Jerusalem Botanical Gardens
The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens (JBG) is located in the neighborhood of Nayot in Jerusalem, on the southeastern edge of the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The garden is arranged in phytogeographic sections, featuring flora of various regions around the world. The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens opened to the public in 1985. The tropical conservatory opened in 1986 and the South Africa section was planted in 1989. The Hank Greenspan Entrance Plaza, Dvorsky Visitors’ Center and restaurant were built in 1990.
The first plot of land was purchased on Mount Scopus in 1926. Plans for the botanical garden were drawn up by Alexander Eig, chairman of the Botany Department of the Hebrew University, based on the flora of the Land of Israel from Mount Lebanon to the desert. Planting began in 1931. The botanical gardens on Mount Scopus were the first home of the Biblical Zoo. In 1948, in the Israeli War of Independence, access to Mount Scopus and the university campus was cut off.
When an alternative campus was built in Givat Ram in 1954, a new botanical garden was planted near the Jewish National and University Library, including a unique collection of Coniferae. In 1962, a rocky hill in the southeastern corner of the campus was planted with conifers from North America. That year, Michael Avishai was appointed scientific director of the gardens. Many of the trees were raised from his private seed collection.
Budgeting was a serious problem until 1975, when the Society of Friends of the Botanical Gardens was established and the garden became a joint project of the university, the Jerusalem Municipality and the Jewish National Fund. A scientific board was appointed, and architect Shlomo Aronson was commissioned to plan the layout. In 1981, the Garden Association was founded, and a board of executives appointed. The garden was opened to the public in 1985. In 1994, it separated from the Hebrew University, and has been managed by the Botanical Garden Association since 1996.
The garden's Japanese section contains over 150 bonsai trees, the largest concentrated collection of bonsai trees in the world.
Birdwatchers have identified 46 species of birds that visit the Gardens throughout the year.
The 500-meter long "Bible Path"is planted with most of the 70 species that scientists have identified as some of the 400 types of plants mentioned in the Bible.
One of the goals of the garden is to create a living gene bank to protect endangered plants in Israel and the region as a whole.