Cyrus II (also known as Cyrus the Great or Koresh) was the first king of the Persian kingdom. The declaration of Cyrus gave the Jews exiled in Babylon the right to return to Israel and build the Second Temple there. Koresh Street in Jerusalem is named after him.
The building was first erected to serve as the Central Post Office during the British Mandate. It was constructed as part of four government buildings in the area together with the first City Hall, the Anglo-Palestine Bank building and the Generali Building. It was built in a grand international style with the addition of local architectural elements.
The back of the building, facing Koresh Street, is adorned with unique stone in a pattern of black and white stripes, reminiscent of an architectural element from the Mamluk construction in Jerusalem, known as Ablaq. The black stones are basalt that were brought from the Golan Heights in the north.
The building's high profile inauguration ceremony took place on June 18, 1938 with the High Commissioner, important members of the Mandate regime and hundreds of guests in attendance.
The building housed the first automated telephone exchange in the country, which operated using technology developed by Almon Strauger. It began operations in June 1938 with a 3,500-line exchange.
Following the explosion of the King David Hotel on July 22, 1946, the British began confiscating shops and offices in buildings where there were British targets to prevent similar attacks. The British evacuated Jewish shopkeepers and businesses from the Russian compound and from nearby Jaffa Street, the most bustling commercial area of Jewish Jerusalem , and built a fortified and fenced military compound around their government offices in Jerusalem.
On May 14, 1948, upon the British departure from the city, the area was occupied by Irgun fighters in "Operation Pitchfork." Under the command of Yehuda Treibish Menashe, fighters from the base in the Feingold House went into battle. They stormed the government buildings in the British security zone and occupied them.
In the 1960s, after the transfer of the telephone exchange to the new digital exchange building in the Shaare Chesed neighborhood, the telex exchange continued to operate in the building until the end of the 1980s.
In 1983, the building was thoroughly renovated by the architect Yoram Friedman and housed the Ministry of Communications and Bezeq, the national phone company.
In May 2017, the Koresh Central Hotel and Bar opened. It was designed by Israeli architect Gad Halperin and features architectural elements in keeping with the building's rich history. We are proud to be a family run hotel in a historic building in Jerusalem's center.