Hebrew U's Botanical Garden to Reopen After Two-Year Restoration, Proceeds From Ottawa Gala in honour of Stephen & Gail Victor

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Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus Botanical Garden Reopens to Public After Two-Year Restoration

Jerusalem, November 19, 2008 – The Botanical Garden on the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University  of Jerusalem will be formally reopened to the public at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 25, marking the completion of a restoration and development project that has been underway for the past two years.

The new plan for preservation and restoration of then garden, formulated by the planner and environmental sculptor Ran Morin, was based on extensive research into the history of the place. Between 2006-08, the project for development of the garden was undertaken by the Mount Scopus ReopensHebrew University and the Jewish National Fund at a cost of some 2.6 million shekels, contributed from an Ottawa JNF dinner held in honour of Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University's Past National President, Stephen Victor and his wife Gail.

The garden, which is devoted to plants of the land of Israel and its environs, is located in the northeastern part of Mount Scopus, overlooking the Judean desert and Jordan. A cave in the garden has been identified as the tomb of Nicanor of Alexandria, who donated one of the gates of Herod’s Temple. At the entrance to the cave can be found the graves of early Zionist leaders Menahem Usishkin and Yehuda Leib Pinsker.

The Botanical Garden on Mount Scopus is the first university garden to have been established in the land of Israel, founded in 1931 by Professors Otto Warburg and Alexander Eig, founders of the Department of Botany at the Hebrew University and pioneers of botanical studies in Israel.

The garden is today among the few that focus on the natural plant growth of the land of Israel and its environs. The garden encompasses some 25 dunams and contains about 950 plant species

From 1948 to 1967, the garden was abandoned, left as an isolated Israeli entity surrounded by Jordanian-ruled territory. With the return of the university to Mount Scopus following the Six-day War of 1967, most of the garden was found to be still alive, however the heavy construction work that took place on the Mount Scopus campus following the war caused great ecological harm there. In 1988, the garden was restored and reopened to the public, but did not measure up to its original condition. With time, its existence passed from the public consciousness, to the extent that even most of the faculty and students of the university were unaware of it.

The garden will be open to the general public from Sundays through Thursdays during daylight hours. On Fridays and Saturday visits can be arranged through prior notification, as can guided tours by phoning 02-5882596. Entry to the garden is through the Social Sciences Faculty gate.  

(Photos available via e-mail upon request)

For further information: Jerry Barach, Dept. of Media Relations, the Hebrew University,

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