The first historic train station in Jerusalem, founded 121 years ago, will reopen its doors to the public in the spring of 2013. Located in Jerusalem’s Baka neighbourhood between the road from Hebron to Bethlehem, the “First Station” is soon to become a touristic complex.
Built in 1892, the station was the first railroad constructed in Palestine (then under Ottoman rule). From that point on, the train travelled from Jerusalem to Jaffa and continued to function until 1998. For the past 15 years, the old train station has remained abandoned.
The historic building will now reopen to the public as “The First Station”, a cultural centre that is envisaged to host artistic events, exhibitions, and serve as a local museum. The building’s original architectural design was heavily influenced by 19th century European templar culture, thus the restoration of the station will allow for the centre to become a significant touristic attraction. Original wagons and locomotives stationed at the site will not leave the property boundaries, but will serve as museum pieces.
Additionally, the centre will have space dedicated to a traditional market as well as a variety of cafes and restaurants that will make the station accessible for diverse purposes to both tourists and locals. The station is planned to contain an art gallery of 160 square meters which will also to be used as a small theatre.
With an initial investment of 35 million NIS, the input of private investors is 15 million NIS while the Jerusalem Municipality has invested 5 million NIS of its own on the compound. The last 15 million NIS are invested by business owners in the form of restoration work, design, and decorating business.
Although the land belongs to the state Israel, it is rented temporarily to private entrepreneurs Avi Murdoch, Adi Talmor, Chemo Asaf, and Erez Navon for a period of ten years. In 2023, the land will then be returned to Israel Railways. The investors are committed to maintain and sustain the success of the compound, as it is an important historical site located in the heart of the Jerusalem, a worldwide tourist attraction.
Published in: World of Diplomacy in Israel
Original link: http://www.diplomacy.co.il/index.php/current-events/art-a-culture/890–the-first-station-train-in-jerusalem-is-soon-to-become-a-touristic-complex-/