|A sign in Jerusalem written in English, French, Arabic and|
Hebrew. The sign reads "Speed of motor driven vehicles through
Jerusalem not to exceed 8 miles per hour." (circa 1918, Library
of Congress Carpenter Collection)
|"Traffic signs in English, French, Arabic and |
Hebrew. Jerusalem, Palestine." (circa 1918)
Actually, it is an enlargement taken from a noteworthy picture showing a signpost pointing to "Jaffa Road, Ramleh, Lod (Lydda or Ludd) & Jaffa" to the left and "Hebron Road, Jaffa Gate, Bethlehem & Hebron" to the right.
The picture was probably taken soon after the British army captured Jerusalem in December 1917. We don't know who posed for the picture, but from the background we know exactly where it was taken -- opposite the Old City walls and the "New Gate" into the Christian Quarter.
The first building behind the signs is the French Hospital of St. Louis des Français, first established in 1851 inside the Old City.
The second is Notre Dame de France (now Notre Dame de Jerusalem) whose cornerstone was laid in 1885. When it received its first pilgrims in 1888, the center could accommodate 1,600 guests in 400 rooms.
|Barracks for Russian pilgrims in|
The French institutions in this picture -- representing Roman Catholic interests -- competed with the Russian institutions, often representing Eastern Catholics. The Russian pilgrims' hostel and medical facility were located in the Jerusalem "Russian Compound" which had a clear view of the Old City to the south. The French facilities were built across the road from the Old City, blocking the Russians' view.
|"X" marks the spot of the 1918 road sign in this map of Jerusalem|
today (credit: Google Maps)