7 Wonders of the Mormon World

3. The Jerusalem Center

7 Wonders of the Mormon World: Jerusalem Center
Photo courtesy of Brigham Young University

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the dedication of the The Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. Though considered by many to be a stunning addition to Holy City's landscape, the project was first met with protests and death threats. In fact, it nearly caused the collapse of the Israeli government on more than one occasion. (Click here to read the miraculous story of how the Jerusalem Center came to be.)

Located on Mount Scopus, on the northern end of the Mount of Olives, the grace and beauty of the Jerusalem Center is distinctive. With its ingenious use of space and light, and the best natural materials from around the globe, it is an architectural masterpiece that reflects the style of the Near East and makes the most of the spectacular panoramic view of the Old City below.

Here are some fun facts about this magnificent building:

• The Center, approximately 125,000 square feet, is built on 5½ acres of land amid beautifully landscaped gardens that contain several trees and plants mentioned in the Bible.

• The Center has 8 levels and can accommodate approximately 170 students.

• The recital and special events auditorium is surrounded by glass on 3 sides, seats about 300 people, and features one of the finest organs in the region (which has more than 3,000 pipes).

7 Wonders of the Mormon World: Jerusalem Center
The auditorium at the Jerusalem Center (photo courtesy of Brigham Young University)

• The Center is constructed of hand-chiseled Jerusalem limestone and features 117 arches.

• More than 400 micropiles were drilled into Mount Scopus to secure the Center’s foundation in case of an earthquake.

• 40,000 tons of reinforced concrete were used to construct the building.

• Israeli architect David Reznik and U.S. architect Frank Ferguson designed the Jerusalem Center.

• The Center was closed to students from late 2000 through 2006 due to the Second Intifada (a Palestinian uprising that began in September 2000 and led to intense fighting between Palestinians and Israelis) and the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.

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