Cycling or marching in a one-way lane
The Moza Valley is part of the Jerusalem Municipal Park - the green belt surrounding the capital. The paved path through the valley is a haven for those who like to walk and cycle, and are looking for a view over the hills of Jerusalem on a safe path with no cars. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority looks after the path, together with other bodies.
Main points of interest:
Beit Zayit reservoir
Cycle path suitable for beginners
Lookout areas next to the path, providing pleasant views over the valley and the banks of Nahal Sorek
Israel Nature and Parks Authority activities to improve visitor services
The Authority is a partner in the planning and laying out of the park
How to get here:
From Moza (northern entrance): Turn off Route 1 towards Beit Zayit. Around 30 m from Route 1 (before the bus stop), the road branches north (right). The road is suitable for cyclists and pedestrians. You can park in the nearby parking area next to the turning into the valley, off Route 1.
From Ein Karem (southern entrance): From the roundabout at the Karem junction, continue for about 350 m towards Sataf and turn north (right) to the access road to the Ein Karem agricultural school. Around 50 m from the junction the road branches to the east (right). Around 200 m further down the road there is a parking area.
The Jerusalem Municipal Park will be a leisure and holiday area for the city's residents, as well as a nature area which will preserve the environmental value and heritage of the hills of Jerusalem. The four areas of the park - Nahal Tsofim, Emek HaArazim, the Moza Valley and Nahal Refa'im - spread across around 15 km2, and in the future they will join up with the green belt surrounding the city. They include planted forests and natural woodland, Bustans and traditional farming terraces, small mountain springs and a wealth of historical sites. The park is still being set up, and this will be done with an emphasis on the principles of sustainable development.
Partners in the development of the park are: the Government of Israel, the Jerusalem Municipality, the Jerusalem Development Authority, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Jewish National Fund. Although the work has not yet been completed, you can already enjoy the walking paths and sites on the way.
The Moza Valley is a part of Nahal Sorek, between Beit Zayit, Mevasseret Zion and Har Harat. At the heart of the valley, which spreads over almost 5,000 dunams, is the Beit Zayit reservoir. On its eastern edge, north of Route 1, are Beit Yellin and the old synagogue of Moza. The general view is of the remains of Bustans, olive groves and vineyards, and slopes of planted forests. A 2.5 km long paved bicycle path runs through the park.
Unlike most of the streams in Israel, the Moza valley runs from north to south. Most of the highest and western peaks of the valley are covered with planted forests. The lower slopes are a mixture of the remains of old Bustans, Mediterranean woodland and beta. Beit Zayit is situated on the eastern bank of the stream. In the winter, when the reservoir is filled with water, many water birds gather here, including species of heron and egrets, ducks and sandpipers. One animal that stands out is the gazelle, which takes advantage of the abundance of food and water here.
Walking trip in the Moza Valley
This trail leads from the northern entrance, next to Beit Zayit.
From the Beit Zayit access road, go down through the passageway of the stream on the dirt track. Here you will meet the Jerusalem Trail, which goes up to Sataf via Har Harat (blue-white-gold signs). Go down to the Moza Valley.
1. Reserve and lime furnace
After around 450 m, you will discover a building on the right which has one room and a dome-shaped roof. This is a granary which has been preserved in excellent condition. The granary is a building which was used in the past by farmers in their fields in the summer season. They would keep their work tools here, store crops and even spend nights here during the harvest.
The trail continues between the vineyards. Around these you can see Bustan trees including mulberry, fig, olive and pomegranate. After around another 400 m, on the right you will see the remains of terraces and a lime furnace. The lime furnace is a stone-lined space, partially dug into the ground, in which chalk stones would be burned to turn them into lime powder (‘burnt lime’). This lime would be used to seal water holes and create cement. The fire in the furnace would burn for a few days, depending on its size.
2. Beit Zayit reservoir
From the lime furnace continue for around another 100 m and go up the paved bicycle path to the lookout area over the reservoir. The Beit Zayit reservoir is a man-made seasonal reservoir - it was built in the early 50s following the construction of a dam in the Nahal Sorek passageway. The builders of the dam at Beit Zayit intended to create a reservoir and to pump its waters, but they failed. The reservoir water seeps quickly through cracks in the rock, and by the spring it has already disappeared into the depths of the mountain aquifer. The direction of the layers of rock in the reservoir show us that the water seeps down and flows under the ground to the Dead Sea, but before it gets there, the Mekorot Water Company drills down and pumps it.
In the winter, when the reservoir is full, a kilometre-long body of water is created, covering an area of around 220 dunams, and it draws in water birds and other animal species. The reservoir’s dam is built on its western edge, and from here the Moza Valley trail continues for around 1.2 km, up to the parking area at the side of Route 395, next to the Karem junction.
3. Bicycle path
The bicycle path is paved along its entire length and it follows the passageway of the stream. There are a number of lookout areas along the route, which look over the landscape and the Beit Zayit reservoir. This is a wonderful path both for beginners and for experienced cyclists who want to improve their cycling skills and physical fitness.
4. Beit Yellin
Beit Yellin stands in the Moza Valley, to the north of Route 1. In the future there will be a passageway south from Beit Yellin beneath Route 1.
Access: Go from the entrance to Beit Zayit towards Mevasseret Yerushalayim (underneath Route 1) and turn left towards Tel Aviv on Route 1. The entrance to Beit Yellin is between kilometre signs 53-54. Make the turning very carefully, and make sure to indicate well in advance.
In 1871 Yehoshua Yellin renovated a Byzantine building and opened a hostel there. In 1890 he built his private house behind this building and lived there with his family. The house had three rooms and was around 100 m2. A balcony was built onto its northern wall. A large cellar was dug underneath the house and a rooftop on its roof. The house has been reconstructed and restored, and today it is a visitor centre for getting to know the heritage of Beit Yellin and the village of Moza. On the Yellin family’s farming plot next to the house there are vineyards and fruit trees.
Beit Yellin is operated by the Society for the Preservation of Israeli Heritage Sites. It has toilets, drinking water and picnic tables on site.
The house is open on Fridays and Saturdays. On Fridays, guided tours take place at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00.
On Saturdays, guided tours take place at 11:30, 13:30, 15:30, 17:30.
There is a cafe which is open on weekends. Thu 18: 00-23: 00, Fri 9: 00-16: 00, Sat 10: 30-20: 30.
Groups can book other visiting hours. Tel: 02-5345443