Author Archives: Ricky Rachman

There is a Special Charm on Our Streets

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A few days ago we moved the clock back one hour. Now, regardless of whether it is cold or hot outside and regardless of whether ice cream or hot corn is being sold on the street, at 17:00 it is already dark. It is clear that winter has officially arrived. For many people, the very word “winter” stimulates an urge to curl up in bed under the covers with hot chocolate or soup (with croutons, of course). Yet, not for us! For us here in Jerusalem winter is the “hot” season, for bustling nights of light, music, beer, and crisp air. Sounds strange to you? Come visit and you’ll understand it all. The center of Jerusalem is intersected by a central street, Jaffa Street, which is more than just a street and more than just one of the central traffic intersections in the city. Over the years, Jaffa Street has become a main place of recreation for Jerusalemites and visitors from all over Israel and all over the world. The street combines interesting architecture and ancient structures, between which the light rail passes. As it travels along Jaffa Street, the light rail also passes a wide variety of stores. It …

I Saw a City

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Jerusalem and the Tower of David at Night as You’ve Never Seen Them The month of Elul is already here and each year it brings with it the selichot songs. There is no better place to experience, feel, and connect to the unique atmosphere of the month of Elul than the city’s citadel, which is located between the old city and the new city and which includes all of the special, moving, and crazy moments that only a city like Jerusalem could create. While the month of Elul is a month of selichot, it also symbolizes new beginnings, a new year, and Jerusalem air that one can’t help but become addicted to. Here at the museum, there is everything one needs in order to bring together the cool mountain air and breathtaking photographs. At the museum, towers, observation posts, terraces, and roofs all overlook the city from a height of tens of meters. The museum also has the the tallest observation post in the Old City, with a height of 777 meters! We are accustomed to receiving requests to take photos in the Citadel, for marriage proposals, wedding day photos, historical movies, and more. Yet, when Itai Monnickendam contacted us …

Inception VR ‘Tower of David’ Launch

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Inception Invites Users to Step Into The Past with ‘Tower of David’ VR Experience ‘Tower of David’ interactive VR experience is available from today on the Inception app across VR platforms Tel Aviv, Israel – October 25, 2017 – Inception, the next-generation immersive content network, recently funded by Bertelsmann’s RTL Group, today announced the release of ‘Tower of David’, a VR experience created together with the Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem. Viewers will be transported from the present as they explore the medieval fortress with one of its previous residents. Join the Crusader knight tour guide as he brings you to locations around the Citadel, explains the history of surrounding landmarks using 3D models, and weaves his personal story into the narrative. The interactivity built into the experience allows users to explore Launched in October of 2016, Inception has emerged as a leading provider of 360 and VR content.  The company works with reality owners, independent filmmakers, and brands to create and distribute entertainment media across genres including music, art, and culture. ‘Tower of David’ experience showcases some of Inception’s signature styles, merging footage shot on-site at the citadel with CGI and animation to bring the medieval site to life, …

Ladies and Gentlemen, History Returns!

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Just about everyone who ruled Jerusalem throughout history came here – to the Tower of David. It’s a matter of routine for us to be surrounded by archaeological remains dating to the times of the Hasmoneans, Romans, Crusaders, Mamelukes, Ottomans, etc. Although we love technology and innovation, the charm of the “non-technological” past is found in every corner, stone, and wall of the citadel. One can say that we live within history. Maybe this is one of the reasons why we were so excited when we met the “Kingdom of Jerusalem” club. If the words “club” and “Kingdom of Jerusalem” cause you to remember your thick high school history books with terror orto yawn in boredom – stop! You are invited to join us and become acquainted with one of the most interesting clubs we have ever encountered. Like any club, the Kingdom of Jerusalem Club has acceptance criteria: Are you crazy for adventure? Do you breathe challenging sports? Do you like to take off with your imagination? Are you open to new experiences? Are you actors from birth? Do field conditions excite you? Congratulations, you’ve been accepted! First, though, let’s understand what is really happening and how it all …

A Special Week With Special People

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This week we celebrated a special week with special people with programming prepared exclusively for adults and children with special needs who came with the whole family.  The museum staff was prepared for any scenario and ready to extend help as necessary and the entire citadel was set aside for these families. This is not the first time that we planned challenging activities, prepared unique attractions and polished up the citadel for special people. How Did It All Start?   In 2016, we started hosting the “Meet at the Tower” activity for families. As demand increased we understood that there is a need to expand the target audience. This summer, we decided to take the “Meet at the Tower” activity a step forward and alongside the family activities, we initiated a special day for the adult special needs community. In order to create a unique experience, we invited some members of the community to take an active part in carrying out the program. We contacted the SHEKEL organization (Community Services for People with Special Needs), which happily adopted the innovative project and we got on our way. The first step in the career of any self-respecting guide is of course a …

The Secrets of Armenian Ceramics

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What is so special about Jerusalem? Almost every Jerusalemite you ask will say that it is the people of Jerusalem who make the city so special. Every trip, tour or even just walk  along the street are opportunities for encounters with fascinating characters – people who have traveled long to reach the city, people who have always been here – and especially people who are an integral part of the history of the city. We believe that good neighbors have no secrets – so we crossed the road, this time towards east, and we went to learn about the Armenian ceramics that adorn almost every street and corner in the Old City. If you have visited the Old City (and you surely have), you have certainly noticed the colorful shops in the various markets in all four quarters, where ceramics are sold in a variety of sizes and shapes, and are adorned with cheerful artistic decorations. Please meet – Armenian ceramics. Within the Armenian Quarter, the smallest and oldest of the four quarters of the Old City, there is a traditional workshop with a magnificent history. We entered the old building and met George Sandroni, the manager of the workshop. …

