on the promenade

alternate symbol of Jerusalem by Uriel Raz

There are many variations of the Lion of Judah to be found in Jerusalem. You can see them on manhole covers and on park benches, and on mysterious junction boxes with cables running in and out. That lion is found on many documents and announcements too, and is sported on flags which adorn the city on holidays and special occasions. There’s a promenade on the south side of town, the Haas Promenade, which I visit now and then to raise my spirits if I’m down. I used to take students there to do quick sketches or photograph, because it has a great view of the temple mount.


In fact, I’ve photographed it so often, that my collection of photos from that particular place represents all seasons and all moods, and this morning I looked through some past posts, just to check if I’d already published that old lion, and to my amazement, it seemed as if I’d never devoted a post to that wonderful place, though there have been a few photos from there that did find their way to this blog in different contexts. For instance, here: http://tinyurl.com/peffs8l

carved on a trash can

The last time I was walking there, I noticed a small trash can, made of stone, which had the lion carved into its side, and I thought I’d share it with you. But then, how could I show you that, without showing the classic illustration by Uriel Raz, who really brings it all together by depicting the lion of Judah as one of our city’s alley cats.

a kiss between cats

There are more to come… for I have a collection of the many different versions of that particular lion, who reflects all the different moods of Jerusalem. But today, I was going to continue from that trash can to an eastern extension of the promenade that was added on just a few years ago.


There are many birds who make their home in the trees that line this path… and wild flowers that find their place among the cultivated cultured ones. If you have the time to extend your exploration after walking the promenade, you can step out of the park and walk back to your car, or to the local shops, by way of the highway, where you’ll encounter the monument to tolerance, which is still another sight in this area that is well worth visiting.


The amazing thing about this promenade, is that as you walk along, you can get a good look at parts of the city, and the ancient wall that surrounds the old city, as well as the temple mount from almost every step along the walk. Yet the area of the promenade itself is very beautiful too. And so there’s an exquisite balance between what is close and what is relatively far.


What I most love, are the green lawns on the western side. But if I start looking for photos I like… and this happens often when I’m blogging… I find too many photos, and then agonize about what to put in and what to leave out. So this morning, not being in the mood to pick and choose, I’ll just pull out a few at random from along the path. But I do intend to organize a post that will concentrate on the many facets of this breath of fresh air in the midst of the urban environment.

the flowers and the olive tress remind me of temporal pleasures and history

poppies need not be planted in Jerusalem. They invite themselves in this season

retama is native to the southern parts of our country, and usually blooms with white flowers


57 responses to “on the promenade

  1. I like Uriel Raz’ alternate symbol of Jerusalem. Very suitable with all the stray cats that are there.

    • Yes, I would definitely adopt it as the official seal for Jerusalem, though I would prefer a cat who was a little more relaxed. Thanks for your comment, Cardinal.

  2. This is a place I would love to visit and sketch. As for the Lion – I love the trash can version and especially the alley cat version by Uriel Raz:)
    Thank you Shimon, wishing you a lovely weekend, and may your give your resident lion – Nechame – a big hug from me. Janet. x

    • I am sure you would love it, Janet. It is just the place for a walk with water colors in one’s bag. Thanks so much for your regards to my lioness. xxx

  3. I am so pleased I have memory banks of the extensive walking we did in Jerusalem on our visits. I am even more pleased that your dive into your archives, the spontaneous grab of a picture or two, gives me the opportunity to recall some of those memories.

    I do try not to look down at the art my feet – drain covers and the like – too much, as there is an awful lot to appreciate at eye level as well.

    I adore Uriel Raz’ satirical presentation of the ‘Lion’, that’s one fierce alley cat. We started taking note of signs as we travelled in Israel, as there is a lot of great lively and vibrant art on the streets; it is different to that which we have seen on our other travels, which you find mostly in varieties of graffiti.

    Lovely photos…very enjoyable.

    • Yes, if we’re in a good mood, there is so much to inspire us all around. What seems important seems not the places we go to visit, but what we bring with us… what sort of mood, our frame of reference, and so on. Often it is an interactive experience. The scene before our eyes opens our heart, and our empathy, and we are able to receive so much more. Thanks for the comment, menhir

  4. you made me smile!

  5. Having spent the past few weeks in Jerusalem, your post resonated with me. I especially enjoyed your description of the red poppies – I love how they just appear amongst the rocks, seemingly out of nowhere!

    • How wonderful that you were here. We’re just beginning to get that feel of summer… warming up… it’s my favorite season. And they’re flowers all around. Best wishes, Birder.

