Western New Town and Suburbs, Jerusalem
Monastery of the Cross was originally built in a more secluded location, however seclusion has been lost as Jerusalem has grown. The church is located in the center of the extensive complex.
Going north on Hayim Hazaz Boulevard and turning sharp left into Ruppin Road, we come to the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset (1966), the most striking building in the Hakirya district, the government quarter. Near the entrance is a 5m/16ft high bronze Menorah (seven-branched candlestick) by Benno Elkan, a gift from the British Parliament. It is decorated with 29 reliefs of figures and events in Jewish history.The interior is decorated with mosaics and tapestries by Marc Chagall. When Parliament is not sitting there are conducted tours of the building; when it is sitting visitors can usually get admission to the visitors' gallery (passport required).Northwest of the Knesset are three long ranges of government buildings - the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of the Interior and the Prime Minister's Office.
On a hill to the southwest of the Knesset is the Israel Museum, a complex of low interconnected buildings and pavilions consisting of the Shrine of the Book, the Samuel Bronfman Biblical and Archeological Museum, the Bezalel Art Museum and the Billy Rose Art Garden. The Museum, which was opened in 1965, is the only one in the country which collects and displays both Archeological material and art, conceived in the widest sense.
Address: Ruppin Blvd., 91710 Jerusalem, Israel
Opening hours: 10am-5pm; Tue: 4pm-9pm; Fri: 10am-2pm; Sat: 10am-4pm; Closed: Sun
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Tours leave the main entrance at 11.00am. For information on tours call 02-708884.
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
Facilities: Restaurant or food service
Transit: Bus: 9, 17, 24.
Shrine of the Book
To the right of the entrance of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem is the Shrine of the Book, with a dome of light-colored concrete modeled on the lids of the pottery jars containing the "Dead Sea scrolls". The scrolls were found from 1947 onwards in caves round the monastery of the Essenes at Qumran and thanks to the efforts of the archaeologist Yigael Yadin were acquired for Israel; there are also some scrolls in the Archeological Museum of Amman in Jordan. The scrolls are the earliest manuscripts of the Old Testament in the Hebrew language apart from two silver tablets engraved with a few words from the book of Numbers. In the center of the rotunda are displayed scrolls containing extensive passages from the book of Isaiah (copies); written about 100 B.C., they show only slight variations from later manuscripts - evidence of the accuracy of the transmission of the Biblical text. Other texts are displayed round the walls of the rotunda. In cases on the lower floor are finds from Masada, material relating to the unsuccessful resistance by Jewish Zealots to the Roman besiegers in A.D. 73 found in excavations in 1964 and 1965 and the Bar Kochba letters found in the valley of the Nahal Hever in 1960 and 1961.
Bezalel Art Museum
In the long main building of the Bronfman-Bezalel complex are the Bronfman Biblical and Archeological Museum and the Bezalel Art Museum, which has an impressive collection of Jewish sacred art. Many of the exhibits come from the Diaspora and show the stylistic influence of the various host countries. Items of particular interest include the Ark of the Covenant from the old synagogue in Cairo and the gates of Cairo's Maimonides Synagogue (11th century), sculpture from the first synagogue in Tiberias (second-third century) and reconstructions of the Venetian synagogue at Vittorio Veneto (end of 17th century) and the synagogue of Horb (near Coburg in Germany). In the Ethnographic Wing are festival costumes from Morocco, Yemen, Bokhara and other regions of the Diaspora, brides' jewelry and a profusion of other material illustrating Jewish folk art and traditions. Another section is devoted to the work of famous artists of the 16th-19th centuries. Although in this field the museum cannot match other great museums of international standing it does possess important works by Flemish and Dutch masters. Also of interest are the Rothschild Room, a salon in Louis XV style acquired by Baron Edmond de Rothschild in 1887, the Italian Pavilion (18th century Venetian furniture) and an 18th century English dining room. The Israel Museum was enlarged in 1990 by the addition of a three-story pavilion, the Nathan Cummings Building, to house 20th century art. It contains the museum's collections of modern and contemporary painting, sculpture, photography, graphic art and drawings, with examples of work by such internationally known artists as Klee, Dali, Picasso and Chagall and by present-day Israeli artists (Agam, Arikha, Aroch, Dagan, Engelsberg, Kupferman, Mokady, Paldi, Rubin, Witkin, Zaritsky, etc.).
