Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bloomfield Park

Driving alongside King David Street from Emek Refaim into the City Center, you are met with a beautiful display of flowers on the border of Jerusalem's Bloomfield Park. The colorful array of florals will usually catch your eye as you pass by amid busy traffic; however, you may have never actually ventured beyond the visual display into the true heart of Bloomfield Park. And this is a major shame, I discovered recently; for what awaits you on the other side of the park is perhaps one of the best views and lookouts in all of Jerusalem.

Entrance to Bloomfield Park
There is much to see throughout your trip in the park; but I assure you it will be worth it when you get to the other side. Here's a sneak peak of what you will find (hint, hint: it's a magical view of the Old City's outer walls):


Upon first entering Bloomfield Park (from the King David Hotel side) you are met with an interesting fountain, one of three water displays inside the park's borders:


   

Next, as you find yourself walking along the park's walking trail, you will notice that the park actually backs up to the King David Hotel's posterior side.  The King David Hotel is considered the most prestigious residence in all of Jerusalem, having hosted many of the world's elite, from royalty to celebrities to religious and political dignitaries. With the King David Hotel behind you and the Old City before you, you've found yourself in quite a hot spot in Jerusalem:

 

   

After taking some time to relax outside the King David Hotel, it's time to keep on exploring the park's grounds, for we have not yet arrived at the main attraction (of which there are a few, depending on who you're talking to):

   

As you follow the trails, you'll notice signs enticing you to come see the "Artist's Colony" which is just a few steps away. There you can find handfuls of unique artisan shops displaying rare pottery, jewelry, paintings and much more. Follow the signs down these stairs, you are going in the right direction:

   

Having walked down the stairs, you are welcomed by a beautiful arbored terrace with a tranquil fountain down below. Not only is the surrounding scenery beautiful and calming, but also, if you look closely, you will see what takes your breath away most of all: your first glimpse of the Old City from Bloomfield Park. It's spectacular, stopping you in your tracks.


    

     

Knowing that there's a view to be had here, you've got to search for the perfect spot to get the shots. And of course, when I found it, there was a wedding or ceremonial structure already solidified in place:

    

And at last, you've made it to the other side of the park, the side unseen from busy King David Street. Here, you can take in panoramic views of the Old City, with no one to bother you. Enjoy a quiet moment with these scenic views:


    

    


You might be tired from all that walking (and from the blasting heat) so fear not, there are an abundance of places to sit and relax. As hot as it is outside, it's somewhat bearable underneath a shaded tree where you can catch some warm breezes. Bloomfield Park is full of families, couples and solo travelers of all different backgrounds enjoying the public space.


          
    

The scenery goes on and on and though you may choose to take a break and relax, there is in fact more to be seen, so don't stop for too long!

 
   

Here we've arrived at the Montefiore Windmill which is, to me, one of the main attractions of the park. This windmill, actually originally meant to be a flour mill, is named after Sir Moses Montefiore. This man was the Anglo-Jewish benefactor responsible for the nearby communities of Yemin Moshe and Mishkenot Sha'ananim. These two communities were some of the first residential areas built outside of the Old City's walls in the 19th century and were meant to house poor Jewish settlers who were new to the area (but could not afford to live inside the Old City's walls). This windmill (or flour mill) was built to service the two small communities, though was never put into use. Today, it is a landmark and memorial to Sir Moses Montefiore:


    

      

      

Inside the above windmill is a small museum dedicated to the life and works of the philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore. From the windmill, you can look out to see the Old City to the left (the pictures of which you've seen) and purportedly, the disputed Valley of Hinnom to the right in which is nestled an Arab village. This is actually a good shot to show you how Arab villages are situated side by side next to developed Jewish communities in Jerusalem, with just a bit of desert landscape separating the two:
   
 

    

          
    

There's more to be seen, but if you're like me, you can only take so much of the summer heat. So off I went, preparing to exit out of Bloomfield Park's opposite entrance/exit close to the Jerusalem Cinemateque. Here at the biggest fountain on the park's property, it was clear that the crisp, cool water was the park's main attraction for the day (and not the view nor the windmill):


   

 

It's time to head out now, but next time you pass by Bloomfield Park while driving down busy King David Street, you'll know that a whole other world is waiting inside the park's borders:

   
 
I hope you all enjoyed seeing the park; I know I was surprised to see how beautiful it was and that no one had told me earlier to put it on my "to do" list. So, I'm telling YOU now, put it on your list! There's more to be explored than my pictures convey: sculptures, views, museums, the tomb of Herod's family, shops and galleries in the Artist's Colony and even a restaurant with a killer view (see Montefiore Restaurant's website here).

3 comments:

  1. so much fun right in your own backyard - and you would never know it's there!

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  2. Great job Erin! I spent some quality time in Bloomfield Park this past summer and remember many of the sights you photographed.

    Lyle Plocher

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  3. What a great sight - it looks gorgeous.
    Who was the park named after - my maiden name was bloomfield - just coincidence though - we live in Whangarei New Zealand.

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