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The Israel Museum
The Israel Museum is located in Jerusalem’s Givat Ram neighborhood, near the Knesset, the Supreme Court, and the Givat Ram campus of Hebrew University. Founded in 1965, the 50,000-sq meter museum serves as a major center for art (particularly Jewish art) and the archeology in the Middle East. Museum highlights include the Shrine of the Book (a separate structure housing ancient manuscripts), the Bezalel Art Wing with its large collection of European and Israeli art, a Judaica and Jewish Ethnography collection (ancient and modern) drawn broadly from the Jewish Diaspora, the Billy Rose Art Garden (featuring modern and abstract sculpture), and the Second Temple model—a 1:50 representation of Jerusalem as it may have existed before the Great Revolt of 66 CE. The museum also administers Ticho House, which features the art of Anna Ticho and provides a venue for chamber music, and the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum, which houses a major collection of local artifacts excavated during the period of the British Mandate. Facilities include restaurants (in all three locations), gift shop, bicycle parking, and many areas that are handicap accessible. Admission is fee based.
The Shrine of the Book
The Shrine of the Book houses the Israel Museum’s center for the display and study of ancient biblical manuscripts, including the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Aleppo Codex. The Shrine is arranged in a manner that traces the development of the Hebrew Bible, with older manuscripts placed in the upper galleries and more recent ones in the lower galleries. Architect Frederick John Kiesler’s unique design of the building is symbolic on multiple levels. Thus it serves as a sanctuary—or ‘shrine’—reflecting the deep spiritual commitment of generations of scribes who labored to copy and preserve these holy books. The white dome of the structure is intended to represent the lids of the manuscript jars in which many of the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. The Shrine is build two-thirds above ground and one-third below, surrounded by a reflecting pool. In contrast to the white dome is a nearby wall of black basalt. These elements are intended to represent the spiritual struggle between the forces of light and darkness, good and evil. Access to the shrine is through a corridor that suggests a cave—the caves of Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls lay hidden for nearly 2000 years.
Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve
The Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve (also known as Soreq Cave) is a small cavern (82 x 60 meters) under the Judean mountains near Bet Shemesh in central Israel. Discovered in 1968 during blasting at a nearby quarry, the cavern boasts a variety of stone formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, and other flowstone formations. Two of its principal attractions are Romeo and Juliet, a stalactite and stalagmite that are no longer active—and thus remaining forever suspended, one above the other. The cavern is open year-round and offers visitors regularly scheduled tours and performance events. Winter visits are recommended, due to the increased likelihood of surface water dripping down through the cavern and enhancing the appearance of the formations. Tours are usually narrated in Hebrew, though a daily English-language tour is also offered. Access in and out of the cave is by means of 150 steps, complete with handrails and benches along the way. At present, the cavern is not wheelchair accessible. A reception center, gift shop, and car park are provided on premises.
This park offers visitors an introduction to Israel in miniature and contains models of the most famous and important places throughout Israel - from the Knesset to Capurnum. Wander around this park and you get a taste of many interesting places you may already know or want to see anywhere throughout the country. The park opens at 10 am but closing times vary by season and day of the week. Entrance fees are 69 NIS for adults with reduced fees for seniors, groups, soldiers, disabled and children. Electric mini-carts are available for hire.