Israel - The most designed places

North - Ein Harod Art Center Luna Bistro in Nazareth and a Surprise

Nothing says Israel more to me than Israeli art and Arab food against the backdrop of the Jezreel Valley and the Lower Galilee landscapes. The most beautiful views Israel has to offer.

No matter where you come from, the road to the museum will get you in a good mood. The museum’s building, located at the heart of the kibbutz, is a unique architectural work. Combining the bright halls with the building’s courtyards, where outdoor sculptures are placed, creates such a special atmosphere, even before viewing the collections on display. The museum provides a platform for Israeli art in temporary exhibitions, in addition to a collection of works by Jewish artists collected throughout Europe.

Israel - The most designed places
Statue garden at the entrance to Ein Harod Art Center
Israel - The most designed places
Wandering – Orna Ben Ami’s exhibition at the Art Center

After having a morning filled with art, I recommend lunch at Luna’s in Nazareth. Luna’s pride themselves on authentic local traditional food made by local women.

On our trip, and for my great love for Ali Shamir, we decided to visit the statue he created on our way back, ‘Venus Collecting Onions’ displayed in the garden at the center of kibbutz Beit Yehoshua, where he lives. A bronze-cast figure of a woman, so precisely defined as “a statue of cast beauty in bronze about peelable human beauty” (Jonathan Hirschfeld 2020).

The drive through the landscapes created by Eli Shamir seems like a ride through his realistic works, so much that it is sometimes hard to separate the two.

Israel - The most designed places
Venus Collecting Onions statue, Eli Shamir, Kfar Yehoshua
Israel - The most designed places
Authentic Nazareth food at Luna Bistro

A Little Further North – Ramat HaGolan and the Northern Sea of Galilee

The Golan Heights is also not that far from the center, a one-day trip without accommodation but with lots of wine can be easily done.

A visit to Kidmat Zvi combines wine and jams in a gorgeous landscape.

At the new Bazelet winery visitor center, at the entrance to Moshav Kidmat Zvi, we enjoyed excellent wine tastings, alongside cheeses on an open terrace overlooking the Golan.

A few feet’s drive into the moshav is a magical cabin where Sarah Kojikaro, has a kingdom of jams, built with her own two hands.

Israel - The most designed places
Bazelet winery on the view of the Golan
Israel - The most designed places
House of Jams, Kidmat Zvi

The Sea of Galilee is so beautiful that you should not settle for looking at it through the window, but rather go down to its shores, on the way to or from the Golan Heights. The Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes, allows you to stop and walk within a lovely garden on the north shore of the lake. Nearby is St. Peter’s house and the gospel promenade that was built for the pope’s visit in 2000.

Israel - The most designed places
Churches at the Tabha beach
Israel - The most designed places
Magical Sea of Galilee

West: Tel Aviv – Beach, Food and Art

The Cliff Beach, also known as Mandarin Beach, and for those who grew up at Ramat Hasharon like I did, will always be known as the country beach, is my home turf, and the natural place that shaped most for my taste as well as the environment closest to me. A beach of tranquility, one from which life looks good and that walking along it brings on good thoughts and solutions for most things.

Sidenote – the aforementioned is completely irrelevant during summertime Saturdays.

The restaurant has operated for many years and is owned by a nearby Turquoise restaurant.

The ultimate gyro, a few minutes’ drive from the beach at Greco Restaurant at Azorei Hen.

This is an island of joy, with good food, which lets you forget the fact that you’re on the steps of a commercial centre rather than a taverna on a Greek island.

 

Israel - The most designed places
The Cliff Beach, Tel Aviv nature
Israel - The most designed places
Greek island vibes at a commercial center

And on the other side of the city, in Jaffa, Tel Aviv’s Soho is evolving. The   craftsmanship of the past has changed its face, and the buildings between Har Zion Boulevard and Schocken Street are home to many studios and galleries.

Among the recommended places is the studio of artist Maayan Ben-Yona, which deals with exceptional useful ceramics. Not far away is the old Rosenfeld Gallery, which has moved its location to 1 HaMifal Street. Among the many studios in the area stands out the studio of artist Carmel Ilan, who developed an exceptional artistic language through paper. The studio is packed with books, magazines and any means of paper that can be thought of as inspiration and raw material for Ilan’s sculptural work, some of which are processed for photographic prints in limited series.  

Israel - The most designed places
Maayan Ben-Yona. Photography: PR
Israel - The most designed places
A photographic print of Carmel Ilan’s works
Israel - The most designed places
Yuval Shaul in action. Photography: Ron Kedmi.

To the west, on the streets between Kibbutz Galuyot Road and Ben Zvi Road, between workshops and garages, there are increasingly more spaces dedicated for art. Among those who stand out is the veteran Gordon Gallery, which has moved to 6 Hapelech Street and presents the best of Israeli art in an impressive and varied exhibition space.

Israel - The most designed places
Ron Arad at Gordon galery’s new location

East - Judean Mountains

The first place we went to after the first quarantine, the one we really missed the most, was   Majda restaurant at Ein Rafa, opposite Abu Ghosh.

