The Jerusalem Triangle

 

The Jerusalem Triangle is the nickname for the downtown neighborhood bordered by Ben Yehuda Street, King George V Street and Jaffa road. These streets combine to form the downtown triangle which has been a central part of West Jerusalem's culture since the 1920s.

The Jerusalem Triangle compound itself is 29,000 square meters in size, and it includes the external streets and several alleyways- such as Luntz Street, Ha'Histadrut Street, Ben Hillel Street, Yavatz Street and Dorot Rishonim Street.

Most of the buildings in this compound were built during the British Mandate period. The British, who shied away from the Old City, decided to construct a modern compound which would house the various government offices, businesses, shops and more. They purchased this area- then mostly fields and vineyards from the Greek Orthodox Church, one of the biggest landowners in Jerusalem at the time.

Jaffa road had long been a busy thoroughfare, linking the Old City of Jerusalem with the highway to Tel Aviv. The British added Ben Yehuda Street in 1922, and paved King George V Street in 1924, thus completing the form of the triangle.

In 1982, the Jerusalem Municipality voted to turn Ben Yehuda Street into a pedestrian mall, shutting it down for traffic. This led to a revival of the area, allowing for free movement of pedestrians and clean air and quiet in the heart of the city. From this time on, the residents of Jerusalem referred to the street as the "Midrehov"- Hebrew for pedestrian mall.

More recently, Jaffa road has also become a pedestrian haven, making the majority of downtown Jerusalem into a large pedestrian mall.

Mostly a commercial area, these streets and the surrounding alleyways are all pedestrian malls, lined with shops, cafes, restaurants and more. While in the past this was the main area for shopping and commerce in the city of Jerusalem, it has been joined by many others. Jerusalem residents still flock here for shopping and dining, and they have been joined by many tourists who enjoy the traffic free streets and the many choices for food and pastimes.

During the day, many street performers and musicians line these streets, attracting attention and providing a live soundtrack to the hustle and bustle of this urban focal point. Souvenir shops offer tourists and visitors many options to take home a slice of Jerusalem.

While some of the shops and restaurants are open seven days a week, most of the Jerusalem Triangle closes down for the Jewish Sabbath on Friday evening. On Saturday night, the businesses reopen, and this becomes a popular Saturday night hangout for Jerusalem residents and tourists alike.

The newly constructed Jerusalem light rail stops on Jaffa Road, just outside the compound, making it highly accessible from any part of the city. The Jerusalem Triangle is also a short walk from many Jerusalem hotels, and approximately 5 minutes away from Jaffa Gate and the Old City walls.