Samuel Bronfman Biblical and Archeological Museum (Closed Temporarily)
The Samuel Bronfman Biblical and Archeological Museum in Jerusalem covers a wide range, from the Palaeolithic period to the Middle Ages: house-shaped funerary urns from Azor; the mould for making figures of a Canaanite goddess, from Nahariya; a town gate from Hazor, capitals from Ramat Rahel and the Holy of Holies from a temple at Arad; a small stone tablet with the name of Pontius Pilate, from Caesarea; mosaic pavements from old synagogues, etc. The collection is constantly being enlarged by finds from current excavations. Among recent acquisitions are two silver tablets inscribed with a few words from the book of Numbers, found in an excavation in the Hinnom valley and dated to the sixth century B.C. They are thus some 400 years older than the Dead Sea scrolls. A new pavilion was specially built to house a find made in 1986 - a 1700 year old mosaic from a Roman villa at Zippori with the figure of a woman which the American excavator declared to be the finest female figure in the whole Roman world and to which he gave the name of Mona Lisa. The representation of the "Mona Lisa" is built up from small pieces of stone in sixteen shades of color, with, as a distinctive characteristic, a small piece of black stone amid the redness of her lips. The museum has a Youth Wing with a Children's Museum which puts on special displays on ancient history and modern art, as well as exhibitions of work by children.
Billy Rose Art Garden
On the slopes of the Neveh Sha'anan in Jerusalem is the Billy Rose Art Garden, in which a collection of sculpture donated by Billy Rose is displayed in a terraced garden laid out by the Japanese architect Isamo Noguchi. The collection, mostly of modern work, includes sculpture by Henry Moore, Victor Vasarely, Fritz Wotruba, Jacques Lipchitz, Aristide Maillol, Pablo Picasso, Jean Tinguely, Menashe Kadishman and Yehiel Shemi.
Along Ruppin Road in Jerusalem we come to the extensive Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University. To the right is the Administration Building, with a mosaic of the fifth-sixth century from the Jezreel plain in the entrance lobby. Nearby is the Wise Auditorium. In the center of the campus is the Jewish National and University Library, and to the south is the eye- catching white dome of the Synagogue (designed by a German-born architect, Rau) built in honor of Rabbi Israel Goldstein.
Mount Herzl and the Herzl Museum
Ruppin Road in Jerusalem runs into Herzl Boulevard (Sderot Herzl), which leads to a military cemetery with the remains of Israeli soldiers killed since 1948 and to Mount Herzl, which commemorates the founder of Zionism. The remains of Theodor Herzl, who died in Austria in 1904, were brought to Israel in 1949, a year after the foundation of the independent Jewish state for which he had called, and buried in a free-standing sarcophagus on Mount Herzl. Here too, near the main entrance, is a reconstruction of Herzl's study and library. The large park also contains the graves of Herzl's parents and several leading Zionists. On the road to the military cemetery are the graves of two prime ministers of Israel, Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir.In the park on Mt. Herzl is the Herzl museum, with personal belongings and his study room with original furniture.
Yad Vashem is a Holocaust Memorial on the Hill of Remembrance. The names of the victims are listed, and an eternal flame burns in their memory. There is also a Children's Memorial, and many other moving tributes.
Said to be the birthplace of John the Baptist, the village of En Karem is the home of the Franciscan friary of St John.
Hadassah Medical Center
From En Karem in Jerusalem we take the road which runs northwest to Eitanim and in 2km/1.25mi turn left into a road leading to the Hadassah Medical Center (clinics of the Hebrew University), opened in 1962. Within the complex is a synagogue with twelve stained-glass windows (the tribes of Israel) by Marc Chagall.
St John in the Wilderness
The little Franciscan monastery of St John in the Wilderness, recalling John the Baptist's early days in the desert (Luke 1,80).
On a hill to the south of St John in the Wilderness in Jerusalem can be seen the Kennedy Memorial, the building of which was financed by contributions from American citizens. It can be reached by taking the road which runs southeast from Hadassah and turning right into a road to the village of Ora; the monument is 3km/2mi beyond the village.
The Model of Ancient Jerusalem is a large scale, 1:50 recreation of ancient Jerusalem based on archeological evidence. It is made of original materials such as stone, marble, and metal, to withstand weathering.