Clear air charm: the reasons why you should visit the Hasher New Jerusalem complex

When we are promised wine-clear mountain air even in sticky August, nothing will stop us from jumping for a short break in our capital. Just a small spoiler – it’s also hot here, just maybe a little less sticky.

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We started our 24 hours in Jerusalem with a soft landing accompanied by wine at the Windmill in Mishkanim Shananim, overlooking the walls of the Old City. The mill was originally a flour mill and was established in 1858. Today it is a tourist site that includes a small museum that tells the story of Moshe Montefiore, the founder of the mill, and the Jerusalem Winery visitor center. While the vineyards of the winery are scattered over several growing areas in the country – from Samaria and the Jerusalem mountains, the Judean plains to the Carmel slopes, you can enjoy the wines in the wine tasting room in one of the most beautiful places in the city, along with a light and satisfying snack.

Jerusalem Winery, with a deep-rooted connection to the city, was founded in 1870 and currently produces four million bottles a year – five series with three to six varieties in each series. It is kosher in Israel, and has won many awards. On their website, they offer a refreshing stop in front of a Jerusalem view, to taste a glass of Jerusalem wine – a choice of white or red, with the option of additional refreshments. The duration of the activity is about 20 minutes and costs NIS 30 per person.

Cheese and wine in Jerusalem (Photo: Mittal Sharabi)

From there we continued on a special tour of the new gate of the old city. As its name suggests, it is a relatively new gate that was not built when the old city wall was built in the 16th century. The background for breaking the gate is the request of the representatives of the Christian denominations at the end of the 19th century, to make it easier for the Christian residents and pilgrims to get from the Christian Quarter complex in the Old City to their places of accommodation that were north of the city walls, such as the Russian Field and the Notre Dame Monastery. So that the Christians would not be forced to go out through the Jaffa Gate or through the Nablus Gate, in 1889 the Sultan Abd Alhamid agreed to break through a new gate, and the name of the gate was also named after the Sultan.

Our guide in the Old City was Yael Livni from Dana Hafzadi’s team of guides, director of the community “Zat Jerusalem” and owner of a brand by that name. On the tour she introduced us to the wonderful stories behind the walls, local characters, wonderful businesses and of course great food tastings.

But just before I take you with me to the people we met and tell what we saw, you should know that the new gate complex offers a variety of free activities; Every Wednesday there are lectures and shows in an enriching and fascinating cultural evening, and on Thursdays from 17:00 to 20:30 there are children’s plays, street shows, creative workshops and a variety of activities for the whole family.

The details of the events can be found on the website

So what and who should you not miss on a tour of the new gate?

Just 120 meters from the entrance, on the left side awaits the beautiful shop of George and Doreen Sandroni, who create works of art and Armenian ceramics – from tiles to large ornaments. They sit together and produce there according to tradition, without any modern technology and innovations, breathtaking tools, for 40 years. We just stood and stared at the family girls sitting and coloring with ease and with amazing precision every millimeter in the vessel. It’s fascinating.

The beautiful store of George and Doreen Sandroni (photo: Mittal Sharabi)The beautiful store of George and Doreen Sandroni (photo: Mittal Sharabi)

This is an amazing family business, and if you ask George – he will happily tell you his story. Moreover, you can also enjoy a two- to three-hour workshop, choose the vessel you want, paint it according to the Armenian tradition with the help of close instruction, and receive your vessel home after a week, after they take care of burning it in the oven. And the big advantage? Even if you want a personal workshop – they do. So you don’t have to organize a group. The workshop costs NIS 150.

You will get more details in a conversation with George: 050-5991121

From there we continued straight and left to Elia Khaojian’s “Photo Elia”. A small and magical shop that is all a celebration of photography and historical photos of the Land of Israel. You will find there pictures from 1860 until today. This amazing institution was founded by Elia, a survivor of the Armenian holocaust, who at the age of 5 had 163 members of his family murdered in front of his eyes. The Americans, who collected the orphans and scattered them in orphanages around the world, brought him to Nazareth, where he grew up until his youth.

One of his teachers at the orphanage was a photographer and that’s how he learned the trade, and in the store you can find photos he took from 1920 onwards. At the age of 16, he moved to Jerusalem, opened his photography business, which burned down in the 1948 riots. Luckily, he was warned in advance and thus he saved his photographs. In 1949, he reopened the business at 14 Ma’alot Al-Hanka St. and they have been there ever since.

As soon as you enter, the vinegary smell of film development is in the air, and you can’t help but get carried away by the magic. The grandfather died at the age of 89, and since then the grandson has been managing the place. It’s amazing to experience history through the pictures – from Zev Jabotinsky to Rabbi Kook and other founders of the country – this place is a must on your visit.

If you arrange with him in advance, you can enjoy a fascinating 20-minute lecture (just keep in mind that at 12:20 in the afternoon he leaves to pick up the children and returns around 1:30), and if you want an amazing gift – the pictures there are absolutely perfect and exciting gifts. More details: 02-6282074

On our guided tour we were also able to enjoy a visit to the Church of the Sepulcher and hear the fascinating stories behind it, eat what is known as “kebab from the wall” at “Kebab E-Sha’ab”, get to know a spice and medicinal plant shop and many other magical local businesses – so be alert to the environment and maybe you will find a hidden culinary gem .

Tour of New Jerusalem in Jerusalem (photo: Mittal Sherbi)Tour of New Jerusalem in Jerusalem (photo: Mittal Sherbi)

From there we went to the Jerusalem “Inbal” hotel for a short refreshment. There is no doubt that it is one of my favorite hotels in Jerusalem, and one that also offers a pool – which is great in the heat of the summer. The hotel is large, spacious, and the staff is great, and the restaurant services there are excellent, if you are looking for a place to eat, and the breakfast is also incredibly rich and delicious.

After a short rest, we decided to experience the “OtoOchel” fair – a culinary fair of the Jerusalem chefs, which will be held until August 25, on Tuesdays through Thursdays, from 18:00-23:00, at Ben Hinnom Valley.

Auto-food (Photo: Noam Romano)Auto-food (Photo: Noam Romano)

What was waiting for us at the fair? Colorful food trucks (food trucks) that are divided into two areas – meat and dairy. In addition, there is a central stage with a DJ, a wonderful and cool evening air and a celebration atmosphere. Among the restaurants you can find: “Angelica”, “Jacko Street”, “1868”, “Luciana”, “Fringe”, “Rachel Besdra”, “Fiori”, “Segav”, “Kedma Mamilla “, “Daviny”, “Iron Bar”, “Talvia”, “Schmeltz”, “Ishtabah”, “Burger Rum”, “Asada Camp”, “Daviny”, “Lara”, “The Canaanite”, “Zuni”, ” Tommy’s”, “Jaco Sun”, “Fringe”, “Joy” and more.

And the prices? 30-40 shekels per portion. As far as the vegetarians are concerned – don’t expect good news, the emphasis is mainly on meat dishes. If you are a fan of asado, you can totally breathe easy, because you will find quite a few variations of it there.

Besides food with a Jerusalem touch, you can enjoy the fun atmosphere, and if you are already in the area – go enjoy a light and fun time under the sky, with a cold beer. The project is an initiative of the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage, the Jerusalem Municipality, the Jerusalem Development Authority and produced by Kfiim. It is only important to note that there is no parking lot next to the complex, so check Wise for the nearest parking lot. 

Food at the New Gate in Jerusalem (Photo: Mittal Sharabi)Food at the New Gate in Jerusalem (Photo: Mittal Sharabi)

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