A medieval celebration

Jerusalem’s City of Lions festival brings pride of place to the Old City and an added Venetian element.

City of Lions festival 311 (photo credit: Muky Schwartz)
City of Lions festival 311
(photo credit: Muky Schwartz)
The City of Lions festival is an annual celebration of medieval culture in Jerusalem’s Old City, and this year it’s getting an international twist through a partnership with the Carnival of Venice. A large group of Venetian artists will appear alongside their Israeli counterparts in a wide variety of shows, medieval dances, jousts and work with masks.
Massimo Andreoli, one of the leading artistic directors of the Carnival of Venice, is coming to Israel for the first time to take part in the artistic direction of the City of Lions festival. He has served as a director and historical consultant on many similar festivals throughout Europe and is the president of the Consortium of European Reenactment Societies (CERS).
This festival is part of a concerted effort by the City of Jerusalem and the Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA) to provide a greater number of more diverse cultural events throughout the city, particularly in the Old City, especially in the evenings.
Says Moti Hazan, director of the JDA, “City of Lions is an exceptional, colorful historical celebration, which serves as the opening for this autumn’s evening events in Jerusalem and the Old City. This year, we chose to put an international emphasis on the festival and to bring elements of magical Venice to Israel and the festival. The Old City has, in the last while, become full of life in the evening and night hours and has become an attractive venue for visitors from Israel and abroad.”
Elad Kendel, director of the Old City Basin at the JDA, sees the festival as an exciting part of a larger plan.
“City of Lions gives visitors cultural and historical value beyond the entertainment value that’s visible to the eye. It is part of the strategy of the JDA, the government of Israel and the City of Jerusalem to develop exciting cultural events and to enrich the range of evening events for visitors in the Old City,” he says. “Our goal is to enrich the night life, the culture and the entertainment throughout the Old City so that its millions of tourists and visitors can enjoy diverse, quality events both day and night.”
The brave-hearted knights, beautiful princesses, jesters, wizards and troubadours of the festival will take their places in the Old City on Thursday evenings on November 3-24, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Activities will take place throughout the Old City, with the route beginning and ending at Jaffa Gate.