Thursday, August 30, 2012

Another Mystery Picture: The Foreground and Background in This 1916 Picture Are Full of History

Photo from an album showing Turkish dignitaries leaving
the Old City on Saturday, February 26, 1916, heading
 toward Jaffa Road
The Library of Congress archives provide little information on this picture other than "Turkish officers of high rank visiting Jerusalem Parade" in 1917. 

A private album from the American Colony whose photographers took the picture provides a little more information: "Driving out of the Damascus Gate."  The picture was placed in the album amidst pictures of Enver Pasha, the Chief of Staff of the Ottoman army, who was visiting Jamal Pasha, the governor of Syria and Palestine.  The two men were part of the ruling "Young Turks." 
Enlargement of the picture. Note the dozens of ultra-Orthodox
Jews in the foreground wearing fur shtreimels and black hats,
usually reserved for the Sabbath and festivals.  Their wives may
be wearing the white kerchiefs, and fezzes were often worn
by Sephardi Jews

[For more on the two Pashas see "Did a German General Prevent the Massacre of the Jews of Eretz Yisrael in World War I?"]

Enver Pasha visited Jerusalem at the height of the war in the Sinai between the Ottoman/German forces and the British army, then based in Egypt and fighting to defend the Suez Canal.  Enver's visit took place on Saturday, February 26, 1916, according to the published diaries of a European diplomat in Jerusalem.  Enver visited the Mt. of Olives and the Dome of the Rock shrine in the Old City.  His lodgings were at the Hotel Kaminitz on Jaffa Road.  This picture was taken apparently when the two pashas were traveling between these landmarks.
Valero's shops torn down in 1937 by
the British to provide more "open space"
near Damascus Gate

Valero's shops being built circa 1900.The
 domes of the Hurva and Tifferet Yisrael
synagogues are on the horizon on the
left of the picture
And the street was full of observant Jews dressed in their Sabbath finery.

In the background of the picture are a row of Jewish-owned shops adjacent to the Damascus Gate built by a Jewish businessman in Jerusalem, Chaim Aharon Valero.  The shops were built around 1900 but torn down under British zoning regulations in 1937.

1 comment:

  1. Very informative. Do you have any comment on the the three prominent domes in the Jewish Quarter in the last picture?