Things to Do in Jerusalem
Jerusalem Activities: Segway Tours
If you’re sick of Jerusalem traffic jams or frustrated by the confines of being in a bus or a car, enjoy a two-wheeled adventure as you embark upon a Segway Tour – the best mode of transportation in town.
Segways, invented in 2001, are an ecologically friendly method of personal transportation; they look like overgrown scooters, only without the long footrest. The Segway is a great way to explore any Jerusalem attraction and beat congestion, power through the narrow streets, and avoid the unpredictability of the buses. Electrically operated, the Segway uses the rider’s balance to get around; once you get the hang of it, it feels like gliding across the ground. As the rider leans slightly forward, the Segway picks up momentum; to slow down or stop, the rider leans back.
Segway tours offer a fun alternative to ordinary sightseeing in Israel. They are quiet, simple to operate, and allow you to explore places that are out of walking range.
Things to See in Jerusalem
Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, one of the most popular Segway tours is to the Armon Hanatziv Promenade, which is comprised of three different promenades:
- Haas Promenade (or Tayelet) that overlooks the Jerusalem Old City and the Hinnom Valley,
- Sherover Promenade, and
- Goldman Promenade.
On a Segway, it’s easy to navigate the hilly areas with relatively little effort.
In Jerusalem, several companies operate Segway tours. All insist on a short training session prior to setting out; once you’ve strapped on the obligatory safety helmet, you’re off. Although riders are required by law to travel at a speed of less than 13.5 km per hour, a Segway keeps you moving and offers an opportunity to see things you might not have noticed while whizzing by on a tour bus.
There are Segway tours to the grounds around the Knesset, Israel’s recently renovated parliament building. You’ll also see the impressive iconic menorah that’s been a national symbol since Hasmonean times, and the beautiful Wohl Rose Gardens that connects the Knesset with the Supreme Court Building.
A Segway tour is also a good way to fully appreciate the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, located near Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus. Seasonal exhibits, a conservatory, pond, and the largest plant collection in the country make this a pleasant urban oasis. A Segway trip will allow you to take in the sights and still leave you with plenty of energy to continue exploring Jerusalem and its many attractions.
Mishkenot Shaananim and Yemin Moshe are two Jerusalem neighborhoods served by the Segway tour companies. Located in the valley just west of Jaffa Gate and Mt Zion, Mishkenot Shaananim was the first neighborhood built outside the walls of the Old City in the late 19th century. Sponsored by British philanthropist Moses Montefiore, the simple terraced dwellings were topped with a crenelated wall in the same style as the walls of the Old City—an effort to keep things familiar for the brave residents who ventured out of the Old City and exposed themselves to bandits.
Montefiore built the poor people a windmill so they could grind grain and support themselves, but apparently Jerusalem’s wind patterns were never quite sufficient and the windmill became a decorative symbol identifying the neighborhood. Today there’s a wide platform next to the landmark where Segway tours stop to take advantage of the superb views of the hills surrounding Jerusalem.
Things to Do in Jerusalem Trivia: Did You Know?
A new Segway costs between $5,000 and $7,000 dollars. Although they were invented in 2001, they only became legal in Israel in 2006. Riders must be at least 16 years of age.