In 1892 a large delegation of both Jews and Arabs, as well as forgienr dignitaries, gathered at Jeruslaem’s newly-built railroad station to welcome the first train from Jaffa, which was the main port city and link to the rest of the world. Among the people greeting the train was Eliezer Ben Yehuda, the father of modern Hebrew, who announced that the modern Hebrew word for train would be “rakevet.” For the next decades the train was the main form of transportation between Jerusalem and Jaffa, and later Tel Aviv. By the 1960s, Road 1 took much of the traffic away from the train, which continued to decline through the 1990s. Eventually the tracks deteriorated so much that the train only reached Jerusalem’s Malha neighborhood, leaving the last stretch of tracks–and the station–out of service beginning in 1998.
But the shell of the old train station remained, not far from the bustling German Colony neighborhood. Thanks to a massive restoration project during the last decade the first Jerusalem train station is once again a busy place.
But not for trains. Today the restored station building and its large surrounding wooden platform is home to a collection of restaurants, shops and a small amusement park, This is one of the best places to visit on Fridays when local artists set up booths selling clothing, jewelry, ceramics and other crafts.
There is also often music, as well as other special events and performances. Throughout the week there are also regular outdoor Yoga classes, concerts, and other activities. Check the events calendar on Facebook for the latest updates. For a further adventure, rent a bike at First Station to cycle on the historic tracks, which are now part of a large network of bike and walking paths that link together various areas of the city. More information can be found on the website of First Station.