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Post News

King David Street and its monuments

06-11-2016 | Yael Regev
King David Street and its monuments

One of the main streets in Jerusalem started off as a dirt track to the closest city of Bethlehem.
It received several names like Bethlehem road or Julian the Emperor road until the King David
Hotel was built and gave the street its official name during the birth of the state of Israel.
Today the street hosts four big hotels: the Waldorf Astoria, the David Citadel,
the YMCA and of course the King David Hotel. Today many Judaica galleries and modern art galleries
are established along this street. The area is considered to be one of the most expensive areas in the city.
Take a short walk from any spot in the city to another, explore the lobbies of the five star hotels of the city
or even climb the YMCA bell tower to see a stunning view of the city.
This street is a small piece in the modern history of Jerusalem.

King David Hotel

img_20161106_122107King David is a historically important five star hotel of the city.
It was built by the Muzzeri family, a Jewish Egyptian family,
to compete with the hotels of the Muslims in the city.
One of the wings of the building served the British officers
as there headquarters during the thirties and the forties.
On July 22 1946, the Southwestern corner of the hotel was
bombed during an attack led by the Zionist paramilitary group
Irgun. 91 people died and 45 people were injured.
An earlier attempt by the Irgun to attack the hotel was
foiled when the Haganah learned of it and warned the
British authorities. Today, the King David Hotel is part of the
Dan Hotel Chain, and a member of The Leading Hotels of the
World and continues to accommodate foreign heads of state
and diplomats visiting Israel. Amongst the hotel’s more famous
guests are King George V; Jordan’s King Hussein; U.S. Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford,
Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama; British Prime Ministers Winston Churchill,
Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, and Tony Blair; the Prince of Wales; Elizabeth Taylor;
Richard Dreyfus; Richard Gere; Madonna; and Metallica.

Pontifical Biblical Institute

The Pontifical Biblical Institute (P.B.I.) is a university-level institution of the Holy See.
It was established by Pope Pius X with the Apostolic Letter Vinea Electa of May 7, 1909, in order to be
“a center of higher studies for Sacred Scripture in the city of Rome and of all related studies according
to the spirit of the Catholic Church”. In 1927 the Jerusalem branch was opened by Father Alex Mallon.
Today the institute is run by the Jesuits. Students from all over the world come here to take biblical courses.
The three floor house was built in a Neo-Renaissance style. It contains a small museum as well as a library.
In the museum the most famous item is called Alex the Mummy.
This is the only Mummy in Israel and was donated by the Jesuits in Alexandria.
The library contains history and theology literature. It also contains a reserved books section with old Bibles
as well as surveys from the beginning of the archeological research in Jerusalem.
The institute is usually open in the mornings for visitors.

YMCA

img_20161106_120633It’s fun to stay at the YMCA…. Everybody knows the song.
So now you have the possibility to visit the YMCA or the
Young Men’s Christian Association.
The main purpose of the association is to bring Christians,
Jews and Muslims closer together. The structure was built
from the late twenties until the beginning of the thirties
and is considered to be the most beautiful building of the
Association throughout the world. Arthur Loomis Harmon,
who designed the Empire State Building in New York,
was the chief architect pf this project. He worked together
with local artist from Bezalel, the first art school of Jerusalem.
The decorations combine symbols from the three monotheistic
religions: angels and seraphim, the seven species of the
Promised Land, prophets, messengers and apostles.
Today the complex includes sport facilities, a concert hall and of course a hotel with café and a restaurant.
Don’t miss one of the best views of the city from the bell tower of the building.

Mahane Israel neighborhood

img_20161106_121849Mahane Israel is the second Jewish neighborhood built
outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem
(after Mishkenot Shaananim), and the first built by residents
of the Old City on their own behalf, as part of the process to
“leave the old city and its walls” in the middle of the 19th century.
Mahane Israel is a “communal neighborhood” and was built
by and for Maghreb (Western North Africa) Jews and not by
one donator like the first neighborhood.
The original buildings of the area are hidden behind the
Waldorf Astoria hotel and residence, and the American consulate.
In the middle of the neighborhood hides a small typical
Andalusian garden that belongs to The Worldwide North Africa
Jewish Heritage Center.
The center contains a library, museum and an active synagogue.
It shows the different traditions of the Jews and Jewish communities who came to Israel from the
Northern African states. The center is open to visitors Sun- Thu, 8:00am – 15:00pm.

Waldorf Astoria – The historical Palace hotel

wa-hotelThe hotel is an excellent example of a good restoration.
Originally it was called the Palace hotel and only in 2014 was
it reopened as the representative of the Waldorf Astoria chain
in Jerusalem.
The Palace Hotel was built during the twenties in a Western
style using some architectonic elements from the Mameluke
architecture (mainly geometrical relief).
The Supreme Muslim Council decided that a luxurious hotel
would promote their interests in the city among the British.
The Council, in extraordinary decision, ordered to use some of
the lands of the cemetery, which is considered to be sacred land.
Jews who were experts in structural engineering were involved
in this project.
The building was used as a hotel until 1936 and due to
the competition with the King David hotel, was transformed into the headquarters of the Muslim Council.
After 1948 some of the government offices used the building. The hotel appeared in some local books
and movies. The most well-known one is “Someone to run with” by David Grossman.

Feel free to enter each and every one of these hotels and visit the lobby or have an expensive cup of coffee.

 

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