Mount Herzl and the Military Cemetery
In 1903 Theodor Herzl (1860-1904) wrote in his will: "I wish to be buried in a metal coffin next to my father, and to remain there until the Jewish people will transfer my remains to Eretz Israel. The coffins of my father, my sister Pauline, and of my close relatives who will have died until then will also be transferred there." Herzl died a year later and was interred in Vienna. Forty-five years later, in 1949, Herzl's remains and those of his relatives were brought to Israel and reinterred in a burial site in Jerusalem, whose location had been determined by a special state commission. Sixty-three entries were submitted in the competition for the design of the national pantheon. Joseph Klarwein's proposal was chosen, and the site was accordingly laid out in 1951. From then on, Mount Herzl has served as the national cemetery, where Zionist leaders, the presidents of Israel, prime ministers, and Speakers of the Knesset are laid to rest. On the northern slope of Mount Herzl is the military cemetery of Jerusalem, and to the west is Yad Vashem, which commemorates the Holocaust (see Tour 35). These three sites together comprise Har Ha-zikaron (the Mount of Memory) - the site that encapsulates the last century of Jewish national history. To the east rises the Mount of Olives, where Jews have been buried for the past three thousand years. Between these two poles, two other peaks mark the Jerusalem skyline: Mount Moriah, the religious focal point of the city, where the Temple stood; and Givat Ram, Israel's center of government. It is as if an invisible line from east to west connects the city's summits representing both its essence and its annals. The tour of Mount Herzl is a visit to a cemetery and a memorial site. Along with the stories of the deceased and their deeds, we will tell the story of the living, of those who commemorated their past here. The ways in which the living choose to honor their dead, and the decisions taken in fashioning the site, often present us with a reflection of their values and philosophy. We enter and walk along the path. On the way we pass the Herzl Museum with its exhibition of the life and activity of the Zionist leader. The display centers around Herzl's study, which was reconstructed with its original furniture.
Two and a half to three hours.
Buses no. 13, 18, 20, 23, 23a, 26, 26a, 27 to Herzl Blvd. Get off the bus at the stop next to the red sculpture by Alexander Calder.
The parking lot at the entrance to Mount Herzl, or the parking lot at the entrance to the military cemetery.
Mount Herzl: Sun-Thur: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Friday and holiday eve: 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.; Saturday and holiday: 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Herzl Museum: Sun-Thur: 9:00 a.m.-4:45 p.m.; Friday and holiday eve: 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.; Entrance fee for Museum.