week crowds filled the narrow streets in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City.

It’s official. A record number of holiday tourists were on the Jerusalem streets this year.

Israeli president cat in Beit Hanasi garden

At Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s residence, the Presidential cat was watching over the grounds at the annual New Year reception for the heads of the Christian denominations in Israel.

An Israeli police officer taking a group photograph for New Year reception

Inside at the reception guests posed and smiled for photos.

Christian leaders in Israel at Israeli President's Residence for annual New Year Reception

Israeli Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri;  the acting Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem; the representative of the Armenian Patriarchate; head of the Franciscan Order in Jerusalem, the Custos of the Holy Land; and the Melkite Greek Catholic Church Archeparch of Akka (Akko) were among the participants.

Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem spoke on behalf of the religious leaders.

In his remarks President Rivlin invited the Pope to the dedication ceremony for the Land of the Monasteries project in 2020, saying:

“We are about to finish clearing all of the mines from the Land of the Monasteries at the very beginning of the coming year. Already the number of Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land is increasing each year. Just this year, close to 900,000 pilgrims visited the Land of Monasteries. We are working hard to complete the development of the entire area by the end of 2020.”

Land mines placed in old buildings for security near Jordan River Kasser-Al -Yahud

As part of this initiative, land mines laid in the 1970s for security reasons, which prevented access to the area, have been cleared.

Kasser Al Yahud area building of old

The process has been an ongoing project in the ancient area, which has been under development to a new tourist center for years.

Kasser al Yahud Israeli and Jordanian border

The area is called Qasr-Al-Yahud where the Jordan River is divided between Jordan and Israel.

Interior Minister MK Rabbi Aryeh Deri at Israeli President's house for new year reception for Christian leaders

Minister of the Interior, Aryeh Deri: “Freedom of worship and religion in Jerusalem, the Holy City, will be preserved for all and we will continue to preserve Jerusalem as the Holy City for all religions. Unfortunately, we live in an era when antisemitism raises its head around the world, most recently in the terrible incident in Monsey, New York. We must all fight antisemitism wherever it occurs, and we must all reject and condemn it in a loud and clear voice against any outbreak of antisemitism and violence.”

Israeli president shaking hands at new year reception with christian leaders

In his remarks, the President once again repeated, “We must remember that we are not doomed to live together, we are destined to live together, and we, therefore, must advance initiatives which will benefit all of us.”

“In a few weeks, I will host leaders from around the world at Yad Vashem, to commemorate seventy-five years to the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and to call on all humanity, to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, and fight antisemitism and hate.”

Antisemitism is becoming more blatant around the world.

Meanwhile, the Israeli leadership has become more “relaxed” and welcoming to religious diversity in Jerusalem with more neutral holiday lights and greetings, and enticing more Christian pilgrims to Qsar-Al-Yahud and other locations.

Some will find this very positive.

Others will find it the opposite.

The discussion of Israel, Jewish and democratic and diverse, will not cease with a new government.

But I will end with something new for me, I had to take out the video for this one.

Always something new on the Jerusalem streets.

 

Jerusalem Under Old Walls to New Northern Ramparts

Jerusalem Under Old Walls to New Northern Ramparts

Jerusalem, Israel, where the very old meets the new.

With so much happening on these Jerusalem streets, it is hard to keep up.

Thousands and thousands of visitors are filling the streets.

Drivers honking at the poor tourists trying to maneuver, unfamiliar with the crazy lights and the turns of the Jerusalem streets.

The Old City Walls are thousands of years old, but for this holiday season, there is also new.

New adventures and views for visitors to the Jerusalem Old City.

Damascus Gate at night of piano event in cave

Outside Damascus Gate at night, a familiar view.

We passed Damascus Gate walking around the walls on the night of Tisha B’Av.

Zedekiah's Cave in Jerusalem, Israel near Damascus Gate

Four years ago in Jerusalem, we descended into the nearby King Solomon’s Quarry,

Lights in Zedekiah's Cave for Piano concert

also called Zedekiah’s Cave, located close to Damascus Gate.

Solomon's Quarries for a piano performance

Down in the Zedekiah’s Cave was an amazing piano concert.

Piano music at Jerusalem light festival in Zedekiah Cave

For a Jerusalem Light Festival, Zedekiah’s Cave was also an impressive sight.

This week public concerts are held at night in the cave.

What else is new?

There have been popular Southern Ramparts Walks on top of the walls.

Now after 10 years of work, there is a new Northern Ramparts Path open to the public.

Roman Plaza Entrance to Old City

For our Northern Ramparts walk, we met at Zedekiah’s Cave and began next to Damascus Gate entrance, down at the Roman Plaza entrance.

First, we went down, and then up to the top of Damascus Gate.

