Dedication of an Archaeological Garden in the Israel Knesset (5/4/09)

Tomorrow - Tuesday, May 5, 2009, the Speaker of the Knesset, Mr. Reuven Rivlin wil dedicate, together with the Israel Antiquities Authority, a very special archaeological garden dubbed “Peace be within thy Palaces – Jerusalem Antiquities at the Israel Knesset”. Within the framework of its activity, the Israel Antiquities Authority provides artifacts from different excavations to archaeological exhibitions throughout the country and abroad, for the purpose of acquainting the public with Israel’s cultural heritage.

The garden was constructed with the aim of strengthening the ties between the present and the past. It will serve as a place where one can get away from the bustling activities of the Knesset for a moment of observation, relaxation and reflection and it will be open to the public; admission is free upon prior arrangement with the Knesset. The exhibition is divided into six different enclosures that range in date from the Second Temple period until the Ottoman period. At each station a special historical-archaeological story is displayed that characterizes Jerusalem by means of archaeological exhibits which illustrate each period and breathe new life into the history of Jerusalem. The construction of the garden, which took approximately one year, was made possible through a generous donation by Saul A. Fox and his family.

The fifty architectural artifacts in the garden, almost all of which are being shown for the first time, impart a broad picture of the architectural construction in Jerusalem over the years, some of which is even documented in written sources. A few of the buildings or their remains constitute an inseparable part of the city’s fabric in the present. All of the exhibits were discovered in surveys and in archaeological excavations that were begun in the nineteenth century and continue to this very day.

The artifacts underwent extensive conservation treatment by experts of the Israel Antiquities Authority and some of them are very heavy necessitating cranes and trucks in order to build the garden. The heaviest item – a stone from the Temple Mount wall from the Second Temple period – weighs five tons. Also on display is an olive press, ancient inscriptions, large impressive mosaics, a large Ottoman sabil (drinking installation), etc.
The visitor’s path allows convenient access for the handicapped. The flora was selected in accordance with the different parts of the garden and includes plants that are characteristic of the Land of Israel in ancient times.
The exhibition and the benches that are scattered throughout the garden, alongside the diverse vegetation, create a shady place and a special atmosphere.
Exhibition curator – Dr. Hava Katz of the Israel Antiquities Authority
Garden architect - Nahum Meltzer
exhibit designer:  Ronit Lombrozo

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