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Models of Jerusalem
Four periods in the history of the city


The ancient Jerusalem stones, the capital of Israel, are imbued with his millennial history. In the year 1000 AEC King David did of the city located in the center of the country, his capital. Across the centuries, Jerusalem turned into sacred place for the three biggest monotheistic religions, it has been a city of places of cult, of community life and cultural development, like also a focus of conflict. Nowadays, it is a metropolis in growth that faces the challenge of the urban life along with the preservation of his singular historical and spiritual nature.

The visitor can see in Jerusalem, mock-ups that show to the city in four periods of his history:

In the period of the First Temple (90-586 AEC); 
During the reign of King Herodes in the Ist century EC (Period of the Second Temple, 538 AEC-70 EC
At the end of the XIXth century, under Ottoman domain; 
In the present, planning for the future.

Approximately 3000 years behind, King David did of Jerusalem his capital. Salomón, his son, expanded the city and erected the Temple to God.

Histories of the epoch indicate that the construction of the First Temple began in the fourth year of the reign of Salomón, taking seven years up to his term. For four centuries it served as place of central cult in the country. His reputation between the nations of the region was resting in the splendor of his front and in his interior designs, and for lodging in his bosom the Sacred Ark of the Alliance. The Temple was located close to the real palace and was enjoying the real patronage. In the year 586 AEC, it was devastated by the Babylonians.

How was the Jerusalem of the period of the First Temple? A mock-up of the ancient city, prepared under the auspices of Yad Yitzjak Ben-Zvi, is exhibited in a modest house in the heart of the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Planned like a didactic instrument for the Jerusalem history education, the mock-up is done to a scale of 1:250, covering a 35 square meters surface. Replies in stones structures miniature, as well as also of the fortified wall they were designed being based on the archaeological testimony. The archaeologist Dan Bahat expert in Jerusalem, is the scientific adviser of this model.

A spectacle of light and sound is presented several times a day in Hebrew, English, French and Russian; by means of special glasses the visitor embarks in a three-dimensional "walk" along the places of Jerusalem Bíblica. Here there has put itself a particular emphasis on the planned system of cisterns for the conduit of the water, dug in the rock during the reign of the Kings of Judea. In this walk along the past, the visitor learns on the Jerusalem conquest for King David 3.000 years behind, on the construction of the Temple, the perforation of the Tunnel Siloam (to safeguard the water supply of the city) and on the horrors and the Babylonian devastation, in the conquest of the city in the VIth century AEC.

The First Temple has not been reconstructed: although detailed descriptions appear in Biblical sources, up to the date have not been archaeological evidences. For the above mentioned reason the building, in the model, is presented as a sketch by a box.

Nevertheless the myth of the splendor of the Temple and his treasures, he still persists. At the beginning of the XXth century, a theologian and Finnish poet, Walter H. Juvelius had the idea of excavating in David's city, which is located in a hill to the south of the current Old City, and it is, in fact, the original place of the city of Jerusalem. For the interpretation of certain Biblical passages, Juvelius believed that the treasure of the First Temple could be opposing. He wanted the luck that was meeting Captain Montague Parker, a young official recently dismissed of the British army, whom he convinced that it was taking part in his plan. Parker had the advantage of his social position and his familiar connections, which allowed him to gather a sum of money with which to begin the excavations, in search of the treasures of King Salomón. A big part of the treasure was promised to the investors when this one was opposing. Parker directed the expedition that came to Jerusalem in 1909 and began to excavate in David's City and in the Tunnel Siloam, which he believed it would take it to the Mount of the Temple.

A prominent archaeologist associated with the Biblical School, the father Vincent, accompanied the excavations. While other members of the expedition were continuing the excavation of the channels, of the Tunnel Siloam and of other ancient systems of cisterns, Vincent was devoting himself to document the finds.

With the assistance of experts brought from Europe, Parker it excavated across a complex channels system in his attempt of penetrating in the Mount of the Temple. The work was carried out in a severe winter, with the constant threats of detachments of ground and the collapse of the channels - and the secret was supported by space of two years (1909-1911).

In the spring 1911, when captain Parker realized that the Ottoman authorities would not allow him to continue the excavations, it bribed some officials of the Wakf (religious Muslims), and together with some of his people, they penetrated in the Mount of the Temple and continued the excavations. It was quickly decubierto, and the members of the expedition had to leave the country.

Nevertheless, the interest in this matter continued and the journalists were wondering if the treasures of the Temple had been discovered and hidden. But the expedition de facto did not find any of the treasures of the Temple.

Exhibited together with the model there are the sketches of Vicent and the maps of the conductive channels of the water, as well as his photos (in glass badges). Also there are newspapers clippings in several languages about the fuss that was causing the excavation.