This Arabic restaurant has a twist by chef Michal Burns, who runs the place with her partner, a local. The restaurant’s courtyard is surrounded by vines with views of the Judean Mountains.

First and foremost, The Monastery of Saint John in the Wilderness, at the end of moshav Even Sapir, which is located on a mountainside and overlooks the slope opposite. There is a painting of John the Baptist at the church and Ein El Havis spring near it.

Should the monastery be closed for visitors, as it happened to us on our last visit, you can visit the Sataf Reserve instead, which offers hiking trails in varying degrees of difficulty… if you really have time, you can also pass through the Russian church inside Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital and the Visitors Center of Castel Winery (not on Saturdays).

Israel - The most designed places
Castel winery at the Judean Mountains
Israel - The most designed places
Vine pergola at Majda, Ein Rafa

South – Arava and Eilat as you did not know

The feeling of freedom and space, for me. begins right after Beer Sheva. After months of Winter during the first lockdown, and everything that came along with it, there was no doubt that a trip to Eilat was necessary.

The direction is Eilat, but halfway through you can spend just one night at a cliff settlement, which offers many accommodation options.

A simply decorated place in the desert with a beautiful view is the cliff lookout.

At the end of the path leading to the blocking cliff, there was a bench facing east. Words cannot express the sights and emotions. Simply sit back, watch and be in the moment.

Over the years, many artists have gathered at the fair every Thursday, at least as it used to be.

The culinary section is based on Ursula’s restaurant at the entrance to the settlement.

Israel - The most designed places
Cliff, bench, sunset

For the first Time – Modern Art in Eilat

And if you are southbound then you should go all the way – Eilat. Those who says they don’t like Eilat, probably never visited the right places. Eilat is more than the promenade, hotels and VAT-free malls.

My Eilat is the beach that stretches south from the port all the way to Taba. I will not start reminiscing about the good old days, Rafi Nelson’s beach of, Nuweibaa and Sharm El-Sheikh. 

Mykonos Beach, currently named after it, is next to the Orchid Reef Hotel, a hotel that is not very well designed but the only one in Eilat adjacent to the beach and right on it.

The place used to have a beach restaurant, and I hpe it will soon reopen, with amazing music, different types of seating/reclining armchairs and the option of placing chairs in the water and staring at the wind as it brushes against the backdrop of the Red Mountains and the blue water.

Israel - The most designed places
The blue red sea
Israel - The most designed places
A beach restaurant overlooking the Edom Mountains

For the first time - Contemporary Art in Eilat - Terminal Museum

I am pleased to host Nurit Salzman, a consultant for contemporary art acquisitions, a leader in her field, and a dear partner of mine.

“Just before the mythological and abandoned airport at Eilat changes its face, a unique and cool pop-up museum was created within its walls, cured by Marina Posner.  

The exhibition, called Terminal Chapter, deals with journey, terminal and wandering, and was inspired by an international project “One Voice” founded during the coronavirus period with the aim of promoting social values of unity, love, strength, empathy and equality through contemporary art.

The exhibition features 30 wonderful artists who created works specifically for the space of the terminal (site-specific) in a variety of mediums such as painting, sculpting, photography, installation, sound, new media, etc.

The meeting point between the city of Eilat being a resort and tourism city and inspiring contemporary art, displayed inside the terminal and on the runways and takeoff, is interesting and worth a visit”.

The exhibition was very successful and is awaiting to be reopened according to the guidelines of the purple badge.

Even before the opening of the exhibition, and just before the demolition of the entire terminal, the Economic Society allocated a wall adjacent to the terminal building for 13 street artists, who turned the place into a pop-up graffiti museum.

Just a short stop at the Big Mall on our way of of the city, some unplanned shopping at VAT-free prices and almost felt like we were abroad.

Israel - The most designed places
Modern art at Eilat
Israel - The most designed places
An exhibit at the Terminal Museum, Eilat

One Last Recommendation

Let’s put Covid-19, the lockdowns and variants aside; I’m still working, full force ahead. One of the specially designed places that have been opened during this year, is Yossi Goldberg’s house of design, Elemento. His showroom was relocated from Jaffa to an even more luxurious showroom in Ramat HaChayal.

In addition to Yossi’s unique personality, his two dogs who are also specially designed, and the wide selection of accessories and furniture, Elemento also present exquisite fabrics, just as fine as those found in stores around the world. A world of endless possibilities at high quality. Milan is right here!    

Israel - The most designed places
Accessories and design books that you cannot get anywhere else at Elemento
Israel - The most designed places
Custom made furniture and textile with excellent fabrics, and a designed dog

And even as the skies open, and my articles start visiting the most decorated places once again, we’ll still enjoy our lovely designed country.

For the good old days,

Nurit

A bit about me –

I’m an interior designer with 20 years of experience. The studio specializes in luxury apartments, luxury privet houses, commercial and business design. As part of my job, I travel to perfectly designed places around the world and am delighted to share those experiences with you, while offering my personal and professional perspective. All this in the blog Design & the City, which is also published monthly at the Designer magazine by HaAretz newspaper.

yours,

Nurit

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