Taly's Tours: An authentic Jerusalem-of-old experience

The setting was so beautiful and the food so appealing that pedestrians stopped to look, thinking this was a coffee shop.

THE TEMPLER INN in the German Colony of Jerusalem. (photo credit: TALY SHARON)
THE TEMPLER INN in the German Colony of Jerusalem.
(photo credit: TALY SHARON)
The Templer Inn is a small, family-run bed & breakfast that was recently opened in an 1890s Templer mansion in the German Colony of Jerusalem. The house was renovated and restored to 21st-century standards while preserving the distinctive original style.
The Templer Inn is a two-story family house divided into four authentic luxury suites – two on the upper floor, which are accessed from the original lobby, and two on the lower floor, which are accessed directly from the garden.
Each suite features separate bedrooms and living rooms, with fully equipped kitchenettes including refrigerator, microwave, hot-plate and espresso machine. Satellite TV and WiFi are standard. The en-suite bathrooms offer abundant towels, bathrobes, slippers and quality bath gels and shampoos for each guest. The living room sofas can be made up as beds for children.
The house was built at around the end of the 19th century (the exact date is unknown) by the Templer shoemaker Christian Jakob Messerle.
The Templers were a German-Protestant sect whose members founded several colonies in the Holy Land at about that time, one of them in Jerusalem. The members lived and worked there, and made a significant contribution to the construction of the city.
During the world wars, members were arrested as “enemy aliens”; most were deported, leaving the colony empty. The properties were confiscated by the British Mandatory authorities, and ownership was later transferred to the State of Israel (which eventually compensated Germany for them). The houses were rented out and later sold to the residents.
This is where history meets Alon Beham Eran’s family, with the house being bought by Alon’s grandmother, Aliza.
Aliza had one child, Yuval, a reserve paratrooper who was killed in Jerusalem’s Old City during the 1967 Six Day War, leaving behind a wife and one-year-old son, Alon, who spent his summers and weekends in the house. When Aliza died, Alon decided to restore the house and bring it back to its former glory, the way he remembered it as a child, while upgrading its facilities to modern standards.
It took two years to restore the house, which was an architectural challenge. Alon made sure the floor tiles were left untouched. The original doors and windows were preserved and restored, and each and every piece of furniture was refurbished.
If you sit in the Templer Inn, it is likely that you are sitting on one of the 50-year-old chairs, and that the lamp giving you light is the original. Even Aliza’s books are here. It is a truly unique experience. The sign on the door says “Beham.”
The most authentic suites are those on the lower level, with arched ceilings, thick walls and tiles. One was built from scratch, having been the cistern of the house during its Templer days.
Staying at the inn includes breakfast, which is served in the groomed garden when weather permits. We sat there drinking our coffee, surrounded by flowers and an old olive tree. The setting was so beautiful and the food so appealing that pedestrians stopped to look, thinking this was a coffee shop.
Breakfast is prepared by Alon’s wife, who is a chef.
Ours included fresh, home-made challah, cheeses, Israeli salad, homemade vegetable tapas, eggs made to order and sweet pastry. The menu changes according to the season and the guests’ preferences. Gluten free and allergy-safe foods can be served as needed. Everything was fresh and delicious. We enjoyed every bite, and our children were also happy with what they ate.
The house can also host private events of up to 70 people in the pleasant garden.
The German Colony is a lovely place for an interesting walk. You can stroll and look at the old houses; most are also two-story stone structures. It is worth visiting the Khan Theatre, the Nature Museum and the old Templer cemetery, which is surrounded by a high stone wall; if the cemetery isn’t open, you can peek through a window in the door and see the tombstones and crosses.
Across the street from the Templer Inn is the First Station and its restaurants; the site is also one of the main entry points to the Train Track Park, a popular route for joggers and cyclists (different types of bikes, including family bikes, are available for rent at the First Station).
The Old City is within walking distance, and there is a free shuttle from the First Train Station to the Western Wall.
There is free on-street parking in front of the house on a first-come, first-served basis.
The nightly price is between NIS 800-1,200, including breakfast. It’s not cheap, but it’s fair for a stay that provides an authentic Jerusalem-of-old experience in a fully equipped suite.
The writer was a guest of the Templer Inn.
The Templer Inn, 16 Derech Beit Lechem, Jerusalem Website: http://www.templerinn.com/ Facebook: The Templer Inn email: [email protected] Phone: +972-2-5631956; Mobile: +972-54-7442881