Jerusalem is being built at a dizzying pace, with the epicenter of construction surrounding the Old City.

Cranes hover above the holy city of Jerusalem, building it up to the Heavens
Construction materials waiting to be used in the holy 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 Old City's Tower of David can be seen overlooking the Mamilla pedestrian mall
Sitting at a cafe in the Mamilla promenade
The steps down to the Mamilla mall from Jaffa Gate
The view from the Mamilla cafes
Western luxury stores such as the Mac makeup chain have bought up space in the pedestrian promenade
Where the finished section of Mamilla ends and the construction continues
The Stern House, where Theador Herzl stayed when he visited Jerusalem. It was taken apart and moved to the middle of the Mamilla project
The stones of the Stern House were numbered, dismantled and rebuilt

The massive, well-organized parking lot is still offering three hours of free parking to all.

The 6-floor underground parking lot beneath the Mamilla project
The future apartments of the Mamilla Alrov project

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.

The IDF Square tunnel

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.

The Elisha House, on Elisha Street and Shivtei Yisrael in Morasha (Musrara)

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 site of the Museum of Tolerance
The Muslim graveyard alongside the site of the museum

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 Jerusalem of Gold
A sign advertising "Jerusalem of Gold"
The Jerusalem of Gold building site

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.”

A historic protected house stands in the shadow of the Jerusalem of Gold

Web site:

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.

A sign advertising the King David Residence
The King David Residence building site

Web site:

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 King David Crown project with the YMCA tower
A model of what the Crown complex will look like
A view of the 'Crown' from the YMCA
A view of the King David Crown from Abraham Lincoln Street (actually pronounced link-o-lin in Hebrew)
The crater that will become the lower floors of the King David Residence

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.

Depiction of skyline with King David Crown

Web site:

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.

Near Nof Zion, the future site of the Sephardic Federation synagogue
A sign advertising the Nof Zion neighborhood
The Partition Wall in the distance from the future site of Nof Zion

Web site:

The old Palace Hotel, making room for the new Palace Hotel
Steel scaffolding holds up the facade of the old Palace Hotel as the inside is demolished and reconstructed into a new luxury hotel opposite the Old City

Other projects are in progress all around the capital, with run down areas being prepared to become jewels in the crown that is Jerusalem.

The Russian Compound lies empty ahead of plans to reconstruct it
A Herodian reservoir lies in the middle of Independence Park, awaiting preservation
Yishai Fleisher contributed conceptually to this photo essay

(Photos: Josh Shamsi, Arutz-7 Photojournalist)