Photo: Gad Yaron

A Glorious Springtime in Jerusalem

Writen by: רוז גינוסר
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19/04/2020
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Song of Songs 2:11-12: “ For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land”

Israelis have a love affair with nature. Every spring the parks and nature trails of the country are filled with families searching for a glimpse of a rare bird or a field of wild poppies . And some of the most beautiful wildflowers, animals and birds in the country can be seen in Jerusalem’s nature reserves and in the hills surrounding the city.

Wildflowers with Jerusalem in the background. Photo: courtesy of Zvi Ginosar

Wildflowers with Jerusalem in the background. Photo: courtesy of Zvi Ginosar

This year, we were lucky enough to enjoy a winter of plentiful rain in Jerusalem and the resulting riot of flowers and colors and wildlife is astonishing. Obviously, these days it’s a bit difficult for many of us to leave the house and wander through nature. Because these beautiful flowers and wildlife will not be around for long, we are bringing some of Jerusalem’s wild beauty to you to enjoy right here, right now. Perhaps these photos will bring spring to your homes as well.

Sunbird. Photo: courtesy of Gad Yaron

Sunbird. Photo: courtesy of Gad Yaron

Red Anemones. Photo: courtesy of Zvi Ginosar

Red Anemones. Photo: courtesy of Zvi Ginosar

Photo: courtesy of Gad Yaron

Photo: courtesy of Gad Yaron

We often think of Jerusalem as a city of stone and streets, of synagogues and churches and mosques, of monuments and shrines. But Jerusalem is also a city of parks and walking trails and nature reserves and is a leader in sustainable environmental practices. One of the most delightful spots in Jerusalem is Gazelle Valley Park.

“My beloved is like a gazelle” – Song of Songs. Photo: courtesy of Gad Yaron

“My beloved is like a gazelle” – Song of Songs. Photo: courtesy of Gad Yaron

Photo: courtesy of Zvi Ginosar

Photo: courtesy of Zvi Ginosar

Just a few years ago, this whole area was slated for urban development, destroying the natural home of not only the biblical gazelles, celebrated in the Song of Songs, but of many indigenous animals, birds and flora. But, the people of Jerusalem took action and prevented bulldozers and developers from destroying the area. Today, right in the urban heart of the city, between the Menachem Begin Expressway, the Knesset, the Rechavia neighborhood and beneath the looming towers of the Holy Land complex lies a wild nature reserve that is home not just to gazelles, but to exotic birds and flowers as well. Much of this wildlife is unique to Jerusalem and open to all residents and visitors to the city to enjoy.

Photo: courtesy of Gad Yaron

Photo: courtesy of Gad Yaron

Pink Cyclamen. Photo: courtesy of Zvi Ginosar

Pink Cyclamen. Photo: courtesy of Zvi Ginosar

Nature reserves and parks also surround the outskirts of the city. Once again, it was the people of Jerusalem who fought to preserve the green areas that surround the city.  Local civic groups and environmental organizations fought to change the master plan for Jerusalem to ensure that the biblical hills would remain forever green.  They succeeded and today, from the Arazim Valley in the north to the Refaim Valley in the south, the hills of Jerusalem are awash in anemones and cyclamen, irises and orchids. The wild beauty of the ancient hills mingle with heritage preservation and the development of modern and ecologically green recreation sites. Take a stroll through the walks and trails in the valleys and hills and, if you are quick of eye, you may just see a leash of foxes or hear a jackal baying in the distance.  And perhaps, even catch site of a gazelle.

Sunbirds. Photo: courtesy of Gad Yaron

Sunbirds. Photo: courtesy of Gad Yaron

“The Little Foxes”. Photo: courtesy of Gad Yaron

“The Little Foxes”. Photo: courtesy of Gad Yaron

Photos: courtesy of Zvi Ginosar

Photos: courtesy of Zvi Ginosar

We invite you to enjoy these moments of spring blossoming in Jerusalem, and we send our best hopes that you will join us in walking through Jerusalem’s green hills this time next year.

Photo: courtesy of Gad Yaron

Photo: courtesy of Gad Yaron

Photo: courtesy of Gad Yaron

Photo: courtesy of Gad Yaron

Photo: courtesy of Zvi Ginosar

Photo: courtesy of Zvi Ginosar

Photo: courtesy of Zvi Ginosar

Photo: courtesy of Zvi Ginosar

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