Ma’aleh Adumim – an emerging travel and entertainment destination

The proximity to tourist attractions and natural sites in the area and the Dead Sea completes the experience and allows one to spend a full vacation there.

 THE DCITY PIAZZA (photo credit: TALY SHARON)
THE DCITY PIAZZA
(photo credit: TALY SHARON)

For most of us, Ma’aleh Adumim is yet another town on the way from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. But since the design mall DCity and the Magic Kass amusement park were opened there, Ma’aleh Adumim has become a tourist destination in itself with a hotel, museum, park and plenty of restaurants.

The proximity to tourist attractions and natural sites in the area and the Dead Sea completes the experience and allows one to spend a full vacation there. 

DCITY

The DCity mall was opened about a year ago near the industrial area and spans more than 180,000 sq.m. of a styled boulevard of streets and shops. It is a huge mall inspired by the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas. It contains a hotel, shops, restaurants, cafes, entertainment and leisure facilities. Parking is covered and free.

Walking the streets of DCity is like going abroad thanks to the special concept of the place, similar to major design centers in Europe and the US. The complex includes more than 200 brand stores for furniture and home design, among them huge showrooms of flagship branches. Even when not planning any shopping, the mall has a variety of eye-catching galleries.

DCity has three lovely squares – Rome, San Marco and the Piazza food court. The Piazza is air-conditioned and is covered with the largest sky ceiling in the Middle East, Venetian-style buildings with balconies and a large clock that chimes every hour. In the center of the Piazza is a small Venetian “canal,” where toy gondolas sail and a variety of restaurants are located around.

DINING

The Piazza has restaurants and cafes, including leading ones such as Meatos, Basher Fromagerie, Shipudei Tzipora and Luciana. We had lunch and breakfast at Luciana, a dairy kosher le’mehadrin Italian restaurant.

The menu includes salads, Italian starters, focaccia, pizza, fish, risotto and different types of pasta. All the dishes were made with fresh and quality ingredients. We picked cakes from the large variety on display and drank very good espressos and cappuccinos. On Fridays, Luciana offers an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet. 

Luciana DCity, instagram: @luciana_dcity, 02-534-3211, Events: 058-637-0407 – Nitzan.

DHOTEL

DHotel is a modern boutique hotel situated on the third floor of DCity above the Piazza. It has 47 rooms in three styles designed by architect Daniel Hasson: modern rooms with a clean contemporary style, classic rooms in a soft luxurious style and urban rooms that have a New York eclectic style.

All the hotel rooms are furnished with luxury brands and include a private bathroom and access to a spacious terrace with an outdoor seating area, some with a view of the Piazza.

The beautiful modern lobby offers self-service complimentary espressos or cappuccinos and meals that are available at the DCity Piazza, accessed directly from the lobby using the hotel’s elevator. During weekdays, breakfast is served à la carte at Luciana and there is an arrangement for dinner at Shipudei Tzipora, including a refilled tabletop buffet of 18 salads, a starter, a main course and a soft drink.

DHOTEL, Derech Yamit 15, DCity center, 02-677-4040

MAGIC KASS

For those looking for action and wild entertainment, or those with children, Magic Kass is the place for you. The largest indoor amusement park in Israel is spread over 13,000 sq.m. and offers advanced amusement and extreme facilities, some of which are the only ones of their kind in the country. In the park, there is also an arcade and a gymboree.

As soon as we entered the complex, we looked in amazement at the Looper, the Discovery and the Sky Tower, which rotate, rise and fall to the rhythm of the screams of the brave who took the ride.

When the Discovery is at its peak, it stops for a short pause between heaven and earth where the riders are hung on it with their heads down. In terms of the extreme level, the facilities here are at the highest level.

And despite the first impression of a small place, the complex extends over three floors. On the second and third floors there is a selection of facilities for smaller children, so spending time in the park is suitable for almost the entire family.

On the top floor, there is a selection of fast-food restaurants of all kinds. The food court’s design draws from the parks abroad and has jungle corners, an Alice in Wonderland area and more. On the roof, there’s a 20-meter roller coaster facility and a performance stage.

At the entrance, you get wristbands with a QR code, which you can load with credits for use in simulators, arcades and restaurants. This makes it easy to walk around the complex without a wallet and provides independence to children who can freely enjoy themselves. 

Magic Kass, 6 Dikla, https://magic-kass.co.il/en, 02-544-1919

MOSHE CASTEL MUSEUM

For those of us like me who are interested in culture, the Moshe Castel Museum is just a few kilometers from DCity. It is a small and well-designed museum overlooking a spectacular view of Jerusalem. The building looks like a synagogue, probably due to the inspiration Castel received from Judaism.

The museum integrates his works, including magnificent renderings of carpets, and changing exhibitions. The museum was established using the funds of the artist, who died before the construction of the museum was completed, and today it belongs to the municipality’s company.

Castel was one of the most prominent Israeli artists. Already at age of 12 he was accepted into Bezalel, and at 16 he continued to Paris to study at the Académie Julian, affiliated with the Louvre and was greatly influenced by Picasso, Joan Miró, Chagall and Modigliani from the Parisian art movement.

Following the Second World War, Castel returned to Israel and opened a studio in the basement of artist Joseph Zaritzky’s house, where he taught Israeli artists to paint in oil colors, and in 1948, together with a group of artists, he founded “New Horizons,” a movement in art whose influence is continuing to this day.

Castel’s works are strongly influenced by Judaism. As the son of Rabbi Yehuda Castel, who was also a scribe, embroiderer of synagogue arks’ parochet (curtain), cantor, composer of liturgical poems and a kabbalist, Castel was influenced by calligraphy, the Bible and Kabbalah.

By combining these motifs, with new techniques and materials that he explored and introduced in art, he created three-dimensional basalt rock paintings in an innovative language and artistic style that he developed. Many of his artworks combine the Canaanite past, the ancient Sumerian and ancient Hebrew scripts, and the stones of the Western Wall.

Museum of Art Moshe Castel, eng.castelmuseum.co.il, [email protected], 02-535-7000, 050-580-9596 – Eli, 

FRESH AIR ACTIVITIES

For those looking to spend time in the fresh air, Ma’aleh Adumim Lake Park is not far from the museum. While a small park, there is a playground and some restaurants and cafes and it is quite romantic during sunset.

Further, the area is rich in viewpoints, hiking trails, natural springs and monasteries. Local tour operators offer Jeep, buggies and EZ-Raider trips. Tour coordination and suggestions via touradumim.com.

The writer was a guest of the local businesses mentioned in the article.