Just outside Jerusalem, in the Judean desert, sits an unexpected but spectacular new site: DCity.  The D is for “Design;” and specializing in home decor and furnishings, the sprawling shopping and entertainment complex includes life-like replicas of the streets, buildings and canals of Venice.   With a free shuttle from Jerusaelm’s centrally-located Binyanei Hauma convention center, the 30-minute journey to DCity is worth it, even for those not planning to shop.  First of all, the drive to DCity is beautiful, passing some of Israel’s most marvelous desert landscapes. And the journey back provides sweeping views of Jerusalem, of its stone building and city walls and towers.

DCity itself is a landmark in the desert. Visitors can wander its paths, filled with more than 200 stores, with both Israel and international brands, but also with gourmet restaurants and cafes. Musicians and other entertainers, includinding mimes and dancers, also fill the streets. It is by far Israel’s fancient mall, with both indoor and outdoor sections.   The mall’s main architectural element is a replica of St. Mark’s square in Venice, containing its famous red tower, giant white clock and several elaborate building facades.

 The interior of the square is actually covered by a roof with an artificial sky, making sure it’s that magic hour just before sunset, when the streetlights are illuminated. The three-story tall buildings contain cafes and restaurants offering views of the plaza below. There are also smaller food stalls, with more eateries opening in early 2022.  There is also a life-like model of the Italian city’s Rialto bridge, with a canal-like fountain running under it.

 For those looking to fill half of a day, or an evening, it is a recommended place to explore, making sure not to miss the restaurants in St. Mark’s square. For those looking for a bigger adventure, you can also visit the adjacent Magic Kass, an indoor amusement park built by the same developer. Magic Kass features rides, performances and a large indoor play area.   Both the mall and the amusement park are open until 8 p.m., with later hours on Saturday nights.  For more information and special events, see https://d-city.co.il/.

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