Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Kikars of Jerusalem

They are called "round-abouts" in Britain, "traffic circles" in the USA, but here in Israel it is a "kikar" (plural is probably kikarot).

Technically kikar means "square" as in Safra Square near City Hall Jerusalem. But ..the traffic circle is well..i guess - silly me...a circle is not a square is it?   ... UNLESS, of course, it's in Israel.

Ok, here's the logic...i think!.  A public square is where people gather, nachon?  so...a traffic circle is really a square for automobiles and autobuses to gather..for a brief moment anyway..... except...well, in the this case it's not a square but circle... i guess it is easier for the autos to manuever.  ....Simple isn't it?

Kikar Safra Jerusalem (Wikipedia)
We have some famous ones...Kikar Zion at the bottom of Ben Yehuda midrahov (pedestrian mall), and as I mentioned, Safra Square at the Iryia (City Hall) Jerusalem.  Neither of these is a "traffic circle" but are popular large or elaborate squares where events are held.

Kikar Rabin in Tel Aviv (Wikipedia)

In Tel Aviv, there is Kikar Rabin, also a very large public square for events, and with a long history.

However, Tel Aviv's Kikar HaMedina IS an actual traffic circle, an enormous one, lined with upscale boutique stores and restaurants.  And the center of the circle, which could be beautiful, has a few trees but mostly unattractive parched dirt..not even grass.  There are walkways through it; I think it's a location for homeless to congregate and sleep. Really, Tel Aviv you could do better than that at the most famous shopping kikar in the country !!
Kikar HaMedina (Visual Travel)
But really, what I wanted to write about were just the everyday traffic kikars of Jerusalem..scattered as they are throughout the City, in every neighborhood, on every street.  Most of them are good directors of traffic, some have interesting side shows like the one in Giva HaTzarfatit, (French Hill).  Right along side the circle, at the edge of the stone sidewalk one can find an industrial scale..which is working.   People stop by and weigh themselves, their children, pets, packages and you name it. What a riot

Directions are given in Jerusalem by landmarks more than by street names, and kikars play a big role in directions. "Go to the kikar at the bottom of the hill and take a right." Almost all of them are maintained with flowers and trees, are frequently updated with seasonal changes. Some are very beautiful.  I have included a few photos of the kikars of Jerusalem, here and on this picasa link because I enjoy them, and want you to enjoy them too !!

I have featured only a few, some of them to also showcase.the surrounding neighborhood - the street itself, the walls, the apartments with Jerusalem stone as our primary and required building material. Beautiful Jerusalem. From time to time I may snap some more pics of other kikars and post a notice on the blog.

Obviously the next best thing would be to come to Jerusalem and see for yourself!