For those who are not familiar with the concept, Open House is a worldwide project which started in London in 1992 and showcases architecturally interesting building for the general public, free of charge. Open House Jerusalem started in 2007 and this year will take place over the weekend of November 4-5th, 2011.
Also called “Houses from Within”, the Jerusalem weekend will feature over 100 interesting houses, public buildings, historical monuments and unique apartments – all distinct in their architectural design. Many also have the option for a tour, either giving the history or the architectural and technological significance of the building. The event allows people to explore the hidden gems of the holy city from ancient ruins to contemporary buildings.
The open houses this year range from the Mormon University on Mt Scopus with its breathtaking views of the Old City and the Mt of Olives to the Jerusalem Bird Observatory behind the Knesset, and Beit Avi Chai on King George (reservations required) where you can also enjoy the cafe run by La Cuisine. In the City Center you can visit the offices on law firm Yigal Arnon, the Museum of Italian Jewish Art and the Jerusalem Municipality (Iriah) – all require reservations. Also worth a visit is the Museum of the Underground Prisoners in the Russian Compound and for the keen bikers amongst you check out the 3 bike tours on offer, including one on Motzei Shabbat.
Highlights in the Rehavia– Talbia area include Villa Schocken designed by Erich Mendelsohn on Rehov Smolenskin next to the Prime Minister’s House, the newly renovated Jallat Villa on Rehov Alkalki and The President`s Shack on Rehov Abarbanel. Head over to the German Colony and Baka to Jerusalem’s Old Power Plant on Derech Bet Lechem and private homes on Rehov Harakevet and Rehov Barak.
Other more industrial sites include The Electric Company`s Headquarters in Givat Shaul and the site where the train tunnel is being excavated for the Jerusalem to Tel Aviv train line.