Have some spare time? Want to do some fitness? It’s Saturday morning and you want to see the locals in their natural habitat chilling around? Want to explore an old nice monastery in a nature spot surrounded by olive trees and a cave and all in the middle of the modern city?
West of the neighborhood of Nachlaot lays a big strip nature and a park. The northern part is called “gan saker” (saker park), it’s a big lawn surrounded with a paved road. It is the place where locals come to chill, have a picnic or do sport. There are also fitness facilities here like pull-up bars and body weight machines. In the evenings you’ll see people play Ultimate Frisbee and practicing slack line.
During Shabbat at noon, the place is crowded with people doing all kind of activities from BBQ to slackline practice to ultimate Frisbee and Acro yoga.
Valley of The Cross
The part southern to the road that leads to the Israel museum is called “Emek Hamatsleva” valley of the cross. In the middle there’s a big nice monastery which was built in the 11th Century by the Georgians on the spot were supposedly the tree that was used to make Jesus cross was taken. This part was left to grow wild. it shows you how this area used to look in the past. There’s a lot of trails around between the bushes that can take you around, olive trees groves and at night you might see some of the wildlife porcupines and jackals.
According to the tradition, the monastery was built in the 6th century during the time of the byzantine empire by a Georgian king. The location of the monastery represents the place where the tree which was later was used to create Jesus cross was taken from. In the 17th century due to heavy debts, the monastery was sold to the Greek-Orthodox Church.
you can visit the monastery between:
- 10:00-18:00 during summer.
- 10:00-16:00 during winter.
- 15 ILS entry.
West of the monastery at the higher side of the slope there are places for bonfires and some archeological stuff. Next to one of the bonfire spots, there’s a cool cave which even a lot of the locals don’t know. It’s quite big with 3 halls that are big enough for you to stand.