Sunday 24 January 2010

The Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv. The whole land at one view ..........

There are many museums in Israel dedicated to specific themes: art, cities, archaeology etc, but there can be few museums with such a wide variety of exhibits as the Eretz Israel Museum in northern Tel Aviv. Archaeology, Judaica, Ethnography, History, Culture, Arts and Crafts; each is shown in pavilions and outdoor settings to its best advantage.

The centre of the museum ‘park’ is Tel Qasile, an ancient Philistine site which has been extensively excavated, but you can also see the ‘Man and His Work’ Centre, with the tools and implements used in ancient times, usually accompanied by a reference from Jewish sacred texts (Tanach, Talmud, Midrash), right up to more modern times. One of the most amazing sights is to stand facing south at the ‘dig’ site with the Philistine settlement in front of you and the skyscrapers of Tel Aviv in the background. Three thousand years of occupation in one view!

The Craftsmen’s Arcade, a reconstruction of an oriental bazaar, might give you the chance to watch traditional workmen and women weaving, glass blowing and sitting at the potter’s wheel whilst in the Nechushtan Pavilion you can see how copper was mined and smelted in the Timna area from earliest times. Reconstructed diggings show how Egyptians and others toiled in unbelievable conditions to win the precious metal ore.

With a landscape garden featuring a wine press, an olive oil press and water powered flour mill, examples of almost every ancient native plant and tree in the Land of Israel, fountains, ancient mosaics and other fascinating items, the Eretz Israel Museum is undoubtedly a very special location and well worth your visit.

Located at 2 Rechov Chaim Levanon on the campus of Tel Aviv University, the museum is in the northern suburbs of Tel Aviv.

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