Israel the Beautiful: City of light

There are some places, which are highly photogenic and seem never to look bad no matter when they are photographed. The Old City of Jerusalem is one such place.

June 10, 2011 15:37
1 minute read.
Jerusalem Old City Jaffa Gate

Jerusalem Old City Jaffa Gate 311. (photo credit: Yehoshua Halevi)


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There are some places, which, like people, are highly photogenic and seem never to look bad no matter when they are photographed. The Old City of Jerusalem is one such place, but even after years of studying its moods and personality, it’s a challenge to find a new angle on its unique beauty. This photo was taken at the first annual Jerusalem Festival of Light, which this year will take place from June 15 to 22. Several world renowned light sculptors and designers will again travel to the city to meld their artistic vision with the city’s ancient gates, walls, and plazas.

This shot, taken below Jaffa Gate, features a solar-powered installation called Garden of Night designed by Israeli artists Gaston Tzahar and Meirav Eitan of the O*GE Interactive Gallery in Haifa. Giant lotus flowers open and close while tulips and balls of dew sparkle and all the lights change color every few seconds. But the lights in the flowers were not the only ones changing. The event began at 8 p.m. and I knew from experience that the walls would look more impressive lit against the last blue light of day instead of the black of night. Because the electric lights were changing color so rapidly, I fired off several shots over about a half a minute and accumulated a selection of differently colored flowers. While several were appealing, I chose this one because I like the contrast in color between the flowers and the blue sky and the walls. The event drew large crowds to the Old City, so getting there early also gave me an opportunity to shoot without any human obstruction.

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Yehoshua Halevi is an award-winning photojournalist and event photographer. For queries on simha photography in Israel and Europe, send an e-mail to
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