In 1911, the father Vincent published his book "Under the Earth of Jerusalem" in the one that reports the excavations: his finds are even consulted nowadays by the students of the period of the First Temple.

"Like a covered with snow mountain that shines to the sun" - this way he is like Flavio Josefo, the historian of the Ist century, he describes the aspect of the Second Temple, contruido in marble of three different tones. Today it is very little what he remembers, in the shape of a concrete evidence the splendor of the Temple: only it reduces the Western, remaining Wall of the enclave of the Mount of the Temple, as well as also the recent archaeological discoveries, literary descriptions, representations in coins and the fresh air in the wall of the synagog of the IIIrd century in Hard Europos, in Syria.

Nevertheless, an interested observer can see the model (it climbs 1:50) of Jerusalem in the period of the Second Temple in the Hotel Holyland, located on a mount in the modern Jerusalem. Israelis and tourists, as well as groups of students, come to see the model and to study on the city before his destruction in hands of the Romans in the year 70 EC.

The model was constructed by the initiative and financing of Mr. Hans Kroch and under the supervision of the eminent archaeologist the teacher Michael Avi-Yonah of the Hebrew University. The teacher Avi-Yonah, to his shift, based his research work on the writings of Flavio Josefo, on the New Testament, on Jewish sources like the Mishná and the Talmud, and on traditions with reference to important buildings of the epoch.

The teacher Avi-Yonah supervised the construction of the model and his renewal up to his death, in 1974. Mrs. Eva Avi-Yonah designed the planes of the whole model, as well as the cuts and fronts of most of the buildings. Up to where it was possible, the model was constructed by materials that were used in the epoch of the Second Temple: marble, copper and iron, stone and wood.

Dr. Yoram Tsafir of the Hebrew University, who from the death of the teacher Avi-Yonah, has been in charge of the update of the model in accordance with the last archaeological discoveries, told that there can be some inaccuracies in the model, but that these are minimal. 
For example, the circular Theater Herodiano, - now it is known that his place is not the correct one. "But since that we do not know what the exact place of the theater was in that epoch, we leave where it is it", tells the teacher Tsafir, who is an expert in the epochs Hellenist, Roman and Byzantine. He tells that recent archaeological finds point also at a change in the access route to the Temple. "Now we know that the entry was for the south", says the archaeologist.

Probably the walls are the most imposing part of the model, 70 cm some. of height - 35 mts. of high place in the reality. The ancient Jerusalem was defended by three of these walls for the north, most vulnerable side, while only one wall was sufficient to defend his western, south and these sides, due to the deep gorges that were surrounding the city for these three sides.

The same way depositors are three towers constructed by King Herodes (37-4 AEC) to protect his palace. The biggest, of 45 mts. of height, his name been Fasael, on behalf of the Herodes brother; the second, Hippicus, 40 mts. of height it was called this way by a friendly stranger of the king; and the third one, 27.5 mts. of height, his name been Mariamne, for the wife of Herodes, whom he loved, but who anyway condemned to death. This tower is more ornate than others two, because, in the Josefo words, "the king was thinking adapted that this tower, call like that on behalf of a woman, should overcome in decoration others two".

The palace of Herodes, which is being re-designed in the model in this moment, was consisting of two buildings, each one with his room of banquets, baths and bedrooms for hundreds of guests. The palace was surrounded by groves, water ponds and footpaths of walk.

The hill to the east of palace, the High City, was inhabited in the Biblical times, but it remained desert after the Babylonian Jerusalem conquest in 586 AEC. During the Herodes reign and in the Ist century, the High, again inhabited City, was the residential area of the aristocracy of Jerusalem and of the priestly families. The High Agora surrounded with porches, was the "forum", place in which the citizens were meeting to carry his commerce out. Another meeting place, this one in the Mount of the Temple, was the "Real Lounge" constructed by Herodes - one of the biggest buildings in the whole Roman Empire.

There is observed clearly in the model the luxury of the individual constructions, remains of which they were discovered recently, the majority in the excavations in the Jewish Quarter. The buildings, they were including rooms decorated with fresh air and mosaics, baths, cisterns and ritual baths. One of these buildings, overdraft in 1970, is known like the "Burned House". Full of implements of daily use in the Ist century EC, was completely burned like result of the conflagration that limited to ashes the High City in the year 70 EC.

The only source of water resources of the city in this period, the monumental Siloam swimming pool, differs very clearly in the model. AEC was feeding on the waters of the slope Gihón turned away to turn the Tunnel of Ezequías constructed in the VIIIth century.

