Jerusalem is a versatile city, and as such, it is home for many cultural and historical treasures just waiting to be revealed. Normally we’d be roaming the streets, but as summer approaches, visiting a museum on a hot afternoon is a great opportunity to learn new things while staying cool. So without further due, here are our top recommendations for Jerusalem museums in 2016.
The Tower of David Museum of Jerusalem History is located in a medieval castle in one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the city, right near the Jaffa Gate entrance to the historic old city.
The permanent exhibition in and around the fortress illustrates the history of the city over time, while changing exhibitions combine the splendor of the ancient castle with contemporary artwork.
We particularly recommend the light festival, which occurs every year around may-june, offering a magnificent nighttime display of light and color. The unique scenery of the place, including the spectacular panoramic views from the citadel towers, make a visit to the Tower of David museum a truly unforgettable experience.
The museum of Islamic art neighbors some important national institutes like the prime minister’s headquarters, the president’s court and the famous Jerusalem Theater. Yet, entering the building is a bit like walking into a different point in time.
The Museum, an architectural gem in the heart of Jerusalem, houses nine galleries arranged in chronological order, in an impressive display of the art and craft of Islamic civilization, which was created by a combination of historical circumstances – the ancient Arab conquest over large parts the world, the unification of vast territories under the banner of Islam, and the invasions of different nations into these territories. Among the vast collection can be found ancient games like Chess, Domino and cards, a collection of ancient weapons including swards, daggers, shields and armors from around the Islamic world,some beautifully decorated day-to-day objects and a magnificent collection of traditional arab jewelry.
Yad Vashem is an official institution for commemorating Holocaust Memorial, located at the western part of Mount Herzl, AKA the mount of memorial. The museum was first established in 1945, as an archive which was meant to assist holocaust survivors find information about lost relatives and loved ones. In 1953, it was granted recognition as Israel’s official holocaust memorial institution, following which it was astonishingly rebuilt by architect Moshe Safdi. As the collection of documents, testaments, and photographs grew bigger and bigger, the museum became a place of interest not just for holocaust survivors but for anyone interested in the events of the world war II.
Till this day, Yad Vashem is in charge of documenting the history of the Jewish people before and during the Holocaust, perpetuating the memory and story of millions of victims, and imparting the legacy of the Holocaust for future generations.
Museum on the seam is a socio-political contemporary art museum situated on the border between the Arab east and Jewish west sides of the city. It presents art as a language that knows no borders, to provoke public discussion on important and often controversial topics such as human rights, war and peace, justice, prejudice and discrimination. In its own unique way, Museum On The Seam tries to generate dialogue and to lay bridges of coexistence between people.
Much of the artwork you’ll find here are authentic documentations of daily lives, prepared by independent contributors in a variety of political circumstances around the world. That, combined with mixed methods of digital and plastic art, creates a striking experience and lots of food for thought.
The Museum’s building, was first built in 1932 as a private home of a Palestinian family. In 1948 it was taken over by Israeli military as a battle position, and was later bombarded during the 6 days was. Since then, the balcony and eastern wall has remained untouched, providing a clear testament of the political changes that have undergone Jerusalem and the entire country.
Since 2005, Museum On the Seam provides a very interesting narrative of life in conflict zones and particularly in Jerusalem.
Founded in 1965 and massively renovated in 2009, The Israel Museum is one of the largest and most renowned cultural institutes in Jerusalem, ranked among the world’s leading art and archeology museums. One day may not be enough to explore the hundreds of thousands of objects ranging from archaeological finds, ancient and modern artwork, a treasury of Judaica from around the world and a fantastic sculpture garden.
Worried about the little ones getting bored? be sure to visit the Ruth Youth Wing for Art Education, where it’s all about interactivity, creativity and fun!
Bare in Mind
If you’re staying in Jerusalem during national holidays, be sure to check for publications, as many of these museums host special events, live shows and activities. There are also days when entrance is either free or discounted, so don’t miss out!