Jerusalem sees the light
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Photo essay

Jerusalem sees the light

The capital's Light Festival, illuminating the walls and byways of the Old City, is understandably drawing big crowds. You've got till Thursday to be dazzled

  • 'Nomad Flowers,' designed by Gilbert Moity, are strung along Umar Ibn al-Khattab Square (photo credit: Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
    'Nomad Flowers,' designed by Gilbert Moity, are strung along Umar Ibn al-Khattab Square (photo credit: Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
  • Spectators gaze at 'Spirit Light of the Forest,' created in Montreal by Lucion Media. Located in front of Jaffa Gate, seven huge bubbles come together to form a mosaic of light and shadow (photo credit: Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
    Spectators gaze at 'Spirit Light of the Forest,' created in Montreal by Lucion Media. Located in front of Jaffa Gate, seven huge bubbles come together to form a mosaic of light and shadow (photo credit: Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
  • Part of the "Spirit Light of the Forest" piece, created in Montreal (photo credit: Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
    Part of the "Spirit Light of the Forest" piece, created in Montreal (photo credit: Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
  • The 'Prima Ballerina' dances against the background of the Old City walls. Covered in LED lighting, the life-size doll recreates the acts of an ordinary jewelry box ballerina, with soft music to accompany her dance (photo credit: Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
    The 'Prima Ballerina' dances against the background of the Old City walls. Covered in LED lighting, the life-size doll recreates the acts of an ordinary jewelry box ballerina, with soft music to accompany her dance (photo credit: Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
  • Nestled in Hurva Square, an illuminated pyramid titled 'Pyramid of Light,' by Heinz Kasper, is transparent and made of thousands of plastic bottles (photo credit: Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
    Nestled in Hurva Square, an illuminated pyramid titled 'Pyramid of Light,' by Heinz Kasper, is transparent and made of thousands of plastic bottles (photo credit: Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
  • Local merchants take the opportunity to engage with light show participants, selling beads, lamps and other shiny, light-related objects (photo credit: Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
    Local merchants take the opportunity to engage with light show participants, selling beads, lamps and other shiny, light-related objects (photo credit: Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
  • Part of the “Light in the Shadow” exhibit by artist Dan Groover, guests can read inscriptions carved on multiple mirrors and light fixtures (photo credit: Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
    Part of the “Light in the Shadow” exhibit by artist Dan Groover, guests can read inscriptions carved on multiple mirrors and light fixtures (photo credit: Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
  • 'I'm a violin' strikes a chord outside the Old City walls, on the grass incline above Damascus Gate (photo credit: Times of Israel staff)
    'I'm a violin' strikes a chord outside the Old City walls, on the grass incline above Damascus Gate (photo credit: Times of Israel staff)
  • Damascus Gate remade as 'The Tree of Life,' by Heinz Kasper (photo credit: Times of Israel staff)
    Damascus Gate remade as 'The Tree of Life,' by Heinz Kasper (photo credit: Times of Israel staff)

It’s the fourth year of Jerusalem’s Light Festival, where visitors can stroll along three different routes through the Old City, gazing upon exhibits large and small, subtle and unpredictable that focus on light — its refraction, reflection, projection and endless creative manipulation.

Each route takes about 30 minutes to walk, and being dazzled earlier in the immediate aftermath of nightfall is better than later, as the crowds tend to grow from 9 p.m., making it more difficult to get a good view.

This year’s favorites include the light cave at the end of the Green Line and the “Spirit Light of the Forest,” the bubble light piece just outside Jaffa Gate where giggling folks of all ages are photographing each other in weird silhouette form. On Greek Orthodox Patriarchate Rd, the Blue Line’s assortment of ghostly projections — a spider’s web, a manic organist, and all manner of other eerie apparitions with suitably startling soundtracks — is seriously discomfiting when encountered by the unprepared.

It also pays to make your way to the end of the White Line, where the light show at the Western Wall shows off the massive stones of the ancient walls in all their glory.

Jerusalem Light Festival, through June 13; entrance is free.

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