Emek Refaim (literally means “Valley of Ghosts” or “Valley of Giants”) is the German Colony, a neighborhood in Jerusalem. It is a well known street fairly close to the city center and easily accessible by public transport and a pleasant walk from the city center hotels.
Many of the buildings on Efek Refaim were built during the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate era. Several of the German Templer buildings are still standing, as well as the elegant villas that were used to be owned by wealthy Arab families before the establishment of Israel as a country.
Emek Refaim is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Jerusalem. Because of its laid-back and carefree culture and atmosphere, the place is like a piece of Tel Aviv in the otherwise conservative Jerusalem.
Apart from the historical homes and other buildings, Emek Refaim is known for its cafes, restaurants and shops. One cafe even has a cinema!
When Efek Refaim holds big events such as market or book fairs, it usually closes to traffic.
Efek Refaim is a great place to sit down, eat up, watch the world go by, read the paper and catch up on the football. While you would initially think of Efek Refaim as the place for the some of the hippest crowd in search for a fun place to hang out or for lovers on a romantic date, it is also the place with a family-friendly environment.
For smaller children and some fresh air, there is a great little park one street in at the corner of Hidlesheimer and HaZefira. Emek Refaim is also home to the main public swimming pool located in town. For more details, please also see Swimming Pools.
After dark Emek Refaim is one of the main places in Jerusalem to eat and hang out. Among the most popular restaurants and cafes (both kosher and non-kosher) are Aldo (for ice cream), Pompidou (for creative kosher bistro fare), Roza (with a family-friendly menu). Looking for an American menu? Check out Iwo Meat Burger (pictured above) or a branch of Burgers Bar (the most popular burger chain in Israel).
It is a family friendly place for downtime. Older children can browse the shops whilst everybody will find it a great place to replenish energy, with full meals, coffee shops, pizza, felafel, vegetarian, chocolate and Oriental.
If you want to do some touring then wander round the streets and alleyways between Emek Refaim – Lloyd George, Wedgwood and friends. The German Templar cemetery is sometimes open on Friday morning and worth a quick visit.
A few times a year Emek Refaim is pedestrianised for an evening and there is a “street happening” – well worth it if you are lucky enough to catch one. See our gallery of a recent event here.