Jerusalem is being built at a dizzying pace, with the epicenter of construction surrounding the Old City.
The largest project, the $400 million Mamilla complex, has opened its pedestrian shopping mall segment after nearly a decade of construction.
The project was initially conceived shortly after the 1967 Six Day War, and the run-down Mamilla neighborhood, just outside Jaffa Gate, was cleared away: the businesses moved to the Talpiot industrial zone, and the residents to N'vei Ya’akov.
The new pedestrian mall, in the shadow of David’s Tower and the Jaffa Gate, has place for 140 stores. Forty of them are open for business and, despite the luxury prices, the cafes have been bustling throughout the summer.
The massive, well-organized parking lot is still offering three hours of free parking to all.
Still being built are the luxury apartments and 600-meter promenade leading from Jaffa Gate to Independence Park.
Between Mamilla and the Old City walls, beneath street level, lie the ancient walls of Jerusalem and other archaological artifacts
Located between the complex and the Old City walls, and completed last year, is the new tunnel beneath IDF Square. Running along the corner of the Old City between the New Gate and Jaffa Gate, the tunnel alleviates traffic at the busy square ahead of the launch of the Jerusalem light rail.
Down Shivtei Yisrael (Tribes of Israel) Street stands the nearly completed Elisha House, a luxury apartment building constructed on the edge of the up-and-coming Morasha (Musrara) neighborhood.
At the edge of Independence Park, the groundwork is in place for the Museum of Tolerance. The museum will have a 90-minute “walk-through” encompassing various periods in Jewish history. It will feature exhibits on conflicts within the Jewish people during the Second Temple period, the expulsion from Spain, the Dreyfus affair and more. A second section will examine the conflicts surrounding the modern-day State of Israel.
The lavish institute will include a conference center, a theater, a library and gallery space.
Also overlooking Independence Park, on Rabbi Akiva Street, is the grand “Jerusalem of Gold” complex. The project adopted the name of a beautiful piece of jewelry the sage Rabbi Akiva gave his wife Rachel upon his return from years of studying Torah. Rachel had married the rabbi to the great chagrin of her father, a wealthy Jewish man named Kalba Savua. Kalba Savua left his daughter penniless, and she and her new husband lived in poverty. He began his Torah studies as an adult and eventually had 24,000 students, the confidence of his father-in-law, and the means to buy his wife a “Jerusalem of Gold.”
The website says: “The concept of Jerusalem of Gold has become an icon in the Jewish World; an icon representing beauty, love, Torah studies, and especially Jerusalem’s role as a center for both the Jewish world and Jews as individuals…[This is] a unique apartment project dedicated entirely to Jerusalem and to its message to every Jew.”
Web site: http://jerusalem-of-gold.com/
Overlooking the Old City from the western side, a row of three large projects are being constructed.
The King David Residence, on King David Street, will be two large residential buildings at the center of a new neighborhood taking shape – also named for the Jewish monarch. The buildings will also include the restoration of ancient buildings, to be used as a lobby, and the building of a wood-paneled synagogue at the end of the lobby, “with an Ark facing east towards the Temple Mount,” according to the web site.
Web site: http://www.king-david-residence.com/
Down the street, on the huge plot of land behind the YMCA, once Beitar Yerushalayim’s soccer field and training center, the massive King David Crown is being constructed. It is an eight-story crown-shaped landmark surrounding a park that will be open to the public.
The Crown will include 200 apartments, underground parking and a tunnel to a new sports complex being constructed by the YMCA. The 1.25-acre park, designed by Israeli sculptor Adani, will be artistically illuminated at night and include waterfalls and canals.
Web site: http://www.king-david-crown.com/
Up Hevron Way, overlooking the Temple Mount from across the Ben Hinnom Valley and the City of David, are 461 acres of apartments and gardens named Nof Zion (A View of Zion). The project is located just past the UN compound, at the end of the Armon HaNetziv promenade.
Web site: http://www.nofzion.co.il
Other projects are in progress all around the capital, with run down areas being prepared to become jewels in the crown that is Jerusalem.
(Photos: Josh Shamsi, Arutz-7 Photojournalist)