Most major cities boasting a university campus are usually blessed with a botanical garden - an offshoot of the university's botany research department. As with many things connected to the Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, here, there are two.
Planting of the garden on Mount Scopus began in 1931, according to a plan prepared by botany department head, Professor Alexander Eig, and it was to display the flora of Israel and adjacent areas. This is also where the Biblical Zoo was first opened.
Today, it contains a large collection of wild Israeli plants. The site is the location of a 2000-year old burial cave discovered in 1902, sporting the inscription: “bones of Nicanor of Alexandria who made the gate,” in reference to a wealthy Second Temple Jerusalemite who donated the bronze and copper gate to the Temple Courtyard. It also serves as the burial place of writer Yehuda Pinsker and Zionist activist Menachem Usishkin.
Following the War of Independence and upon the division of Jerusalem, a new garden was established in 1962, adjacent to the Givat Ram Campus, which had been dedicated eight years earlier. This landscaped garden was originally located near the National Library; but the limited size of the garden and the university's development needs soon required it be moved.
In 1985 - 13 years after the original plans were presented - the new garden was opened to the public, initially spread over 16,000 square meters bordering the south-eastern edge of the campus and adjacent to the “avenue of museums” that begins with the Israel Museum opposite the Knesset. Planned by renowned architect Shlomo Aharonson, it was a collaborative effort of the university, the Jerusalem Municipality, the JNF, the Jerusalem Foundation, the Kaplan Foundation and the specially established Friends of the Botanical Gardens Society.
Today, the original North American conifers grove is surrounded by plants from all over the world, arranged in the Australian, Central Asian, Mediterranean, African and European section. In addition there is an herb garden, a tropical house and a nursery. The Gardens harbor the largest living plant collection in Israel – more than 10000 species. Its visitor's center houses the administration of what is now an independent legal. The Garden's activities include tours, gardening and botanical courses, children workshops, exhibitions and special events.
The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens
Entrance from Burla st., Nayot
Tel: +972-2-6794012 /3
Opening hours of the Gardens all week:
07:00 to sunset
The Tropical Conservatory is open:
Sunday to Thursday 10:00-15:00
Fridays, Saturdays, Holiday Eves, Jewish Festivals 10:00-14:00
English Thursday 11:00
Sunday-Thursday 10:00 – 14:00
(included in entrance fee)
(on the hour for 10 visitors)
The article is courtesy of the Jerusalem Tourism Authority http://tour.jerusalem.muni.il