Tourist Tip #372 / Open House Jerusalem 2013

From November 7-9 you have a chance to visit choice sites and homes in Jerusalem, for free.

No trip to Jerusalem is complete without a visit to its holy sites, shopping in the Mahane Yehuda open market and a visit to the Israel Museum. Now there’s even more to see, as buildings and homes that are closed for most of the year open to anyone who would like to see them.

Open House Jerusalem 2013 — from November 7 to 9 — features tours in fascinating places, meetings with architects and a glance at Jerusalem’s history.

The Open House festival is a fine opportunity for visitors to get to know Jerusalem. For people who are already familiar with the city, it is a chance to have a peek at its hidden gems. But if you want to take a walking tour, show up early or register in advance — most of the tours are for a maximum of 20 people.

There are so many events at Open House Jerusalem that it may be hard to choose among them. Here are our recommendations:

The Western Wall Tunnels: a fantastic opportunity to visit the archaeological excavations that the Antiquities Authority is conducting there. See the latest discoveries that have not yet been opened to the public. Tours require advance registration and are limited to groups of 20. Thursday, November 7, at 3:00 and 3:30 p.m. Meeting point: the entrance to the Western Wall tunnels (inside the arch leading to the Arab Market at the bottom of the stairs on the plaza’s north side).

The home of Rabbi Yehuda Meir Getz at 12 Beit El Street in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter. See one of the last original homes of the Jewish Quarter, where Rabbi Yehuda Meir Getz, the administrator of the Western Wall, lived with his family. The home is 500 years old. Guided tours will take place on Thursday, November 7, every half hour from 4 to 7 p.m. for groups of up to 25 people. Advance registration not required.

The Rockefeller Museum, 27 Sultan Suleiman Street. Built in 1935 by the British-born architect Austen St. Barbe Harrison, it is one of the most beautiful buildings in East Jerusalem. Saturday, November 9, at 10:00, 10:45, 11:30 and 12:15. There will be eight tours for the first 20 arrivals. No advance registration required.

The Jerusalem Artists House, 12 Shmuel Hanagid Street. Originally an orphanage, this historic building was constructed by the Turks in 1890. It has gone through many incarnations since then, as the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design and a museum. In the 1960s it housed the Israel Painters and Sculptors Association. Thursday, November 7, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, November 8, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, November 9, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. No advance registration required.

The Franciscan Capuchin Monastery, 16 Disraeli Street. A rare glimpse at the walled monastery in the heart of Jerusalem’s Talbieh neighborhood, where Franciscan Capuchin monks live, work and study. The building was used as a prison during the British Mandate era and a mental hospital. Since 2000, it has served as a monastery and religious studies center. Guided tours will be given every half hour on Saturday, November 9, from 9 to 12:30, for the first 40 arrivals. No advance registration required.

Bergman House, 17 Ruppin Boulevard, on the premises of the Israel Museum. This is the home of Charlotte Bergman, a major donor of the Israel Museum. Influenced by the design of Bergman’s home in New York, this home contains many works of art, including by Chagall, Picasso and Henry Moore. The museum has preserved Bergman’s home as it was since her passing in 2002. Friday, November 8, 10:15, 11:45. Two tours, both requiring advance registration, for groups of 20.

All the events are free. For details on tours and events, visit the Open House website here: http://batim.itraveljerusalem.com/DefaultEng.aspx.

Kobi Gideon / Baubau
Nick Thompson
Lior Mizrahi
Mark Nye