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About Safra Square

​​Safra Square, known in Hebrew as Kikar Safra, is the central design feature of the Jerusalem Municipality complex.


About Safra Square

​At its main entrance from Jaffa Road are rows of palm trees, a fountain and a sculpture based on a large, working Archimedes Screw, in which the movement of the rotating screw raises the water. Next to the entrance is the Daniel Garden, named for the former Jerusalem mayor, Daniel Auster.
The 4000 square meter stone-paved plaza, surrounded by the main buildings of the Municipality, is a popular meeting space for festivals, demonstrations and public fairs. An 800-space parking lot is open to the public.
Visitors are welcome to relax on the colorful cushions, created by Smadar Carmeil, symbolizing hospitality, comfort and warmth.  But beware! These cushions are actually made from concrete.
The square is named for Jacob and Ester Safra, parents of the philanthropist, Edmond J. Safra.

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Safra History

Jerusalem’s history begins 3.000 years ago, when King David chose the city as its capital. 

Still, the history of the modern Municipality dates back only to 1867, when the Ottoman rulers established the first municipal building in the Old City to serve some 22,000 residents.
When Jerusalemites began to move beyond the confines of the ancient walls, a new Municipality was opened in 1896, on the corner of Jaffa Road and Mamilla Road.  When the British re-organized the city's administration, they inaugurated a new municipal building in 1932 (today's Building #10 in Kikar Safra)
As the city grew and municipal services increased, there were discussions about a new municipal complex. Teddy Kollek, Jerusalem mayor from 1965-1993, insisted that the "new" include the "old" and it was decided to expand the current site. In June 1993, the new complex was inaugurated. It is accessible to the 800,000+ current residents from both the eastern and western sections of this glorious city.

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A Guide to the Municipal Buildings

​Each building of the municipal complex has been assigned a number.

​Building 1

  • The dominant six-story building of the plaza – City Hall:
  • The Mayor’s office
  • The city council hall
  • A model of old/new Jerusalem
  • An observation point extending from the sixth floor offers a breathtaking view of Jerusalem’s neighborhoods
     On the first floor, resident services

Building 2

Built in 1860 as part of the Russian compound and used today for municipal offices.

Building 3

Education Department.

Building 4

Known as the Zoology Building today because it was indeed the Zoology Department of the Hebrew University when university departments were scattered throughout the city.

Building 5 and 6

Known as the Bergheim and Darouti Buildings. Peter Melville Bergheim was a German Jew who converted to Christianity and established the first bank in Jerusalem.  During the British Mandate, the residence became the rear wing of the Darouti Hotel, named after a Christian Arab.

Building 7

Known as the Bagel Building. During the 1960’s, a bagel maker worked  from these premises – to baking bagels and selling them.

Building 8

Built by the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1926. The first elevator in Jerusalem was installed in this multi-story building.

Building 10

The original “City Hall”, designed by well-known British architect, Clifford Holiday, and inaugurated by the British administration in 1932. In 1996, the main services were transferred to Building #1.  Currently houses the municipal departments of: public health, sports, and culture. Engraved on the cornerstone are the words: “Municipal Offices.”

Building 11-12

Armenian Buildings, built by the Armenian Patriarch at the beginning of the 20th century, on Jaffa Road, #17 and #19, which are currently leased to the Municipality.

Building 13

Originally known as the Russian Hospital Building.  In 1948, the building was used for wounded Israeli troups and became known as Avi-Hayil (father of the soldiers). Today it houses municipal offices.

The Triangular Garden: Outside Buildings #3 and #4

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