What defines a city’s culture? Who influences the way that culture is promoted in the city? What is the connection between London and Jerusalem?
At the new Tower of David exhibit “London in Jerusalem” you will learn how the period of the British Mandate from 1917 -1948 had a strong cultural influence on the growth of the city of Jerusalem and how the “flavor” of the leisure culture of the city today can be traced back to those times.
During the British Mandate the soldiers stationed in Jerusalem brought their love of sports, cinema and art to the city. Street cafes, sports culture, art & cultural events began to flourish during that time. This is the time when the famous “Atara’s” cafe opened in the city center.
Did you know that there were more cinemas in the city during that time period than there are today? More than 18 independent cinema houses showing international films. This is also the time period when the YMCA opened on King David street and brought sports culture and spectator sports to the city.
The “London in Jerusalem” Catalog
Before beginning your visit of the new exhibit, I highly recommend purchasing the exhibit catalogue, available as a coffee table book or as an online PDF. The stories and old black and white pictures in the catalog explain how the British officers influenced Jerusalem. It reads like a novel connecting landmarks you can still find in Jerusalem today to cultural & historical venues.
Why the Tower of David?
The Tower of David is the perfect venue to host this exhibit because it was during the British Mandate that Sir Ronalds Storrs decided that the Tower should no longer be a military site but should be used as a heritage center for cultural activities and a museum. One of the first events to take place there was a flower show followed by evening galas and art exhibitions. many of these events brought together Arabs, Christians and Jews.
Too busy to read? Just click the play button to listen to our BITE SIZE interview with Caroline Shapiro from Tower of David?
The Exhibit includes
- A “coffee shop” displaying old black and white pictures on interactive screens at the tables.
- A reconstructed version of Finks Bar one of the most popular social spots in Jerusalem at the time where ministers, public officials and American movie stars met when they came to Israel. Thanks to the Rothschild & Azriely family the bar has been recreated exactly as it was then. Sometimes is a great thing to save knick knacks from history.
- Cinema showing some of the black and white movies popular during that period
- Interactive Swing Dancing exhibit
- Old Newspaper clippings
- Piano in the Living room
- Recording of the first radio broadcast of the Palestine Broadcast Service from Jerusalem in Hebrew, English and Arabic. “This is Jerusalem Calling”.
The exhibit does not focus on the political situation or the role the British played in pre state Israel at the time. That’s not the purpose of the exhibit. The purpose of the exhibit is to show the visitor how many British influences we have today in our cultural life in Jerusalem.
The exhibit was curated by Liat Margalit and Inbar Dror Lax.
FUN TIP: The catalog book is filled with old pictures of Jerusalem from the time of the British Mandate. Play a game with your kids – try to figure out where the picture was taken. By noticing small details in the pictures you will be able to spot the YMCA, Kikar Zion and even the old soccer field in the German Colony.
Additional Summer Activities and Exhibits
Rock Paper Scissors – an exhibit by International Armenian artist Karen Sargsyan a world renowned paper artist. This exhibit created especially for the Tower of David includes 3 dimensional figures depicting King David, King Solomon, King Herod, The Queen of Sheba, Anna Ticho, Eliezer Ben Yehuda and others.
The installation will be exhibited in the ancient citadel and the archeological garden. The Tower of David also has a full schedule of summer kids activities – paper cutting, collage and paper workshops.
Amazing Race – a game for the whole family
A competitive game about the decisive events that took place in Jerusalem and the city’s various cultures and rulers. Participants climb up the lookout towers, discover hidden passages, become
acquainted with the citadel and understand the complexity and importance of Jerusalem.
The game requires creative thinking, riddle solving skills and the execution of tasks that lead to the treasure. 2 hours. By advanced reservation only.
Still have a question about the Tower of David activities? Contact the Tower.