Every native Jerusalemite most likely knows of the spring called Ein Lavan. On hot days the spring is like a magnet and people are drawn to it to swim in its refreshing water. It is fairly close to the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo so take advantage of your visit there to take the kids to visit the zoo. We are not talking about an extreme hike but merely a good opportunity to spend some quality time with the family in the bosom of nature.
How to Get There
At the entrance to Jerusalem turn right to the Herzl Blvd. toward Har (Mount) Herzl. Turn left at the second traffic light and immediately turn right again to the “Begin Darom” highway. Continue straight on this route until you reach the Golomb Junction (the end of the road). At the traffic light on this junction continue straight passed the lights, pass the Malcha Mall (it should be on your right-hand side) and turn right toward Gush Ezyon via the Walaja (toward Yitzhak Moda’i St.). Continue driving straight, crossing a large roundabout, continue straight on, and turn left to the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo (the turn is marked with a signpost). You can park there and pop in at the zoo for a visit.
Directions to get there using public transportation: you can take a No. 26 bus from Mount Scopus via the Jerusalem Central Bus Station; No. 33 from Har Nof and Bait VeGan, and the Egged’s 99 circular bus line – through Jerusalem. You can also catch a train to the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo.
The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
The Biblical Zoo started out as a little zoo in 1940 in Harav Kook St. in Jerusalem. In 1947 it was relocated to Mount Scopus but due the suffering that the War of Independence inflicted upon the animals it was relocated again to the Romema neighborhood. For more than 40 years it was located there until it was reopened in 1993 in its current location. The zoo covers an area of 250 dunams [62 acres]. Each animal is situated in a unique display with biblical references to the particular animal, and this is the reason that it is called the Biblical Zoo. A few animals in the zoo have become extinct from the landscape of Israel, and there are plans to return them to nature, for example, the fallow deer and the oryx.
Sun. to Thurs. 09:00 AM – 07:00 PM; Fri. 09:00 AM – 04:30 PM; Sat. 10:00 AM – 18:00 PM.
Children (age 3 – 18) NIS 34; adults (above 18) – NIS42; soldiers, senior citizens, disabled visitors, disabled IDF veteran – NIS 34.
For more details please click here.
How to Get to Ein Lavan
At the lower end of the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo's car park is a blue in the footpath marking map which is called “Nadav road” after Nadav Elad, a warrior in the Demolitions and Engineering Battalion who was killed during an operation in Hebron. Nadav’s family maintains the road and pool to commemorate his name. A short drive, or a 20 minute walk, along the dirt road will bring you to the footpath that ascends rightward to the spring (it takes 2 minutes). There are clear signs that direct you to the spring and nearby is a dumpster (for your use…) A visit to the spring during the early morning hours increases your chances of enjoying a more intimate visit.
Many changes have been going on around the Ein Lavan area over the last several years as part of a long restoration process. The site was declared a national park and ever since then terraces were arranged here, trees were planted, access footpaths were paved, and a wading pool for little children was inaugurated. What else does a person need during the hot days of July other than some fig and almond trees, a pool with some cool water, and green surroundings? Perhaps a watermelon…
The emanating water drains from a short tunnel and an aqueduct to a 8 x 4 m pool. The water in the large pools has a depth of 1.5 m and some people jump in to the water from the higher edge of the pool, but anyone jumping in does so at their own risk …Not far from the pool burial systems dated to the Iron Age and the Second Temple were found. Click here for a sequence of historical periods.
The spring water served the inhabitants of the Al Walaja hamlet that was located on this bank of the Refaim Stream until 1948, when it was moved by the Jordanians to the other bank. Today the stream is named after the mountain range from which it emanates - the Lavan Range (which is called this due to its bright limestone) which is part of the Sorek Range, one of the extended mountain ranges that reach westward from Jerusalem to the Judean Lowlands. On the opposite side of the range is large number of springs, some of which are described in the Sa'adim Ruins and Tunnel Springs in Jerusalem Mountains route.
The Ein Lavan spring has other names as well – Ein El ‘Ulik (the blackberries) and Ein Egozim (after a small walnut plantation that was planted near it). South of the spring one can see the streambed of the Refaim Stream and the revived railroad.
Train to Jerusalem
In 1892 the whistle of the train was heard here for the first time, and as a matter of fact, it was the first whistle ever to be heard in the Middle East of this technological marvel called the train. The ride from Jaffa Station to Jerusalem lasted 4 hours although the distance was only 82 km [50 miles], but back then, nobody thought about complaining. Actually, the arrival of the train to Jerusalem evoked such a huge amount of enthusiasm and interest that even Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the “reviver” of Hebrew language, published a poem about it in his newspaper Chawatzelet:
Behold ye masses of the people:
The steam boiler when it roars
Is Enlightenment defeating
Over laziness snores
Wisdom over nonsense
Progression over regression
Mind over mindless obsession
The sportive keen soul
Over a bitter devilish devour
The triumph of a new enlightened generation
Over folly-mongers in an age-old nation
Jerusalem, delight your reclaim,
Enlightenment is on the rails again!
In 1998 the Tel-Aviv-Jerusalem passenger line stopped running due to difficult maintenance problems. Prior to being closed down, only a single daily passenger train and occasionally a few freight-trains operated on this line, thus, closing it down didn't cause any operative or commercial damage. However, the symbolic importance of the line, the first railroad line in the country, built up hopes that the Israel Railways would find the budget to upgrade the line soon with new features that would allow it to reopen and start running again. On June 13, 2001 Ephraim Sneh, the Minister of Transport, decided to immediately upgrade the old line to Jerusalem simultaneous to planning the fast new line through Modi’in and Ben Gurion Airport (the A1 line which as of summer 2010 is far from completion ). In April 2003 the upgrade cost was estimated at 420 million dollars. The upgraded line is only a single track along its entire length and the project was divided into two parts: first, the 22-km line between the Na'an Junction and Beit-Shemesh Station was upgraded and it included the restoration of some bridges, building a working station (an over-taking station for train-meeting) at the historical Sorek Stream Station, and aligning the railroad route on the interchange with the Cross-Israel Highway, and other such alignment work for grade-separation-built interchanges. Second, the Beit-Shemsh-Jerusalem segment. The original Jerusalem line used to end at “The Khan” (approximately 36 km) and now it has two working stations: at Bar Giora and Beitar, both of which were built on existing older working stations. Another two new passenger stations were built in Malha and the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo.
In April 9, 2005 the Malha Station was ceremoniously inaugurated and the former prime-minister, Mr. Ariel Sharon, rode on the first train to travel on the renewed Jerusalem-Tel-Aviv railroad.
The current travel time of the Tel-Aviv-Jerusalem line is 1:40 hour which does not meet with the transportation needs of the Capital.
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