This is the saddest village in Israel and probably the most beautiful, too. There’s nothing else like it: a ghost village, many of whose homes are still standing, with a hole in the roof, courtesy of Israel, to prevent them for being reused. The 60 or so homes that remain, of two and sometimes three stories, are planted on the slope of the hill and blend masterfully into the natural landscape. Each floor of the buildings, fashioned from stone and graced with arches, tells the story of a different period and a different style of construction. Lifta is a rare architectural gem, a monument to what was once here in this country, mute testimony to a way of life that was abruptly cut off. A mosque, olive presses and a flour mill, remains of picturesque balconies, a tiled path leading to the spring, which was one the village’s throbbing heart and whose waters are now in use by yeshiva students and “hilltop youth” in the “between the times” vacation that follows Tisha B’Av.