Jerusalem is again hosting its main cultural, city-wide event during the first three weekends in December, 4-6, 11-13 and 18-20. The event is known as Hamshushalayim – a combination of Hamshush, which is Hebrew slang for the long Israeli weekend which stretches from Thursday to Saturday, and Jerusalem.
Tourists and visitors will enjoy free or very low-cost entry to a slew of tourist and cultural attractions in the city, including the Israel Museum, the Science Museum, the Bible Lands Museum, the Museum of Italian Jewry, the Museum of Islamic Art, the Tower of David Museum, the City of David, the Davidson Center and the Old City Walls Promenade. Many of the sites will host live performances, attractions and special activities that are unique to Hamshushalayim, such as the a-capella concert in the Shrine of the Book and live jazz beneath the Temple Mount.
Many sites, museums and places of entertainment will remain open on Thursday nights till the early hours of the morning. In addition, there will be hundreds of special guided walking tours, many free of charge, and some in English. Tours on Saturday are suitable for the Sabbath-observant.
Hamshushalayim 2008 also includes a giant culinary festival, with dozens of the city’s leading restaurants, cafes and pubs offering fixed-price menus for 62 NIS (£10) and 92 NIS (£15) per person, as well as Happy Hour on Saturday evenings. Other gourmet events will also take place throughout the city. About 20 Jerusalem hotels will also offer special rates over the three weekends.
Detailed information on the Hamshushalayim 2008 programme is available from the Tourist Information Office inside the Jaffa Gate (00972 2 6280403; 00972 2 6271422; 000972 2 6276429.), which will be open for extended hours on the Thursday, or from www.jerusalem.muni.il