Inside Damascus Gate at top in Old City Jerusalem

The top of Damascus Gate from the inside was another flight up.

Love the look of the stones against the clear blue sky!

Inside the Muslim Quarter on top

Looking down into the Muslim Quarter from above near Damascus Gate was a new sight.

Muslim Quarter Jerusalem Old City view from above

One view of the Muslim Quarter from above to the residential areas.

View of Jerusalem from top of Ramparts Walk

This was a view from the path on the wall toward northern Jerusalem with Hebrew University on Mount Scopus in the distance.

View from top of Old City Walls out to Jerusalem street

The newly opened walk goes around the tops of the Old City walls, on the right, a wide and straight part.

View from Old City walls to Mount Scopus

Looking out over the Rockefeller Museum from that part of the path.

View from top of Old City walls

And one more looking back toward Damascus Gate and the morning scene below.

Narrow stair way on Ramparts Walk

At times the path gets narrow with twisting metal stairs.

One place was so low I bumped my head. At 5 feet short, that was a first for me, other than on a very tiny plane.

View of rubbish inside the Old City Muslim Quarter on private land

Private land in the Muslim Quarter looks like a garbage dump.

But look not far in the distance.

View of Dome of Rock from Muslim Quarter area of Rampart Path

With a bit of zoom lens, you can see the domes of the Temple Mount.

View from Old City Walls nearing corner

Approaching the corner of the Old City wall, traffic below and Hebrew University in the distance on the left and Mount of Olives on the right.

Modern sports fields fill this corner of the Muslim Quarter.

A young woman takes a photo on Stork Tower on Jerusalem Old City Ramparts Path

At Stork’s Tower where one has incredible views.

New stones in Old City restoration marked

Not all are original stones. The new ones are marked with those black tags to show future historians what was recreated before 2020.

View from top of Old City Walls of Muslim cemetary

The new path provides an unprecedented view of the Muslim cemetery built along the northern wall.

View of Mount of Olives from Old City Ramparts Walk

Tourist buses lined up on the Mount of Olives, with the Jewish graves going back thousands of years on both sides.

View from Old City Ramparts Path of cemetery below

Storage? This structure is in the middle of the Muslim cemetery.

One more view approaching the Lion’s Gate.

Minister of Jerusalem and Heritage MK Ze'ev Elkin

MK Ze’ev Elkin – Minister of Jerusalem and Heritage Ministry and Mordechai Benita – Director-General of the ministry posed before the opening ceremony.

Opening of North Ramparts Walk

The tour guides and invited guests were waiting below.

Lions Gate from inside and above

As Zeev Elkin was speaking, I was watching a security guard leave her post and assist an old woman with a cane out of Lion’s Gate.

Jerusalem Minister Zeev Elkin cutting ribbon at opening of North Ramparts Walk

The official ceremonial blue ribbon was cut at Lion’s Gate.

Inside Lions Gate view from above

Inside of Lion’s Gate, from above, attracted my attention during speeches.

Old street in Jerusalem Israel

One old Jerusalem street on our way from Lion’s Gate inside the Old City walls.

Arab shop in Old City Jerusalem

Oops, was walking quickly and snapping as I went.

Arab man and woman sitting on side of street to sell in Old City

The scene approaching the Kotel, Western Wall Plaza, from inside Old City.

Finally, back to familiar sites and scenes.

Cleaning notes from the Kotel before Hanukkah

Special cleaning for the notes left at the Kotel,

Menorah at Kotel for Hanukkah

as Western Wall prepared for holiday crowds and Hanukkah candle lightings.

View of Kotel and Har Habayit

Another beautiful winter day in Jerusalem, Israel.

Lots more photographs, but if you want to check out for yourself, please note:

The walks are not accessible to people with disabilities and wheelchairs.

Young children should be in a carrier.

South Walk:

Sun-Thur 9:00-16:00 (summer to 17:00, July-August to 22:00)

Friday and Holiday evenings 9:00-14:00

Exits – at Zion Gate and at the end of the Tekuma Garden (Jewish Quarter)

*Southern box office: At the southern end of the Cannon Plaza (the back entrance of the Tower of David, to the right side before of Jaffa Gate square)

North Walk:

Sunday – Thursday and Saturday: 9:00-16:00 (summer to 17:00)

Exits – at the New Gate, Damascus Gate, Herod’s Gate and Lions Gate

Ticket includes the Northern walk and entrance to the Roman Plaza.

* Northern box office: at the TICKETS OFFICE on the left-hand side, just after entering the Jaffa Gate, and at the Roman Square box office

Fees:

Adult – 20 NIS, student / retiree 10 NIS, child / soldier 8 NIS

The ticket is valid for both sections, for two days.

Tickets: PAMI website www.pami.co.il and at the box offices