Jewish Quarter from Temple Mount, mat04722

Jewish Quarter from the Temple Mount

It wasn’t all that long ago that this area looked very different.  This photograph, taken from the Temple Mount, looks towards the Jewish Quarter.  I don’t have a “today” comparison because sensitivities now do not allow one to access this area.

Dominating the skyline are two domed synagogues, once major landmarks in the Old City: the taller Tiferet Israel (“Glory of Israel”) on the left and the Hurvah (“Ruin”) on the right. Sadly, both structures fell victim to the hostilities of 1948. During the final fighting for the Jewish Quarter in May 1948, both synagogues, which had served as strategic positions for the quarter’s Jewish defenders, were intentionally blown up by Arab forces. Then, with Israeli control of the Old City after 1967, the remains of both buildings were consolidated and preserved as memorials. Until 2006, the Hurvah site sported a memorial arch which became a visual symbol of the new Jewish Quarter and an Old City landmark. Today the Hurvah is being rebuilt, exactly to its original mid-19th century appearance.

In the foreground are the houses and other structures of the Mughrabi Quarter, an Arab neighborhood which covered what is now the expansive Western Wall plaza and the adjacent excavated areas around the Temple Mount. After Israel captured the Old City in the 1967 Six Day War, within a matter of days the Mughrabi Quarter’s residents were forced out and relocated, and most of the buildings seen here were razed. However, the lower floors of some of the houses became the base of an earthen ramp that provided access to the Temple Mount’s Mughrabi Gate from 1967 until 2004, when part of the ramp collapsed. Now, these same houses—and more ancient structures beneath them—are being exposed archaeologically in advance of construction of a new Mughrabi Gate foot-bridge.42_jerusalem_front

This photograph and description are taken from the Jerusalem volume of The American Colony and Eric Matson Collection.  The photograph is originally from the Library of Congress, LC-matpc-04722, and the description was written by Tom Powers.  The $25 CD includes 685 high-resolution photographs and the equivalent of a 200-page book of annotations such as the one above.


From the Jerusalem Post:

Volunteering for the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel’s annual survey of migrating birds in Israel’s skies is not for the novice bird-watcher. First, the watcher has to spot the flecks hundreds of meters up in the air, then identify them and then estimate their numbers – all while the birds are flying overhead at around 50 km per hour.
For experienced bird-watchers, like Nico Noondhof and Erwin Booij – who flew here from the Netherlands especially to volunteer for the survey – it is a chance to see flocks of eagles and pelicans that simply do not grace the skies of any other country in such numbers.
“It’s amazing,” Noondhof told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, in a field near Nahalal in the Jezreel Valley. Outfitted with his own equipment – telescope, binoculars and camping chair – Noondhof has been counting birds of prey and pelicans for hours on end daily.
Noondhof has traveled widely to watch birds, throughout Europe and Asia and the Middle East, “but it cannot compare to Israel during the migrating season.”
In the few hours during which the Post joined the survey line, 700-800 eagles flew by and about 2,200 pelicans winged their way south in one giant flock.
On Tuesday, survey project coordinator Jonathan Meyrav was constantly on the phone to his contact in the air force, warning him of impending flocks. The birds are tracked from the Hula Valley in the North down through the Jezreel Valley. The air force plans its take-offs and landings from the nearby base as best it can in light of Meyrav’s reports.
At one point, the planes didn’t take off at all as the pelicans flew by. At another, they took off the other way to avoid the birds. And at still another point, they took off into the birds’ flight paths but then banked sharply away, to train in another area of sky.
Israel is in a unique position to observe bird migrations, as it is a way station between Europe and Asia and Africa. Over 500,000 birds traverse its length each season.
It is the only place in the world to see so many birds of prey, like the greater spotted eagle, the lesser spotted eagle, the kite and others, as well as pelicans flying over, Dan Alon, who coordinates all of SPNI’s birding centers explained.

The complete article is here.

Birds near Jordan River north of Sea of Galilee, tb032807101

Birds above Jordan River north of the Sea of Galilee
About the BiblePlaces Blog

The BiblePlaces Blog provides updates and analysis of the latest in biblical archaeology, history, and geography. Unless otherwise noted, the posts are written by Todd Bolen, PhD, Professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s University.


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