If you have had your head in the sand for the past few weeks, it is possible that you do not know that our Holy City is hosting the first ever Jerusalem Ice Festival at the Old Train Station, off Derech Hevron. Literally translated from the Hebrew as “Ice City”, the main attraction of the festival is an exhibition of breathtaking ice sculptures, including Jerusalem landmarks such as the walls of the Old City, Migdal David and the Yemin Moshe Windmill.
Other installations include Noah’s Ark with a selection of animal pairs, beautifully sculptured with colored ice; fairy tale characters such as The Wizard of Oz, Snow White & the 7 Dwarfs and Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage. Big kids and little kids alike are able to slide down the copy of Jerusalem’s famous “Miflezet” (monster) slide and for those who need warming up with the hard stuff, there is a bar at the end serving arak and various flavors of vodka. If you can bear the cold, there are even ice stools and ice booths for you to sit in. Click here for a video about how it was all put together.
As well as the exhibition itself, there is also a very small ice skating rink (which you have to pay for) and a coffee shop with drinks, ice cream and crepes and a meat restaurant with stir-fry and hot dogs. For those wanting something more substantial and delicious, my ever-favorite Hachatzer is just behind the Old Train Station complex or you can walk around to Derech Bet Lechem or Emek Refaim for more choice.
If you have not already booked your tickets, do not miss out! The festival is going on until April 30 and is open weekdays 10am -11pm, it closes at 2pm Friday and erev hag and Motsash from an hour after Shabbat until midnight. Full price tickets are 65₪ from Bimot, Jerusalem card holders are 45₪ (by phone only 6226* and tickets are sent by post or collected at the entrance – do not let them tell you otherwise as they did to a friend of mine) and Isracard holders pay 35₪. All bookings require a 15₪ transaction charge by phone and online.
Dress for the coldest winter’s day you can imagine – it is -10 C inside, they do give you jackets when you arrive, but they are very thin and my group all put it over our own coats and we were still cold! Hats, scarves and gloves are a must and my feet were freezing, even in knee high boots!
There is a new paid parking lot at the back of the complex (entrance off Derech Hevron) but you can also park in the free lot opposite the Mount Zion Hotel, or at the bottom of Gan Hapamon next to the gas station.
For more info, go to http://www.jerusalem-on-ice.org.il/.