Monday, August 3, 2009

Not only for stamps and mail

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Jerusalem's Central Post Office on Jaffa Road was designed and built by the British during the Mandate period and was opened in 1938. The most (and maybe only) interesting element of the exterior is the black basalt, brought from the Golan Heights, at the base.
By the way, the fancy kiosk you see outside is for the sale of Israel's national lottery tickets.

While waiting for your number to be automatically called for postal services, you can people-watch . . .

e.g. take a stealth shot of this Coptic priest or one of the many monks and nuns who come in.
(The Old City is just down the block.)

Or you can admire the chandeliers and the lovely marble of the counter and the floor.
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(Please click and enlarge to see the details in the photos. )
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But best of all you can study the 90 foot/27.5 meter epic mural, painted by Avraham Ofek!
President Peres commissioned the work in 1972 when he was Minister of Transport and Communications.
The Return to Zion begins with a leader (looking like Herzl) pointing the way upward to Zion and urging the frightened Jews to make aliyah. He is inspired by the ghosts of the past over his shoulder. Revival.
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Act II (sorry, not shown here) is their welcome and absorption by a group of young Israeli pioneers. But you can see some sabra cactus growing near the rock.
A native-born Israeli is known as a Sabra (thorns on the outside but is sweet and soft in the inside).

Next are scenes from the Promised Land. Here above, a house in Jerusalem, two people studying while the upstairs neighbors also dwell in peace and safety.

A rural settlement (moshav or kibbutz?), a family with their cow. Houses dotting the landscape.
The final act of this idealistic "painted movie" finds men and women working side by side picking fruit, in equality.
And in the construction crew both Arabs and Jews work together to build the house.
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You can tell that the artist grew to manhood in a kibbutz (after immigrating, on his own, from Bulgaria at age 14, in 1949). Back then the kibbutz ideals were the communal spirit, cultivating the barren land, brotherhood, and equality of all the land's inhabitants.
At the center of the mural is the walled Old City, reaching the top of the Post Office wall and even climbing upward onto the ceiling, in witness to the spiritual elevation of Jerusalem.
I love that idea!
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Hope you enjoyed your tour. For more guiding in places all around our globe, please visit That's My World Tuesday. Shalom, go in peace!
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27 comments:

cherie said...

oh wow, this is beautiful and educational, ms. dina! i am fascinated and will come back for more if you don't mind. thank you for this post, ma'am.

Jew Wishes said...

What a stunning tour you have given us, and look at life through your eyes.

Beautiful photos, Dina!

mommanator said...

you always do such unusaual posts I love em!

Yaelian said...

What a huge and beautiful postal office;a far cry from the small over crowded postal office in my neighbourhood...
Thanks for showing this Dina :-)

janice said...

Beautiful!
Thanks for sharing!

Malyss said...

At the first moment, I was thinking: " she takes her camera to go to the post office?She's really blog'addict!"!Now that I see your post office, I better understand...Woaw!How surprising, and of all the ways: people there, as well than this wonderful painting.(Now I'm ashamed about my own post office!..Ü)

The Good Life in Virginia said...

so liked this mural...quite nice. i especially like that it captured the spirit of the area. and the final part of it sweeping upward...so nice.

have a lovely week.

James said...

Very interesting. I loke the inside better than the outside though. The murals are really great.

Jedediah said...

Wow, that is one grand building. Awesome shots. I love the little kiosk, though ;)

Dirk said...

Great scenery on the walls. Would not mind waiting here, much to see.

Photo Cache said...

What an impressive interior. It is a far cry from the post offices I have seen so far.

I wonder if the business is still brisk despite the arrival of emails and carriers like UPS and FedEx.

Great post.

http://ewok1993.wordpress.com

Babooshka said...

A visit to the post office has never been so entertaining. Nothing as grand here, not even the people watching.

pasadenaadjacent said...

I just got my partner to come over and visit your site. Trust me, something I rarely ask him to do when I'm blogging. We are both ga ga over the image extending into the ceiling. It's spectacular (I want to see the missing panel now). And the limited palate....wow! So much to like about this painting and everything else within those walls.
thanks I loooove this post

Dimple said...

Thank you is not enough, but it's the best I can do. I almost feel as if I have been there in person.

Hilda said...

Yes, I did and thank you very much for it.

In your third photo, the mural just jumped out at me and it was the first photo that I enlarged. So I was very happy to see that you were going to explain it next. Again, thank you. That was very interesting.

T.R. said...

WOW! What a beautiful post office. What beautiful murals. It reminds me of the stunning fresco work of Diego Rivera and others during the Mexican Mural Renaissance. Thanks for sharing!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Great pictures. My bank in downtown Tulsa had a huge mural of the Oklahoma Land Run. Well in the name of progress, I guess, the moved the lobby downstairs and converted the space upstairs to offices and covered up the mural.
hummph

Petrea said...

You know, my post office is a little square building with gray tile. Very nice clerks, though.

Loved this!

Arija said...

Another of your great posts Dina. I think the idea behind the facade was to make it fit in with Arab architecture which it actually does with the stark lines and arches. The one unfotunate feature is the electronic screens in front of the mural so that one cannot appreciate it in its entirety.

Marites said...

My, never seen such beautiful post office anywhere in my world. those are really impressive and i'd just be happy to wait longer for my turn:) my world is up too.

jeannette stgermain said...

Wow,what a monumental piece of art, Dina! Thanks for sharing!

Turquoise Diaries said...

Its such a beautiful building Dina. Interior is marvellous..

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

I love it when public buildings are so reflective of their communities that there is no doubt as to their origin. This post office is so socially and culturally situated in Jerusalem. Fabulous capture and sharing of your world there, Dina!

Pat said...

That is a wonderful mural! One could go to the post office hundreds of times and always notice more details. Thanks for sharing.

Vagabonde said...

What an imposing post office. With such beautiful murals and comfortable benches I am sure it makes waiting very pleasant

*SparkleMirror* Kiln-Fired Art Studio said...

Shalom, Dina! I love your lessons, they are fun and informative... and those photos say it all in themselves. Love this stuff!
David
PS -- Glad to be back with creative friends like you!

spacedlaw said...

Impressive mural.