Sunday, May 25, 2014

An Extremely Unofficial Photo Tour of Nachlaot

Today is a beautiful, sunny day with a slight breeze, and as I took the #7 past Gan Sacher (the big park near the Knesset, the Supreme Court, and my work) I listened to some old Israeli music and watched the narrow alleyways and flowering balconies of Nachlaot whizz by my window, like every day. But as the bus pulled up to my stop at the top of Bezalel street (home of some great cafes, a weekend art and vintage goods sale, and the famous Bezalel art school) I made a spontaneous decision to seize the moment and explore this neighborhood.

A musical suggestion for your ears as your eyes peruse this post
(Avraham Tal "אני לא מבין איך היום עולה עליי")

Nachlaot has been described as the Tsfat of Jerusalem and the Soho of Israel. Founded in the 1870s by Jews tired of the crowded Old City, Nachlaot is a cluster of micro-neighborhoods known for their narrow alleyways, quaint yellow-stone houses and hidden flowering courtyards. The government offered grants to improve the neighborhood back in the 1980s as it had fallen into disrepair, and it has since become the home of artists, musicians, young religious Jews from the USA, students and families. It's an eclectic mixture of religious Jews (at one time there were 300 synagogues within a few-block radius, although the number is now "only" 100) and relaxed artsy types.

I've dipped my toe into it a few times, but never with a goal of getting lost and taking pictures (the best way to discover anywhere). Thus begins my Unofficial Photo Tour of Nachlaot, which will tell you nothing of use because the point is to get lost, but will maybe inspire you to wander a bit yourself on your next free afternoon.

I started off down Bezalel towards Gan Sacher, passing Shalom Felafel, which my ulpan said was one of the best (I've never had it, so I can't say!)

Peeking through a gate at a pretty walkway off the main road.

The first of several lovely door/wall paintings I saw.

And into the labyrinth I go.

I love this hand-painted mailbox.

Obligatory cat doesn't matter how many strays I see here, I still love them.

This one seemed a little surprised to see me.

This mural understands me.

Paper birds blowing in the wind.

I found this gorgeous alleyway with a hand-tiled fence and some really cool art objects.

I love this backyard.

And of course I finished my wandering at a cafe on Bezalel street.

I got all of those pictures in only 20 minutes of wandering! I like my wandering in short bursts with frequent lengthy stops at cafes. What can I say. There is my photo tour of a tiny corner of Nachlaot, which is quite large because it encompasses many neighborhoods. Explore some off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods in your city! Or come explore Nachlaot if you happen to be in Jerusalem.

!להיתראות (See you later!)

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