Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Photo Added to "Where Is Tell Pioth?"

A version of this posting first appeared on October 4
Tell Pioth on the Plain of Rephaim is actually
 Talpiot in southern Jerusalem

This pastoral picture from the Library of Congress collection bears the date 1925 and the caption, "Jewish colony of Tell Pioth on the Plain of Rephaim." 

Where's Tell Pioth?

It may take a few seconds for anyone who knows Jerusalem to realize that the picture is of the Talpiot neighborhood  in southern Jerusalem.  The "Plain of Rephaim" is the continuation of "Emek Refaim" Road in Jerusalem's German Colony.
Postcard showing the new Jerusalem suburb "Talpioth"
(with permission of the Jewish Postcard Collection)
Israel Daily Picture discovered another picture of Talpiot dating back to the same period as the Library of Congress picture in Stephanie Comfort's amazing Jewish Postcard Collection.

The land for Talpiot was purchased in 1911 from German Templers of the German Colony of Jerusalem.  Standing on the land and looking northeast toward Jerusalem's Old City and the Tower of David, the Jewish founders saw themselves as guardians of the Holy City, specifically the "talpiyot (turrets)" as expressed in the Bible's Song of Songs, 4:4 "Thy neck is like the tower of David, built with turrets."

Army parade ground. Is this the land
that would become Talpiot?
The Turkish army's parade ground was located on the "Rephaim Plain," according to the Library of Congress photo captions.  With the Old City turrets and the Church of the Dormition in the background of this picture of the Turkish and German commanders reviewing their troops, it appears that this is the area where Talpiot was built.

By 1924 the first 40 homes were built, but the community suffered from deadly Arab attacks in 1929 and again in 1936.

Among the early settlers in Talpiot was the writer S.Y. Agnon who wrote about the neighborhood in his book, The Fire and the Trees.  "I stood among the small trees that surround gardens... and on the path that I love the small houses and the refreshing gardens..." 

Trees, gardens and small houses such as those in the first picture.

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