  6. What beautiful images all! Shabbat Shalom

  7. Richard Ebstein

    what is the origin of the Lion of Judah?

    • Much like Washington DC that was built between two states, the city of Jerusalem lies between two tribal territories, that of Judah and Benjamin. Jacob blessed Judah in the book of Genesis, that he would be like a lion cub. The lion has become not only the symbol of the tribe of Judah, but also the symbol of the kingdom of Israel starting with David who came from the tribe of Judah. Our sages see the blessing as being a combination of the regal nature of the lion plus the mischievousness of the cub, the playfulness of the young. And this in turn became the symbol of Jerusalem. Thanks for your comment, Dick.

  8. I would love to walk along that promenade and take in the beauty all around. I don’t think I’ve seen red poppies. We have the orange-gold ones here, also growing out of no where, but not red ones.

    • Almost all of the poppies found here are red. Interesting to hear that they’re a little different in other countries. I’m sure you would really enjoy walking around here. Wishing you good health and joy, Corina. How nice it is to hear from you.

  9. I love the tours of your beloved Jerusalem you provide, Shimon, and this is one of my favorites. The “corporatization” of the globe blunts the unique geography and character of places so effectively that it’s hard, sometimes, to see what make a place distinct anymore, but your Jerusalem always
    seems so clearly “itself,” I love that. No logos in sight.

    These views are wonderful…I can almost smell the sweet morning air and feel myself there….but I need your help, because I always imagine the air dry, and I wonder if it’s ever humid?

    Nechama must feel very proud to see her noble self reflected in so many colorful ways across the city…but if she’s like my cats, she would only look at me with gentle condescension and say, “Of course.”

    Joy to your week’s end!

    • Actually, your impression is correct. Jerusalem is quite dry, and so even when it warms up a lot… in summer, for instance, it’s quite pleasant. Tel Aviv is more humid because it’s built on the shore of the Mediterranean. But of course, in winter we get the rain and snow, because we’re on top of a mountain. And truly, Jerusalem is also cat city. There is a large population of cats here, both sharing homes with people, and out on the street. I have the feeling that Nechama enjoys the very best conditions in town… and I think she knows it. Thanks very much for your comment, Kitty.

  10. I have never before seen that alternate version of the city crest, by Uriel Raz and I have to thank you for bringing it to my (our) attention. Trixie, Caspurr and Shimshi think we should pre-purr a PETition, demanding that the black cat version be immediately adopted as the official symbol of Jerusalem.
    We are sure Nechama would agree with us 😉

    שבת שלום

    • So very happy that I could introduce you to the alternative city emblem, Shimona. I agree with you. It does seem very fitting. Let’s hope that it’ll be a week of good news and not bad. Thanks for the smile.

  11. Lovely scenes to show the beauty of Jerusalem. I’d feel at peace walking here in the photos you’ve shown.

    • The name of Jerusalem means peace and wholeness, and though it has had its hard times, there’s a lot of inspiration here. And a walk around town always improves my mood… even when I’m already feeling good. Thanks for your comment, Angeline.

  12. The random selection of photos is perfect! Thanks for a wonderful tour 🙂

  13. Great Post Shimon.Wonderful images.

  14. Loved the images. They brought to mind my own home. Thanks.

    • Ah, how wonderful that Jerusalem reminds you of your own home. May it have all the sweetness and strength of a temple. Best wishes to you, Olga.

  15. I have been troubled by my memory not telling me of a style of lion sculpture that I’ve seen recently and then you add this. As it were directed at me. Now I will have to find that lion to learn the “style” (I’m not sure that’s the right word. You needn’t concern yourself with this recent Culling problem. I like them all. Hope your season is working feverish to a new high.

    • Sorry that you’re having memory problems, Bob. That happens to me too. Sometimes I have a word on the tip of my tongue… and just can’t get to it. This is my favorite season, though… and I’m feeling the joy of warm weather, and the desire to get out and enjoy it. Definitely a high. Best wishes to you too.

  16. I enjoyed this walk with you in Jerusalem, a place I’ve always wanted to visit.

    • I do hope you get here one day, Narelle. I have been grateful all my life for the good luck of living in a city I love so much. Best wishes.

