Jerusalem attractions category

Katamon


Jerusalem Attractions  - 111

About

Throughout Israel, the sleepy Jerusalem neighborhood of Katamon has become famous as a consequence of being the backdrop for the popular TV show Srugim. But before this idyllic corner of the Holy City rose to fame, it was already the setting for the romantic dramas now so intriguing to the rest of the country. Katamon is best known as a destination for Orthodox Jewish singles, both native Israelis and immigrants, who share apartments throughout the neighborhood, go on marriage-minded dates, and sometimes experience disappointment and heartbreak along the way. But there are other facets to this historic Jerusalem neighborhood beyond the notorious singles scene. Katamon's history predates the 1948 war, its homes once belonging to prosperous Christian Arab residents.

 

During the Seige of Jerusalem, Katamon's strategic location between two besieged areas caused it to become the site of intense fighting. To this day, several streets in Katamon are now named for military groups and events from that period in history. The name Katamon is Greek for "below the monastery," due to the San Simon monastery located in the neighborhood. The Hebrew name for Katamon, "Gonen," is featured on some street signs, but almost never used in conversation. Now it is hard to imagine that warfare ever marred the tranquility of this area, which is bounded on one side by the equally peaceful, equally upscale neighborhoods of the German Colony and Talbiyeh, and on the other by its sister neighborhood Katamonim, which is a something of a hardscrabble working class area. Most residents of the Holy City live in apartment buildings, even some of the most affluent; in Katamon are some of the few magnificent houses in Jerusalem, beautiful and entwined with the history of the city, often bordered with gardens and trees.

 

The birds that annually pass through Jerusalem on their way across the Rift from Asia to Africa find shelter in these trees, filling the branches with exotic birdsong. Two of Jerusalem's most popular cultural attractions can also be found in Katamon: The Jerusalem Theater, which features performances on an international level, and the Museum of Islamic Art, which contains a fine collection of medieval artifacts that relate to the history of Islam and an outstanding horological collection.

Facilities
  • Free entry

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