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Jerusalem plays host to city-wide open house

Houses from Within tours kick off this weekend, offering inside views of many of the capital’s best-known homes and institutions

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Exploring the public and private interiors of Jerusalem's better and lesser known buildings during the 2016 Houses from Within tour (Courtesy Houses from Within)
Exploring the public and private interiors of Jerusalem's better and lesser known buildings during the 2016 Houses from Within tour (Courtesy Houses from Within)

Houses from Within, or Batim Mibifnim, is part of the global Open House family, and it comes to Jerusalem this weekend, as homes, institutions and historic edifices open their doors to the public for three days of tours, explanations and discovery.

Starting Thursday, September 22, and held through Saturday, September 24, hundreds of Jerusalem buildings will be opened to the public, and this year, many of the open houses don’t require registration, which makes planning one’s excursion that much easier.

The Houses from Within website offers a full, 23-page downloadable schedule and description of each site, and free booklets are available at 3 Safra Square, as well as in Tel Aviv at Tola’at Sefarim in Rabin Square and Maz’e Street.

The choices of homes and tours vary widely, ranging from public and religious institutions such as the Franciscan Monastery on Mount Zion, a tour of the metal and steel works on HaNeviim Street and the new urban quarter planned at the entrance of the city (which includes a free ride on the light rail) to the gentrifying Clal Building, a tour of former movie theater spaces in downtown Jerusalem and a visit to HaMiffal, a new urban art space behind the Waldorf Astoria.

There are plenty of private homes, including some enviably well-designed spaces owned by architects, as well as Jewish Quarter apartments sitting above ancient wells or artists’ homes that double as studios.

Houses from Within tours offer the opportunity to view modern and ancient interiors in Jerusalem, from September 22-24, 2016 (Courtesy Houses from Within)
Houses from Within tours offer the opportunity to view modern and ancient interiors in Jerusalem, from September 22-24, 2016 (Courtesy Houses from Within)

There is a tour of the city’s soccer fields behind the YMCA and in Katamon, led by the Hapoel Katamon trainer, a look at the architectural history of the Inbal Hotel and a fascinating peek into the pillbox at Tchernikovsky and Herzog, along with a 3D view of the historic space.

Finish it off on Saturday night with an 8 p.m. concert at the YMCA, where you can sit on the lawn to enjoy an arrangement of songs led by the peal of bells from the YMCA bell tower.

Houses from Within, Thursday, September 22 through Saturday, September 24. Free, and no registration necessary for many tours.

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