  17. What a beautiful and peaceful walk, Shimonz, Thanks you for sharing.

  18. Ha! I did smile at Uriel’s alternative symbol of Jerusalem….I wouldn’t take that cat on, it looks disconcerted! The lion on the stone bin is wonderful too, and isn’t a monument to tolerance a great idea, every city should have one! How deeply seeped in history Jerusalem is, all so rich and fascinating.
    The flowers and the olive trees are lovely, as are the alley cats and poppies, and yes, they do invite themselves in, my veggie patch is overflowing with them. I am finally getting used to your black and white crows….here they always black. Retama looks a little like our broom plant. A wonderful visit, as always!xxx

    • You’re right, Dina. The cat looks uncomfortable and bothered. And I think the artist was trying to put an accent on the fact that we don’t like the way we’re portrayed in the international news… it was meant for internal consumption. I think, if we were to put that image on a flag, we’d have to ask Uriel to calm his cat a bit first. But I do like the idea he presented. As for tolerance, I’m hoping to write a bit more on that in my very next post… unless I find some more burning issue. By the way, I have heard that the plant is also called broom in English… I think in different places, plants have different names, even if in the same language. So good hearing from you always. Best wishes, xxx

  19. What lovely native flowers you have. I often have the same problem of taking too many pictures and having a hard time deciding which ones to use.

    • Actually, there are too different problems here. One is weeding out repetitive photos, and picking those that best tell the story. The other is not overloading the text, even if we have a lot of very good photos. I think that what I’m going to do, is pick out just a few to accompany or illustrate a text, and then have a greater number on the same subject which will be put in a gallery with a link from the textual post. The problem is that this too takes time. But it’s a project I want to work on. Thanks for your comment, Bev.

  20. It looks like a really beautiful walk Shimon. Thank you for bringing us along so to speak. The images are lovely!

    • Thanks so much, Chillbrook. I used to take my students to this very beautiful place, and always marveled at how each set of eyes found something very different to record. Best wishes.

  21. Shimon,
    You have such a wonderful way of capturing light and shadows. I love the photo of the backlit trees with their shadows in the front of the frame. Thank you for the tour of the promenade. I loved it. What a rich and interesting place to live, your Jerusalem!

    • Thanks very much, Cathy. I am so grateful that I have lived my life in a city I so love. And because it’s loaded with history, and connected occasionally to regrettable news stories… a lot of people have a warped impression of the place. This is one of the reasons, I do like to show my own view. It’s a great pleasure to share with my friends.

  22. Uriel Raz’s Lion of Judah is amusing. I also have a hunch it may have been offered as social or political commentary. It did take me a while to find the person I’d connected with the honorific, “Lion of Judah,” but I finally found him. Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was the one who declared himself King of Kings, Conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah. I’m sure even at the time opinions differed on that one.

    The Promenade is beautiful. Your retama is familiar here, though with the Spanish name, paloverde. It’s still blooming now, and I pass some nearly every day as I travel the bridge across our bay.

    I’m rather fond of your random selection. After all, that’s how we experience the world when we go out for a walk. As far as I know, nature doesn’t present herself to us in a predetermined sequence of sights. She simply spreads her wares like a street seller, then leaves it to us to choose a path, seeing or not seeing as we will.

    • I remember Haile Selassie very well. He had a long reign in Ethiopia, and as you say, there were differing opinions about his methods, but he was a truly beloved leader in his country. Though I didn’t know very much about what was going on there, and definitely couldn’t judge him, I was fond of him because he was so proud of being a descendant of one of our ancient kings. And there are reasons to believe this claim. Thanks for your kind comments regarding the post, Linda. I sometimes deliberate about the balance between photos and text. There are so many images we see when we’re contemplating people or places we love… But still, I fear I may overload a post with two many of those images.

  23. Thank you for the interesting walk, Shimon. I especially like the poppies that ‘invite themselves’, oh yes and the kissing cats.

  24. Thank you, again, for a peek into a tiny corner of your lovely city.

  25. I love walks like the one you describe here. Sometimes over here they are described as Balcony walks – as they provide an overview of the surroundings. It’s that joy of being detached and yet a part of what you see, a little away from the hustle and the bustle. They are I think the most enjoyable of walks.

    • Oh, I like that name very much, Andy. Especially because, as a life time city dweller, the balcony is a very important part of my life, especially in the warmer months. I can spend hours there, with the luxuries of home, but still tasting a bit of nature. I see the similarity. Thanks so much for your comment.

  26. The Haas Promenade is a beautiful spot. I must get back there again. Wonderful post Shimon.

  27. Enjoyed the walk with you, Mr. Shimon! I like these photos that you picked. I often run into a long agonizing when I work on my post. 🙂 Enjoy the week.

    • I always enjoy your pictures very much, Amy.But I’ve learned from my own experience, that putting an exhibition together is quite a challenge, even when it’s a small show, as in the case of a blog. Thank you very much for your comment.

  28. I so enjoyed your photographs Shimon…I could ‘hear’ the insects and feel the warmth…lovely. Hugs x

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