It’s funny to think that an old, ancient city like Jerusalem can be illuminated by modern light shows and art. It was almost like a complete paradox but also incredibly fitting – every special, historic location in the Old City was marked by some sort of wonderful artistry that displayed the region in what was literally, a new light.

The family and I went there yesterday night; I found it necessary since my mom and sister are here on vacation and need to experience Israel.  When we reached the Old City, we suddenly and unexpectedly got a first glance of the flying light birds, which were flying right above us. The helium-filled birds of light danced beautifully and gracefully with the wind, but they honestly looked far more like fish. Regardless, it was an impressive way to start the show!

Flying.. fish!

Flying.. fish!

The light festival has three routes that you can take, each taking about 1.5-2 hours to complete. We picked the white route since it ended at the Western Wall – it seemed like the far more special route and the one that would add to my family’s experience. It also happened to be the longest and had more light shows and exhibitions.

Our second stop was quite amazing actually! A “Soul Forest” is set up with huge, lighted-up bubbles with shadows of images telling stories, and showing moving people and growing trees. The lights changed and dimmed and the classical music in the background set such a lovely and magical ambiance to the place. I think it may have been my favorite spot for the whole festival.

Light Bubbles of Stories

Light Bubbles and Stories

As we followed along the path, we saw some really creative light shows… some artists think so far outside the box! An amazing show playing in the shadows created by Vietnamese conical hats blew me away. It was an incredible audiovisual experience, described by the pamphlet as “virtuosic artistry” which I think is a proper way to describe that craziness.

Other exhibitions we saw were less exciting but still quite beautiful and unique in their own right. Massive regions lighted up by words of light, drawings designed by children coloring the walls with happiness and brightness, and a pyramid of water bottles! It was all impressive and fun to explore.

Changing walls, taken from kids' drawings

Changing walls, taken from kids’ drawings

To end the show, you arrive at the Western Wall where the archaeological findings of the Temple Mount light up in a variety of colors in synchronization to classical music. It was quite beautiful, but a little anti-climactic. I wished they would do something nutty like this ON the Western Wall but alas – there’s no way they would ever do such a thing!

Overall, we had a great time!  Highly recommended for a night out.

The good –

It was fun! The experience was unique and not a regular activity that we could have any time. All the lights and exhibits made for some great photo opportunities.

The bad –

OH, the traffic! The insane amount of clogged-up, unmoving traffic by the Old City…  It took up our energy and so much of our time. Next time, we park far away and take the light rail to the Western Wall. Lesson learned!

To learn more about the Jerusalem Light Festival:
Dates: June 5-13, 2013
Hours: 20:00-23:00
Free Admission

HLA did not receive any compensation for the post. All thoughts and opinions are mine. All pictures are from the official Jerusalem Light Festival website.