Also there are visible the Western wall and the Second Temple constructed by those who returned of Babylonia under the order of Zerubabel (VIth century AEC). Similar to the Temple of Salomón, but less decorated, it was extended by king Herodes and transformed into the majestic building that appears in the model. The important sections of the Temple were including courtyards separated for men, women and priests, as well as for the Sanctasantórum. The "Beautiful Door" was driving to the courtyard of the women, beyond this place it was not allowed spent to the women. Nicanor's Door (call like that for a rich Jew of Alexandria that donated the door), which differs in his copper color, was driving from the courtyard of the women towards one more to the interior; to the one that was going over to a staircase of snail of 0 steps in which the Levites were singing and making to hear music.

"The model, who needs constant restorations and maintenance" the teacher Tsafrir says, "it serves to show to the visitor how Jerusalem was seen in the period of the Second Temple". One can, of course, study the model and later visit the current excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The one who visits Jerusalem, generally begins his tour along the Old City in the Door of Yafo. David's Tower, the Museum of the History of Jerusalem is located next to the magnificent Citadel. Modern methods, including photos and copies of original gadgetry, audio-visual exhibitions, illustrations and much more, bring together before the eyes of the visitor a coloring procession of facts of the abirragada Jerusalem history. The whole Jerusalem is there, from his ancient beginning until the XXth century.

If the visitor, on having entered the archaeological garden, lowers approximately 0 steps and enters an ancient cistern, it will find before itself face to face a Jerusalem picture, as it was in the XIXth century - in the shape of an extraordinary model constructed by a catholic Hungarian, Stefan Illes, native of Bratislava, that in this time it was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

The area of the model, constructed a scale of 1:500, spreads from the Mount of the Olive trees, to the east, up to the Russian Complex (which construction began in 1858), on the west; and from the spring of Ein Rogel in the south even beyond the Door of Damascus in the north. There are included here four quarters of the Old City, the Mount of the Temple, the Mount of the Olive trees, the Silwán village in the place of David's City and the Citadel (David's Tower, used by the Ottoman Turks like fortitude, and for the Britons as place of meeting for cultural activities). They represent here also represented the first Jewish quarters constructed out of the walls, in half of the XIXth century: Mishkenot Shaananim, the first one of these quarters (constructed between 1857 and 1869), ending with his windmill as well as also the Sink of the Sultan (nowadays place of grand spectacles). Newly built synagogs Hurva and Tiferet Yisrael, which later were destroyed during the Jordanian occupation of the city, they can turn in the Jewish quarter. Only six doors are represented along the walls of the city: the Door of Yafo, the Door of Damascus, the Door of the Lions, the Door of the Compassion (golden Door), the Door of the Garbages and the Door of Zion. The Door of Herodes, which is not in the model, was re-opened in 1874, and the New Door joined only in 1889. 
The German Church of the Redemption is marked by a solitary German flag, while David's Citadel was still surrounded by the pit, being later filled for the visit of the German Kaiser Wilhelm II (1898)).

The model is rich in details: Illes not only reproduced every street and passage of the city and almost every building, but also it included flags in the churches, a small cannon that is still in the roof of one of the towers of the Citadel, lines of the telegraph, which was installed in the city in the middle of the decade of the 180, and even indications of some shops. What is missing in the model there are human figures, but, as tells Débora Lipson, of the museum, the residents of Jerusalem, - to this scale, - they would have a 3 millimeters height. With a weight of approximately one ton, the model is constructed in 8 modules to facilitate his transport, and is done of plates of beaten zinc mounted on a wooden platform.

In fact it is an extraordinary model of the Jerusalem of the XIXth century, which it was re-discovered only a few years behind in a larder in Geneva the one that was finding his way to the capital of Israel he owes to a simple coincidence.

A profession bookbinder, Illes came to Jerusalem in 180. It was employed at the Franciscan Monastery of San Savior before opening its own business. Following the fashion of construction of mock-ups of the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries, Illes constructed, as it is known, another two models, in addition to that it is exhibited in the Museum of David's Tower: one of the Biblical Jerusalem and other, of his epoch: the Jerusalem of 1880. Nobody has discovered till now the whereabouts of these models. And nobody knows what spent with Illes later that it was moving away from Jerusalem, in 1880 either.

Illes constructed his model specially for the World Fair of Vienna in 1873, where it was exhibited in the Ottoman pavilion. That perhaps justifies the possibility of some inaccuracies debated on the part of Illes: he constructed the Dome of the Rock twice bigger than his real measurements and the walls of the city have a height the triple of the real thing. It took with it the model for Europe with the hope to sell it and to gather funds for the construction of another two models of Jerusalem. In Geneva it achieved his assignment in 1878, when 10,000 Francs for that he was asking for his work, were gathered by some prominent families of Geneva, including Gustave Moynier, one of the founders of the International Red Cross. For more than 40 years the model was exhibited in the House of the Reform, an evangelical private association that assumed the legal property rights.

