Lifta – off the beaten path short hike in Jerusalem

Hike in Jerusalem? looking to do something different in your spare time in Jerusalem? A less touristy place? Located less than a 10 min walk from the Central Bus Station of Jerusalem on the slopes of a gorge of Sorek Stream.

Not far from the city center, but once you are thereת you suddenly feel in a different place. Immersed in nature, not in the middle of the biggest city in Israel. 

Ok, so what is exactly this hidden gem of Jerusalem?

Some Background of Lifta:

The place is mentioned for the first time in the scriptures in the book of Joshua as the border between the tribe of Judea and the tribe of Benjamin. In the  19th century, it was a village of Arab farmers that inhabitant around 700 people.

1948 War

%d7%97%d7%9c%d7%95%d7%9f-%d7%9e%d7%a8%d7%a4%d7%a1%d7%aaIn the Israel war for independence in 1948, some of the Arab villages who were hostile to Jews were abandoned as a result of the conflict. One of those villages was Lifta.

The village had a history of bad relations and a hostile approach towards the Jews. The village took part of the 1929 massacre of the Jews in Jerusalem and in the Arab revolt in 1936-1939. On the other hand, some of the Arabs from the village had good relations with their Jewish neighbors.

The village of Abu Gosh which is not far remained neutral during the war and its people were allowed to stay and today they are Israeli citizens with very good relations with the Jews around them.

The Village Today

The village of Lifta was inhabited by Jewish immigrants from Yemen and Kurdistan in the 50's and was abandoned again in the 80's because of the poor conditions there. Today it’s a nature reserve.

You can stroll between the abandon buildings, explore the inside and value these old stone buildings that were built with delicate care. You can find a lot of fruit trees in the areas from fig trees to pomegranate to Sabra cactus.

The Spring of Lifta

The main attraction for the locals is the spring. You see, in Jerusalem we don’t have beaches.  In the hot summer days, people like to go to one of the many springs around and chill, bringing guitars, a stove for making coffee and cookies.

There is a "spring culture" in Israel,  among the outdoor people, there is a hidden competition who is familiar with more springs and knows how to find them. There are even books and websites about springs!

Desperate beach-less people go hiking in Jerusalem mountains looking for tiny pools...

jerusalem beach
Jerusalem's beach

The spring derives deep inside the ridge and there is a man-made tunnel that leads to the source. The water flows to a man-made pool where people can bath. The water is cold, clear and refreshing. The pool itself might be murky in the summer.

You can enter the tunnel and go around 70 meters inside. Make sure you have a flashlight, it's completely dark inside. You can go barefoot although with sandals it will be more comfortable.

In the summer days, you'll see a lot of people chilling at the pool and around it, especially during Fridays. If you'll be there in the middle of the week or Saturday mornings good chances it will be less crowded.

It might look like that for1-2 days a year.
you can see the tunnel entrance behind the pool.

How do I get to Lifta?

To start your short hike in Jerusalem go to the tram bridge at Jerusalem western entrance ( yeah, the big thing that looks like..).
On the MAP

Wait wait! I came on a camel from the Dead Sea, how do I get to the bridge that looks like...?

Follow the pics:

 

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