Israeli history photo of the week: Old city J'lem

JPost special feature: A Library of Congress collection of photographs that document Israel before the creation of the state.

December 13, 2012 14:34
1 minute read.

One 80-Year-Old Picture of Jerusalem's Old City . (photo credit: American Colony-Jerusalem-Photo Dept.)


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The Library of Congress has recently digitalized a collection of over 10,000 photographs, taken by the "American Colony" in Jerusalem, a group of Christian utopians who lived in Jerusalem between 1881 and the 1940s. The photographers returned to the US, and bequeathed their massive collection to the Library of Congress in 1978. The collection includes Winston Churchill's visit to Jerusalem, Jewish expulsions from the Old City during Arab riots, and the building of Tel Aviv.

These pictures were taken from the newly constructed YMCA tower in Jerusalem in 1933. The photographer was looking east toward the Old City and the Mount of Olives beyond. The photo also shows four domes in close proximity to the Temple Mount -- the Dome of the Rock and then three domes in a row to the right, the Hurva Synagogue, followed by the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue, and then the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Prominent in the foreground is the King David Hotel. In the background are the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus. The two large synagogues were blown up in 1948 after the Old City and Jewish Quarter fell to the Jordanian Legion.

In 1949, the city of Jerusalem was riven by an armistice lines with barbed wires, walls, and border crossings. It remained split until 1967 when the city was reunited in the "Six-Day War."

More photos can be viewed at

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