110 J’lem structures open to public in festival

"Houses from Within' Festival focuses on Jerusalem’s past as well as its future.

The Ecole Biblique and Dominican Priory in e. J'lem 370 (photo credit: Houses from Within)
The Ecole Biblique and Dominican Priory in e. J'lem 370
(photo credit: Houses from Within)
A city as ancient as Jerusalem keeps quite a few secrets hidden away in dark alleys and small nooks. But for one weekend, the city will fling open her doors and invite the public into some of the lesser-trod historical and artistic buildings during the annual “Houses from Within” Festival.
Visitors can wander through modern marvels such as a hard-hat tour of the construction sites and a train tunnel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Or they can explore the 500-yearold private home of former rabbi of the Western Wall Meir Yehuda Getz in the Jewish Quarter, in a tour given by his son Nuriel.
The event focuses on Jerusalem’s past as well as its future.
Architects, archeologists and other experts will give multiple tours at the abandoned Arab village of Lifta at the entrance to the capital or share secrets uncovered about the Old City Walls during the Israel Antiquities Authority’s five-year restoration of the walls.
But there are also ample opportunities for those interested in envisioning Jerusalem’s future, including a evening of short presentations by Jerusalem activists at the Museum on the Seam; and a tour of the commercial center outside of Damascus Gate by architects who want to completely renovate the area.
Cultural institutions, from the Jerusalem Bird Observatory to the Bible Lands Museum, will also host special tours and lectures.
In keeping with the philosophy of the Open House World Wide movement, all events are free and open to the public, though many require prior registration.
There are 15 cities around the world with Open House weekends, including Tel Aviv, Helsinki, New York, Melbourne, Barcelona, Chicago and Rome. The main aim of Open House is an educational and cultural event that celebrates architecture, according to the organization’s website.
Jerusalem’s event, which runs from Thursday through Saturday, features 110 tours and events, including a bike tour organized by Cycle Jerusalem.
Larger cities get even more expansive, with London hosting 750 separate tours and events during their weekend, which was October 5-7.
The sixth annual Houses from Within event is organized by the Jerusalem Municipality, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Tourism Ministry.