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5 things to know about the Valley of Hinnom:
- The longest suspension bridge in Israel passes over the Valley of Hinnom, and was opened to the public very recently. The bridge is 202 meters long, and connects the slopes of the Valley of Hinnom to Mount Zion. The view from it is breathtaking.
- In the 19 years between the establishment of the State and the Liberation of Jerusalem, the urban line that divided the city between East and West passed through the valley. During the War of Independence, a cable car was in operation, crossing the valley, and was used to evacuate the wounded and transfer supplies to the old city that was under siege.
- The Valley of Hinnom is the discovery site of the oldest findings that are mentioned in verses of the Bible: silver plates with the verses of the Priestly Blessing from about 2,600 years ago. They were uncovered as part of archaeological excavations led by Prof. Gabi Barkai, and next to them other finds from the First Temple period were discovered: urns, amulets and colorful jewelry, some of which were produced with a unique technique.
- According to some traditions, the source of the word “hell” (“Gehenom”, in Hebrew) is the Valley of Hinnom, which has a similar sound. In ancient times, the worship of “Molech” was held there; it included the sacrifice of children, and gave the area a bad name. The prophet Jeremiah, was against the custom, prophesied that those guilty of this sin would be punished by death in that very place.
- Today, the place that used to be “hell”, looks more like heaven: “The Farm in Valley” operates in the Valley of Hinnom, preserving the ancient agricultural crafts through workshops and various educational activities. The farm is part of a national park surrounding the walls of Jerusalem, and is open to the public daily, free of charge.
In addition to this, a variety of entertainment and leisure activities are held at the farm, such as “Weekends at the Valley” and a Kabbalat Shabbat at the Farm in the Valley, Jerusalem-style, in which various music groups entertain visitors staying there.