December 31, 2013
I have been conducting tours at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem for more than 30 years. On this last day of the year I took my last group through the exhibit called, "Herod: The King's Last Journey."
This exhibit is about Herodian, the Judean desert palace where Herod built his mausoleum. Professor Ehud Netzer explored there for 30 years before he found it buried on the hillside. Among other things, 13 tons of carved stone from Herodian were brought to Jerusalem for this show. More than 400,000 people saw it in the six months it was open. That's what you call a blockbuster. It was really something special.
The railroad between Jaffa and Jerusalem began operating in 1896 and was discontinued only 12 years ago. The First Station at the beginning of the line is in Jerusalem and it is in a very lovely neighborhood of the city today. The station house is now part museum and part restaurant. The large plaza in front of it has all kinds of stores, eating places, a flea market and children's play area.
They laid a boardwalk between the rails for a bike path. In the right of way on each side of the tracks they planted trees and made walking paths with benches. About 2 km long, it is Jerusalem's newest and most favorite fitness center. You can find people walking, running and biking at all hours of the day and night. It is now a world famous example of urban renewal.
Happy New Year.