Gazelle Valley

Gazelle Valley Physical


Gazelle Valley


The Need: Home to the world’s dominant monotheistic religions, Jerusalem is revered the world over as a center for spiritual and ethical guidance. As environmental sustainability and the future of our planet become central issues across the globe, it is only natural that Jerusalem take the lead in innovative environmental practices Jerusalem should be a beacon for sustainable environmental strategies, leading the way by bringing together spiritual and ecological values.


The Gazelle Valley is the last open valley in the center of Jerusalem, part of a system that starts at the Knesset and passes through the southwestern neighborhoods of Jerusalem. The valley, with its terraced walls and olive groves, is home to a herd of mountain gazelles. About a decade ago, a new road system and construction disconnected the herd from their natural path out of the city. The cost of city development could have been devastating but has instead been turned into a unique opportunity to create an urban gazelle park, the first of its kind in Israel.


The Jerusalem Foundation seeks to shape a modern and vibrant city by creating opportunities for all Jerusalem’s population groups. This includes creating opportunities for heritage preservation, especially of its flora and fauna.


Impact on Jerusalem:Open spaces play an important role in Jerusalem's wellbeing, improving air and water quality and reducing the effects of the harsh Mediterranean climate. Jerusalem's open spaces serve as the biblical backdrop of Jerusalem's rich history. Their flora and fauna are unique to the Jerusalem hills, and are important for the sake of biodiversity. These spaces also serve as important resources for the educational system and are vital for the quality of life for the surrounding community and for its mental and physical health. The Jerusalem Foundation, together with the Jerusalem Municipality and other partners, is committed to preserving and developing nature resources for the residents of Jerusalem.


Several years ago, the Gazelle Valley was in danger of being developed into a housing complex, destroying this natural urban treasure. The response was unique and unprecedented – a whole community, including organizations, architects, planners and concerned citizens, successfully blocked these efforts. When finished, the Gazelle Valley will include a Natural Core thatwill preserve the numerous natural resources in the valley and create a sustainable habitat for the mountain gazelles. It will also include a Buffer Zone that will serve as a natural separation area between intensive human activities and the gazelle population. It will also include public spaces that are being developed to cater to the needs of the general public and include a parking area, picnic and recreation grounds, jogging and bicycle trails, information and research center with basic public facilities.


Projects in the Gazelle Valley will focus on preservation, education and recreation.


Preservation: The vision for the development of the Gazelle Valley grew from the desire of residents to preserve the gazelles as well as the unique natural resources of the area. Projects in this category include:

  • Regulating the Drainage Basin
  • Restoration of the Guard House
  • Bird Walk
  • Gates to the park to ensure the gazelles’ safety


Education: The park provides a unique opportunity to education children, youth and adults about the importance of preserving the gazelles and the environment as a whole. Projects in this category include:

  • Gazelle Observation and Education Center
  • Visitors Center
  • Traditional Agricultural Garden
  • Outdoor classrooms
  • Outdoor artwork and explanatory signs


Recreation: A welcoming open green space will draw visitors to the park where they can spend enjoyable time with friends and family and improves the quality of life of all residents of the city. Projects in this category include:

  • Great Meadow
  • Perimeter Promenade and Bike Paths
  • Observation Terraces and Access Ramp (on the Perimeter Promenade)
  • Gazelle Promenade
  • Playground Installation


Partners:Jerusalem Municipality; Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel; Jerusalem Development Authority; Jewish National Fund