Israeli history photo of the week: Triumphal arch

JPost special feature: Library of Congress photo collection that documents Israel before creation of the state.

June 14, 2012 13:03
1 minute read.
arch built by the Jewish community of Jerusalem

Triumphal arch 370. (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.

There are many pictures in the American Colony collection that are simply not well captioned.  Kudos go to the curators at the Library of Congress for digitalizing and cataloging the many photos they received from a California old age home. But, in some cases, they may have had trouble putting all of the puzzle pieces back in place.

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The first photo in this series is set somewhere in Jerusalem, sometime between 1898 and 1946, the period when the American Colony's photography department was active.

The second photo is accompanied by the same caption "Triumphal arch" and the dates of 1898-1946.

After extensive research the blanks were filled in and it was discovered that the first picture was taken in 1898. The arch was built in honor of the Emperor of Germany, Wilhelm II.  The location was Nablus Road, a few hundred meters north of the American Colony's home.  The second "Arch" picture was probably taken from the American Colony's upper floor and may be a photo of the Emperor's procession.

The following "Arch" pictures below are also from Nablus Road. A group of houses with distinct roofs in several of the pictures have been marked with a box.

More photos can be viewed at

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