In 1920, the League of the Nations took the place in rental and the model had to be extracted. It was transferred to the attic of the Library of the Pubic University of Geneva, where it was deposited "provisionally" by space of 43 years. It was exhibited in 1963 by a short period, before being stored in the Palace Wilson where he remained finally forget.

Then, one day, Rehav Rubin, a geographer historian of the Hebrew University, obtained a reference of the model while it was preparing a course on ancient Jerusalem maps. One of his students, Moti Yair, Hungarian of birth, who recognized the name of Illes as a Hungarian, decided to find more information about the model and his builder. A few days later, sat opposite to a cup of coffee along with other students in the library of the University, Yair told how he managed them to continue the steps of the model up to Geneva in 1878, coming there to a deadlock. Another student, Arianne Littman, who soon time was going to travel to Geneva in holidays and who was listening to it, offered to continue there the search of the model. His father, David Littman, whom she told the history, had planned to meet a veteran librarian in the Library of the Public University of Geneva on the following day. Since it happens sometimes, the luck played his role, the librarian knew the regarding thing the model and it helped to find it. A few months later, the House of the Reform, it offered for unanimity the model to Jerusalem as permanent loan. And this way, 100 years after his construction, the model returned to house. Israel was restored in the museum and there is in exhibition in the Historical museum of Jerusalem in David's Tower - only one added to the immense conglomerate that is exhibited in him.

The model of the modern Jerusalem, which is in the principal building of the Municipality of Jerusalem is so realistic that when it looks at it for itself, immediately a certain street is located and even a specific building. As miniatures, the buses, the motorcars and the trees present a Lilliputian image of the palpitating city, giving him a reality aura. In this model to scale 1:500, even the height of the trees is proportional to the real ones that grow in Jerusalem.

"What motivated the creation of this model was the intensification of the development together with the unification of Jerusalem and the urgent need to preserve many historical places", tells Kobi Ariel, the director of the Center Jerusalem for the Planning in Historic cities, place in which the mock-up is." In our model we adopt a realistic approach", he adds, "due to the universal attraction that Jerusalem exercises. In addition to the spiritual, religious and historical interest of the city, we feel that it is fascinating from the architectural point of view. Our model is destined firstly, to be a knowledge instrument for the architects, planners and promoters, as well as for those involved in the process of decision making in our municipality. The architects with specific projects in mentions, they can try his ideas in the model. With the help of a visual feedback, the model allows months of abstract discussions to transform in rapid decisions".

The reason of this efficiency is the flexibility of the model. Of modular construction, each of 48 units is placed on wheels and can move, be extracted and like that to be updated continuously. The units represent 7 square kilometers of the commercial district of the city, the governmental complex, the cultural area of Jerusalem and part of the Old City. At present the model grows in all the directions; soon there will be included the rest of the Old City, the campus of Guivat Ram of the Hebrew University, the Vale of the Cross and two principal museums - the Museum Israel and the Museum of the Biblical Earths.

The model was originally constrido for Richard Harvey, native of the United States, with the students' help of architecture of Tejnión de Haifa; taking 0 years of work. At present retired person, Harvey keeps on interfering in the aggregations construction for the model.

This model is an integral part of the Center Jerusalem for the Planning in Historic cities, located in the municipal complex. "The target of the Center is to understand urban problems and to come to suitable solutions", says Ariel. "We focus a city with historical meaning. Historic cities in the whole world face similar problems, from how preserving and extending his quarters and buildings of historical - cultural interest and at the same time, adapting themselves to the requirements of the modern life, like being the creation of new residential areas, provision of suitable transport, etc."

One of the principal goals of the Center is to become a forum for planners and both local and international designers, a meeting place for the ideas exchange. Between the visitors include groups of experts, individual professionals, who treat with municipal problems and the Ministers of the Housing. Also, the International Conference of Mayors, which meets every year in Jerusalem, carries out one of his meetings in the Center, studying and discussing the model and his applications to the local realities of every participant. 

At present, with his professional uses, the model also works like educational instrument. Creative workshops are realized to stimulate both school young people and adults to the study of the urban development and to help them to design answers to real and imaginary problems in the planning of a city. At the same time, they are sensitized in the esthetic aspects of the above mentioned development. This is especially important, due to the big variety of cultural and religious precedents of the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Across this model, Jerusalem with his 3,000 years of antig? age, it serves like living example of modern life in the historic cities.


Source: MFA - Foreign Office of Israel








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