Thursday, December 13, 2012

One 80-Year-Old Picture of Jerusalem's Old City
Is Worth 1,000 Words of of History

Looking east from the YMCA tower in Jerusalem in 1933. What is in the picture?
This picture from the Library of Congress -- American Colony Photographic Department collection was taken from the newly constructed YMCA tower in Jerusalem in 1933. The photographer was looking east toward the Old City and the Mount of Olives beyond.

The photo also shows four domes in close proximity to the Temple Mount -- the Dome of the Rock and then three domes in a row to the right, the Hurva Synagogue, followed by the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue, and then the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Prominent in the foreground is the King David Hotel. In the background are the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus.

The two large synagogues were blown up in 1948 after the Old City and Jewish Quarter fell to the Jordanian Legion. 
Enlargement of the three domes: Hurva, Tiferet
Yisrael and al Aqsa

The two synagogues with the Hurva on the right
(Library of Congress collection, 1900)

The two synagogues were prominently featured in the other pictures taken around 1900.
The two synagogues, with Tiferet Yisrael on
the left.

In 1949, the city of Jerusalem was riven by an armistice lines with barbed wires, walls, and border crossings.  It remained split until 1967 when the city was reunited in the "Six-Day War."

Click on the photos to enlarge.

Click on the captions to see the originals.

The same view today
Google Earth view today of the area in the 1933 American Colony picture
The Hurva was rebuilt in 2010.  Plans to rebuild the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue were announced by the Jerusalem Municipality in November 2012.

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