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Safra Square's central plaza Safra Square (Hebrew: כיכר ספרא‎, Kikar Safra) is Jerusalem's city hall public square named after Jacob and Esther Safra, parents of Edmond J. Safra, a Jewish philanthropist who contributed generously to the renovation of downtown Jerusalem. Contents 1 Location 2 History 3 Artwork and design 4 References Location Kikar Safra, as it is known in Hebrew, is built on a triangular-shaped plot near the eastern end of Jaffa Road, bounded on the east by Shivtei Yisrael ("Tribes of Israel") street and forming a triangular intersection across from Tzahal Square and the walls of Jerusalem's Old City. The Russian Compound lies to the north. Some of the historic buildings of the Russian Compound have been restored and incorporated into the municipal complex. The Compound's historic gate was moved to the north of its original location. Jerusalem's city hall, both the new complex and the former building, is close to the former 1949 armistice line that divided Jerusalem between Israeli and Jordanian control until 1967. Its location across from the Old City symbolizes the efforts of the municipal government to serve all residents of Jerusalem, east and west. [1] City hall building History The original Jerusalem Municipality complex was built by the British in the 1930s, during the British Mandatory period. As the city grew along with the need to provide more modern and diverse services to an expanding and equally diverse population, the city government's offices expanded as well, and were spread throughout the city. The decentralized location of the municipal government decreased its efficiency, and it was decided to create a single building to house Jerusalem's local government. After lengthy deliberations, the current location was selected, despite the challenge of preserving the large number of historic and culturally significant 19th century buildings.[2][3] The Canadian Jewish architect Jack Diamond and the Israeli architectural firm of Kolker, Kolker, and Epstein were selected to design a project consisting of 3 new buildings to be integrated with an existing 10 buildings and form a cohesive, unified site of 13 buildings. The 10 existing buildings would be preserved and rehabilitated in order to retain a sense of the historic character of the city. The plan for "Jerusalem City Hall" was completed, and its cornerstone laid in 1988. In 1993 the project was completed and the offices opened for business.[2][4] Sukkah built in Safra Square in 2009 Artwork and design At the entrance of the complex is Daniel public garden named for Jerusalem mayor Daniel Auster. The garden contains several works of art: a sculpture based on a large, working Archimedes screw that carries water up from a small pool, "Modern Head", a sculpture by Roy Lichtenstein donated in memory of assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, [5]and "The Binding of Isaac" by Jerusalem sculptor Avraham Ofek. The steps leading up to the complex from Jaffa Road are lined with 48 palm trees, hence the name Palm Plaza (Hebrew: רחבת דקלים). Several statues of lions, the symbol of Jerusalem, also adorn the square.[6] On the Safra Square—next to the Jerusalem town house—the exhibition of the United Buddy Bears was shown for the first time in Israel. The exhibition consisted of 138 respectively 2 m high bear sculptures, each of them designed by a different artist. This international art project was opened by the mayor and he was impressed that the bears of Iran and Iraq and Israel stood peacefully next to each other "hand in hand".[7] References ^ "Safra Square - City Hall". Jerusalem Municipality. http://www.jerusalem.muni.il/jer_sys/picture/atarim/site_form_atar_eng.asp?site_id=147&pic_cat=2&icon_cat=6&york_cat=7.  (English) "כיכר ספרא". Jerusalem Municipality. http://www.jerusalem.muni.il/jer_sys/picture/atarim/site_form_atar.asp?site_id=2670&pic_cat=1&icon_cat=5&york_cat=8.  (Hebrew) says "... this area was chosen for its central location and for its accessibility to the Eastern (portion of the) city." ^ a b "Safra Square - City Hall". Jerusalem Municipality. http://www.jerusalem.muni.il/jer_sys/picture/atarim/site_form_atar_eng.asp?site_id=147&pic_cat=2&icon_cat=6&york_cat=7. Retrieved 2007-07-24.  ^ "שדחו ןשי". Jerusalem Municipality. http://www.jerusalem.muni.il/muni/cityhall/new_old.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-24.  ^ "עיריית ירושלים". Haaretz. http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/pages/ShArtWin.jhtml?itemNo=577660. Retrieved 2007-07-29.  ^ j. - Mideast Report ^ "Sister City - Jerusalem". Government of New York City. http://www.nyc.gov/html/unccp/scp/html/sc/jerusalem_main.shtml. Retrieved 2007-07-24.  ^ Official web of exhibition v · d · eJaffa Road Places 1. Central Bus Station · 2. Railway station (planned) · 3. Mahane Yehuda Market · 4. Klal Center 5. Ben Yehuda Street · 6. Nahalat Shiva · 7. Generali Building · 8. Safra Square / City Hall · 9. Old City 10. Mamilla · 11. Jaffa Gate / Tower of David Squares A. Davidka Square · B. Zion Square · C. Tzahal Square · D. Safra Square Coordinates: 31°46′49.49″N 35°13′25.99″E / 31.7804139°N 35.2238861°E / 31.7804139; 35.2238861