Coffee Beans, Cardamom and Burning Coals

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In the spice market in the Old City, hidden in a corner off the main street, between the churches and the mosques, sits one of the oldest cafes in Jerusalem. ‘Musa’s Café’ was founded 140 years ago and is one of the most veteran cafes in Jerusalem.  The custom of sitting in coffee shops in the Old City of Jerusalem began in the 20th century when men began to gather to socialize in coffee shops – rather than in the mosques. Thus Jerusalem’s coffee culture was born. You won’t find comfortable tables, an aristocratic set of tableware, a rich menu or music in the background at Musa’s Care.  You will find hookahs, handmade incense burners  and just one type of black coffee. But it is the kind of coffee that you do not easily forget and it comes with the authentic atmosphere of the Old Jerusalem. Although it is small and unfamiliar to residents of New Jerusalem, for the people of the market is a popular place to mingle after a long day. The coffee is as wonderful as it is simple, and consists of ground beans, a pinch of cardamom and the scent of hot coals. The service, just …

The Beer City

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It’s been said that Israelis aren’t really serious beer drinkers but lots has changed in the last few years.  Israel has become the place to stop off, kick back and enjoy a pint.   And it’s not just about plain or malt anymore.  There are over 20 young and interesting boutique breweries in Israel, and the drinking culture is taking off in Jerusalem too. Jerusalem’s night life and beer supply are right up there with every other world capital. We asked Itzik Shapira, owner of the local Shapira Brewery, to share some of his experiences.  He started the small Jerusalem brewery as a hobby in his backyard.  When things began to take off, Itzik decided to spice up the brew by adding some typical Jerusalem flavors to create a new flavored beer. He threw in wheat, barley, grapes, figs, dates, pomegranates, olives and dates and called it the Seven Species Beer!  Well, we guess it didn’t work out too well because he shelved the final product and it was never brought to market.  But, the Shapira Brewery is still creating great Jerusalem beer and the Shapira Brewery is now one of the most successful boutique breweries in the country. Homer Simpson …

12:PM? Time for Humus!

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A tour of the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem feels like a trip to a faraway land. Apart from being the largest quarter of the four, it is the liveliest, most colorful and most intriguing. The alleys, the people, the fragrances, the food and the language create a fascinating journey in Arab culture. The Muslim Quarter consists of many communities of religions, families and different ethnic identities, and each group brings its culture, tradition and lifestyle to the public sphere.     This time we decided to take a tour at the busiest hour in the quarter – lunchtime. The menu of the Old City is probably not the longest or the most varied menu you have seen, it’s got humus, humus with misbaha, hummus with ful, hummus with meat, humus with pine nuts … hummus of all kinds, but mostly – humus. Almost every self-respecting hummus place can tell about a tradition of 20 or 30 years, about the secrets that go through the family making their own hummus more special, about the special atmosphere in the Old City market, and, how not: about the service.     The special delivery service of the Old City …

“Jerusalem Sage”

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What do you think of your neighbors? We love ours – in spite of the difference and the resemblance, each of them individually and all together they tell the story of Jerusalem. With the spring coming up and the Seder Night getting closer, we have decided to go down from the tower and visit our neighbors across the road, at the foot of the citadel, in a special location where a link between old and new is created, between ancient and modern, in the artists alley of Hutzot Hayozer – we visited “The Eukalyptus” restaurant. “The Eukalyptus” is not just another restaurant. It’s offering a Jerusalemite journey crossing cultures, ethnic groups and places – through the palate, led by its unique head chef – Moshe Bason. Moshe was born and raised in Jerusalem and his love for the city’s soil, the bible and the tradition is clearly noticable in each of his special Jerusalemite dishes. Where else would you find Hubeisa (mallow) gnocchi, stuffed figs in tamarind souse and Chamtzitzim (wood sorrel) soup? Each of Bason’s unique recipes is nothing less than a human mosaic of Jerusalem: a endless collection of traditions assembled continuingly for years by the local city …

Where was King David – really?

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In honor of Jerusalem Day, and after dealing with copious questions, theories and assumptions, we have decided to clear up the story of King David and Jerusalem once and for all. King David, the victorious warrior who overpowers giants, plays the harp and conquered the city from the Jebusites – is a household name in Jerusalem. A short walk around the Old City shows us that in our little neighborhood alone there are at least three historical sites bearing the name of the Biblical King:  the Tower of David Museum, the Tomb of David and the City of David. As a gesture of good will, we embarked on a mission to visit the sites, search through documents and biblical verses and to present you, through pictures and words, the special connection of each site to the most famous king of Jerusalem   The Tower of David Museum: A Comedy of Errors Location: Jaffa Gate The museum is located in an ancient citadel that was built upon layers of history and served as a strategic defense point for thousands of years. The waves of conquests of the city brought an impressive gallery of leaders who left their mark on the citadel, …

Routine cleaning and conservation leads to Hanukkah treasure!

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Almost thirty years after the completion of archaeological excavations in the courtyard of the Tower of David, no one expected to find more new discoveries from the past! But it turns out that Jerusalem never ceases to surprise and as timing would have it.. just before we begin to celebrate Hanukkah, a coin from the time of Antiochus was found among the stones. During routine conservation work in the archaeological garden, Ms Orna Cohen, Chief Conservation Officer at the Tower of David, and an archaeologist of over 35 years, saw a metallic item flash among the stones of the wall. On closer examination, it was in bronze-leaf cent, which was used in Jerusalem in the days of King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, an unwelcome guest in the history of the city   Antiochus was the king that made harsh decrees that sparked the Maccabean revolt that in turn led to the victory of the Maccabees and the reclaiming of the Temple. Today this is marked, together with the miracle of the oil light that burned for eight days instead of one, by the festival of Hanukkah. The coin was found near the Hasmonean walls that cut through the center of the …