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Hooray for Kikkar Tzahal

by michael October 12 2007
Municipal news

It's been there seemingly forever, an apparently permanent part of the Jerusalem landscape.

It's an eyesore so long-lived that its presence has almost become a sort of a comfort.

But now it's gone.

The interminable renovation of Kikkar Tzahal, the public square outside the walls of the Old City at the beginning of the pedestrian footpath leading into Jaffa Gate, has finally reached a close. No longer will the metal construction fences and rocks and dust and orange plastic distract from what is supposed to be the quintessential view of Jerusalem, the Old City's mighty walls dominated by the Tower of David. No longer will pedestrians be forced to take oddly circuitous routes to arrive to the Old City from downtown by foot. No longer will Jerusalem's residents be taunted by the large municipality-installed poster of the soon-to-be renewed Kikkar Tzahal and its probably never-to-be light rail. It is finished.

Don't you already kind of miss it?

The ribbon-cutting ceremony, presided over by mayor Uri Lupolianski, took place a few days ago on the ninth, and was attended by a gallery of leading lights in the Jerusalem architecture community, including Moshe Safdie, the renowned architect infamous in Israel for coasting on his reputation by marring the landscape with huge, terrifyingly moderne Transformers-esque apartment blocks and ill-conceived municipal development plans like the Jerusalem Forest-threatening and mostly unnecessary westward expansion of the city. But Jerusalemite must give the man credit. He puts together a nice square.

So go visit the renewed Kikkar Tzahal today - before they decide to tear it up again.
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