Israeli history photo of the week: Palace hotel .
(photo credit: American Colony-Jerusalem-Photo Dept.)
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.
When the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin el Husseini built the Palace Hotel in 1929
he spared no cost. After renovating the Muslim sites on the Haram el Sharif
(Temple Mount), he sought a palatial luxury hotel for visiting rulers of the
Muslim and Arab world. He had no compunction about using funds from the Muslim
Early in the construction, one of the Jewish contractors wrote in his memoirs,
workers discovered buried human remains, apparently from an ancient section of
the Mamilla Muslim cemetery across the road. Husseini instructed the contractor
to quickly and quietly rebury the bones lest his political rivals discover the
desecration. But they did find out, and a nasty public relations and religious
court battle ensued.
The hotel was unable to compete with the plush King
David Hotel a few blocks away and closed its doors in 1935. The building was
expropriated by the British Mandate Government.
After the British departed Palestine in 1948 and Israel's creation, the Palace
Hotel became Israel’s Ministry of Industry and Trade. Today, the historic building is under renovation
and construction with plans to reopen as the 5-star "Palace Jerusalem
More photos can be viewed at www.israeldailypicture.com
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