This week at least two more articles were added to the list of pieces declaring Jerusalem not only a religious travel destination but a cultural one too. Thank God!
In one the city was lauded for her tech scene and gastronomic excellence with a side-mention of the “culture,” while in the other, Jerusalem was chosen as one of the top 50 destinations for 2017 because of her food.
It’s wonderful news that people are finally understanding that Jerusalem has more to offer than the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Western Wall and some of the most amazing archaeology in the world. For example, the Mahane Yehuda Shuk is basically always mentioned as (easy) proof that Jerusalem is hip, modern and fun. But the fact that the local events are starkly missing in almost all of these articles, is a disservice to Jerusalem and her visitors.
From a logistical perspective, it makes sense that events are not covered. They are fleeting which makes them very difficult to write about. Also, the fact is that information about most events remains hidden, even to the locals, making it challenging to gain a real handle on Jerusalem’s cultural events scene.
But leaving events out is a problem.
More and more people are looking for the authentic local experience while traveling. They want to be where the locals are, to meet them and to experience what they’re experiencing.
Events offer that to people more than almost any other tourist experience in a city.
I know that when I visit a city, I wish there was a way for me to find out what interesting events the locals are going to. That’s why, for example, when I was in Rome years ago, my friend and I attended an absolutely horrid opera (we had no idea that opera could be even worse than it normally is, by making it completely avant garde). When I was in Amsterdam a few months ago I was in heaven when, completely by chance, I happened to find out about an English-language storytelling event taking place in a bar in the basement of a hotel in a neighborhood in the middle of nowhere (well, to me that’s how it felt).
In both cases, whether I enjoyed the event or not (in one I did, in the other, not so much), I felt enriched gaining exposure to something truly local. Something live. Something with people in the audience who were from all over but also from right there.
It isn’t only restaurants and drinks that visitors want to consume when visiting Jerusalem and it isn’t only the restaurateurs who want people to know about their creations. And neither is it the huge, annual municipal festivals.
And so events may be much more complicated to share than any other tourist options, but they are one of the best ways to take cultural exposure to a whole other level, making it well worth the effort.
At least we think so. 🙂