Of all the annual cultural events, festivals and public spectacles in Jerusalem, Batim MiBifnim/Houses From Within stands alone. To those lovers of Jerusalem who have been before, it is one of the most anticipated events of the year, while to many others it remains one of the most overlooked treasures in the city’s cultural calendar.
Every year, over the course of a weekend, scores of Jerusalem public buildings, institutions and private homes open their doors to visitors. Many even offer guided tours. And best of all, the entire event is free of charge!
This year’s event is scheduled for this coming weekend — October 25-27, 2012. The offerings are spread throughout the city, and cover a wide array of subjects. There are tours in nature, visits to current construction sites (such as the tunnel for the upcoming Jerusalem-Tel Aviv high-speed train, pictured above), a number of buildings that are typically closed (such as the former Hansen Leper Hospital), many churches and church-owned properties, and lots more.
I’ve been going through the schedule, highlighting the ones that both interest me the most, and are the most easily accessible so I can hit as many of these tours as possible. A few of the open houses that most appeal to me: The former Templer Community House at the end of Emek Refaim Street in the German Colony, a historic private home in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, the Old Train Station (currently under renovation and redevelopment as a commercial area) and walking tours of the Musrara and Rehavia neighborhoods. Now I just have to schedule and map them all out and hope I can hit as many as I’d like.
Click the link above to check the schedule. If you’d like to join me, let me know! And either way, I highly recommend this event for all who are able to attend!
NOTE: Most tours are in Hebrew, but many locations are open for self-guiding, and are worth visiting without taking the tours.