The Jerusalem Municipality approved the acquisition and operation of an “Earth observation balloon,” that would provide up to 30 people of all ages with 360-degree views of the capital 150 meters in the air.

Operation of the balloon – powered by helium gas, which is environmentally friendly and not explosive or flammable – will comply with the strictest international standards, according to the municipality.

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Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat noted Sunday that such attractions are held in numerous cities across the world, adding that all people, including children, will be invited to ride in the family-friendly balloon, to be set up next to Railroad Park.

“When the balloon is in the air it will be possible to see the beauty of Jerusalem not only from below, but also from above,” said Barkat in a statement.

Jeremy Marks, who initiated the project, said he has high hopes for the balloon, scheduled to go up every 15 minutes.

“Visitors will be able to fulfill a 2,000-year-old dream and see Jerusalem’s spectacular landscape with a heavenly bird’s eye view,” he said.

In addition to a site being constructed to operate the balloon, the municipality approved an expansion plan for the surrounding area to encourage cultural activities, commerce and recreation.

Two buildings situated along the rail park once used for railway kiosks and commercial activity will be transformed into a visitor’s center, and a historic locomotive shed will be restored, the municipality said.
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