The Company is in the midst of the process for approval of a plan for a project to provide accessibility to people with disabilities in the area between the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall plaza. The height difference between the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall plaza is 23 meters (approximately 75 feet). The Western Wall is currently accessed from the Jewish Quarter via stairs in a relatively limited space.
This situation makes it impossible for people with disabilities to access the Jewish Quarter from the Western Wall and vice versa, severely limits the elderly population, inconveniences families with baby carriages and children, etc.
The plan: A shaft for elevators (two cabins) with great load-bearing capacity, able to carry 20-30 people at a time, will be dug in the Jewish Quarter on Misgav Ladach Street.
At the bottom of the elevator shaft (which will be about 22 meters or 72 feet deep) a 65 meter (approximately 213 feet) long tunnel with a 2 percent grade will be dug to connect the Jewish Quarter to the Western Wall. The plan includes building public bathrooms (for women, men and the disabled) to serve the masses of people expected. There will also be roofed open spaces where visitors can rest, as well as infrastructure and electricity rooms for the elevator, electrical and air systems.
This project to ensure accessibility is a national project of high importance, as the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter are visited by approximately 8 million people every year, among them many who require these sites to be accessible according to modern standards.
Installing an elevator to improve the accessibility of the Western Wall plaza from the Jewish Quarter:
The project is intended to connect the Jewish Quarter with the Western Wall plaza, making the Western Wall more accessible to people with disabilities and families with baby carriages. The project is named after its donor Baruch Klein.
The Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue (its name means “Glory of Israel” in Hebrew) was built between the years 1864-1872 at the initiative of the Hasidic Rabbi Nissan. The dome of the synagogue was built with the assistance of a donation by Austrian Emperor Franz Josef. The synagogue was destroyed during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, and has not been rebuilt since. The Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter has decided to restore the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue the way the Hurva Synogogue was restored. For this purpose, it is necessary to conduct archaeological excavations at the site.
Designing decorative lighting for the Hurva Synagogue: The project is intended to illuminate this special monument with professional floodlights that highlight its unique architecture, adorning the building and making it visible at night.
The Hurva Synagogue can be viewed from three vantage points: Armon Hanatziv, the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus.
Restoring and reconstructing the Etz Chaim compound: the Etz Chaim (literally “Tree of Life” in Hebrew) compound, designated for historic preservation, was destroyed by the Jordanians in 1948. The Company is promoting a detailed plan for the restoration and preservation of the compound. Its purposes and uses are to be decided later, but will have a touristic orientation.
Gan HaTekuma (literally “Garden Of Redemption” in Hebrew) is a large park insouthern section of the Jewish Quarter. When the Quarter returned to Jewish hands in 1967, after 19 years in which Israel was cut off from the Old City and the Jewish Quarter, there was no better symbol with which to memorialize this return – this redemption – than a spectacular garden. The garden can be divided into two: the eastern part which contains the amphitheater over the remains of the Byzantine water cistern in the Nea Church; and the western part which contains exercise facilities.
The Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter is promoting the following projects:
Restoring the Garden (the amphitheater)
Restoring the vaults of the Nea Church’s water reservoir
Designing underground parking lots in the western section and constructing hotels above them. There is design coordination for these projects.
An information center and visitor center: The Lower Pool of Siloam, an archaeological site dating from the Second Temple period, was found in the front of the Hurva Square, a central location in the Jewish Quarter.
The Company is interested in establishing a visitor center and information center for the people visiting the Old City – for both domestic and international tourists.
This center will provide information, given face to face by representatives as well as written and computerized information, about Jerusalem in general and the Old City in particular.
Renovating the museum of the Herodian Quarter - The Wohl Museum of Archeology: This museum is the largest and most prominent of the sites dating from the Second Temple period in the Jewish Quarter. It is a compound of six houses that sit on the slope of the hill facing the Temple Mount. These houses belonged to Jerusalem’s aristocracy in the Herodian period. These were probably families of priests, and they decorated their homes in the Hellenistic style of the time. During excavations of the site, beautiful artifacts and luxury items were discovered, attesting to a high standard of living.
We are living in an era in which new museums are constantly being built, containing attractions and incorporating the world’s most advanced technologies. It is supremely important to close the gap between the new museums and the displays in this one, and to invest in areas that will give it the image of a current, modern museum.
Constructing a passage that connects the Hurva Synagogue to the Cardo:
The Byzantine Arch Project will create a passage to connect the archeological part of the Hurva Synagogue to the Cardo.
Urban construction over the Jewish Quarter Parking Lot:
In the southeastern section of the Jewish Quarter, above the existing parking lots, the Company is planning urban construction over an 18,000 square meter area that will include a combination of residential and commercial buildings, hotels and other public spaces. The project is in its final planning stages by architects, in coordination with the Jerusalem city engineer. The cost of this construction project will also cover some of the costs of constructing the Jewish Quarter Parking Lot. The project is being done in cooperation with the Jerusalem Municipality and the Jerusalem Development Authority.