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Ein Kerem Review
The neighborhood of Ein Kerem (sometimes Ein "Karem") still retains much of its old village character. A couple of hours is enough time to explore it, though you could spend more if you take time out for a coffee or a meal. Tree-framed stone houses are strewn across its hillsides with a pleasing Mediterranean nonchalance. Artists and professionals who have joined the older working-class population over the last 40 years have marvelously renovated many homes. Back alleys provide an off-the-beaten-path feel, and occasionally a serendipitous art or craft studio. Though not mentioned by name in the New Testament, Ein Kerem is identified as the home of John the Baptist, and indeed the orange-roofed Church of St. John the Baptist in the heart of the village, and the Church of the Visitation up the hillside above the Spring of the Virgin, are its most prominent landmarks. (The newly restored gold-domed Russian church currently has no published visiting hours.)
The road down to the valley begins at the big Mt. Herzl intersection. Alternatively, if you're driving and you've just visited the Chagall Windows, turn right as soon as you leave the hospital grounds, and descend to where the road joins Route 386. Turn right again, reentering Jerusalem through the bottom of Ein Kerem. The neighborhood is served by city bus 17 and is 5 minutes from Mt. Herzl or Yad Vashem, and less than 10 minutes from the Hadassah hospital.
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