(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Kiryat Hayovel is one of the first neighborhoods built in Jerusalem after the
War of Independence. Work on the area started in 1952 and was completed by early
1955. The first residents started moving into the neighborhood in
Kiryat Hayovel is located in southwestern Jerusalem. When it was
first built, the area was considered outside Jerusalem. At present, Kiryat
Hayovel is not in the center, but it is very much an organic part of the
Since then, the city has expanded tremendously.
there were approximately 100,000 people living in the Israeli part of Jerusalem,
and around 38,000 in the Jordanian part of the city.
Now there are more
than 800,000, and the addition of these large numbers needed more
One of the distinctive features of the Kiryat Hayovel is “The
Monster,” a playground sculpture in Rabinovich Park. Designed by French sculptor
Niki de Saint-Phalle, the creature looks like a dragon and has three long red
tongues that serve as slides for the children playing in the park.
terms of real estate, the neighborhood has a distinction of its own. Up to the
time that Kiryat Hayovel was built, a British Mandate ordinance was in force
requiring that all Jerusalem buildings be made of stone. In the case of Kiryat
Hayovel, the ordinance was suspended.
There was an urgent need to
construct housing, and building in stone was more expensive, and the building
process took longer. Consequently, functional architecture was the rule with
flat roofs, stucco facades and no ornamentation.
After the construction
of Kiryat Hayovel, the stone ordinance was waived in Jerusalem. Now buildings in
Jerusalem are no longer built of stone, but the municipality encourages covering
the facades with Jerusalem stone.
In the early 1950s there was a dire
need to build housing quickly. In the wake of the 1948 war the country, which
then had a population of 650,000, was flooded with more than a million new
The population more than doubled, and there was nowhere to
put the newcomers.
Tent cities went up all over the country, and one of
these was located in Beit Mazmil, which was what the area of Kiryat Hayovel was
called at that time. To the mandarins of the Construction and Housing Ministry,
it seemed logical to build small basic residential units to house the residents
of the tent cities, who were living in miserable conditions.
That was the
beginnings of Kiryat Hayovel, which means “Jubilee Town.” It was so named
because 1952 was the 50th anniversary of the Jewish National Fund, which was set
up by Theodor Herzl in London in 1902 to finance Jewish settlement in
The area quickly became something of a slum.
inhabited by immigrants from Arab countries who arrived with not much more than
the clothes on their backs. Those who could find good jobs quickly left Kiryat
Hayovel, and those that remained were, in a sense, at the bottom of the
But by the 1960s, things had started to change. New apartments
were built for young couples, which were larger and of a better
And the trend increased even more after the Six Day
Jerusalem was developing fast, and the adjacent neighbors of Kiryat
Hayovel, whose residents were generally of a higher socioeconomic level, started
to encroach on the area.
Young couples bought the small, 40-square meter
apartments. The ground floor apartments were much in demand. They could be
converted into attractive garden apartments. Later, entire buildings were
rebuilt, and some of the facades were clad in stone.
Hayovel has a population of 25,000 and is a small city in itself. It has shed
its proletarian origins, and the slummish aspects of the late 1950s and early
1960s have completely evaporated.
In the 1980s and ’90s, it was very
popular with the medical staff of the Hadassah University Medical Center staff
and others. Consequently, some private homes – both single-family homes and
semidetached dwellings – were built mainly in the vicinity of Shmaryahu Levin
Now Kiryat Hayovel is slowly changing its demographic character.
The area was always secular in character, but now the areas bordering the
religious neighborhood of Bayit Vegan are slowly being penetrated by haredi
The real-estate scene in Kiryat Hayovel is influenced in part
by this trend. Emma Bulin, a real-estate agent with Anglo-Saxon Jerusalem who
knows the area well, told In Jerusalem, “Demand for real estate is picking up.
Reasonably priced properties are sold within a few months. There are still old
properties built in the early 1950s that have not been enlarged, and these are
snapped up quickly, especially if they are on the ground floor with an adjacent
piece of land. Much in demand are properties in buildings with only four
In that case, the ground-floor apartments can be converted into spacious garden apartments and the topfloor apartments
As Jerusalem prices go, real-estate prices in Kiryat
Hayovel are not that expensive. A small older apartment costs NIS 800,000 on
average, and NIS 900,000-plus if it is on the ground floor.
apartment can cost NIS 1.05m. on average, and a four-room apartment built in the
1990s can cost up to NIS 1.25m.