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Pope Benedict Photo: AFP
Pope Benedict Photo: AFP
 
 

Jerusalem prepares for Pope's visit

Capital's mayor believes Benedict's visit could significantly boost tourism to city, earmarks millions towards projects to transform city's appearance

Tzipi Malkov
Published: 02.24.09, 07:44 / Israel Travel

Pope Benedict XVI's planned visit to Israel will likely cause some inconvenience to Jerusalem's residents, who are already used to the traffic jams associated with every major figure's visit to their city.

 

But the Pope's visit is also expected to have some positive side effects for Jerusalemites, as the municipality intends to launch a massive clean up and rehabilitation project aimed at upgrading the capital's shabby appearance in honor of the event.


Cleaning up the Western Wall (Archive photo: Reuters)

 

Once it became clear that the Pope's intent to visit the Holy Land was genuine, the Municipality and Mayor Nir Barkat started gearing up for the historic event. Barkat believes that the visit could substantially boost tourism to the city, and plans to invest millions in preparations. Some of the money will be funneled by the government.

 

And so, after years of neglect, the roads surrounding the residence of the Vatican's ambassador to Israel on Mount of Olives will undergo resurfacing and adjacent pavements will be repaved.

 

Restoration works will be carried out at the Gat Shmanim Church, where the Pope is expected to hold a mass. Access roads leading to the Western Wall will also be repaired, the Western Wall plaza will be polished to a shine and beggars will be removed from there until after the visit.

 

The Talbiya neighborhood may also undergo renovations ahead of Benedict's visit at the presidential residence, as well as the area surrounding the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum.

 

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