Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Mystery Picture: A Fountain Found and a Windmill Disappears

Several excellent answers were received giving the location to our latest mystery picture. But where's the windmill?

One caption in the Ottoman Archives labels this picture as the Ottoman Train Station Opening Ceremony.
Another identifies it as the dedication of the Fountain in 1902. (Ottoman Imperial Archives)

As pointed out by several readers, the location is the public sabil (public fountain) above the Braichat HaSultan (Sultan's Pool) valley outside of Jerusalem's Old City, on the road between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The event is the public (re)dedication of the fountain, one of seven built by Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century.

Simon provided a contemporary photo and this explanation:  It would be hard and dangerous to take a picture from the same location as today's mystery photo, because you would need to stand in the middle of a very busy road. In fact you would need to crouch down, because the level of the street has obviously risen since the photo was taken.

This screen capture from Google Maps Street View is very close though: Mishkenot Sha'ananim, the arch of the drinking fountain at the end of Sultan's pool, and the Sephardic synagogue in Yemin Moshe can all be seen in both pictures. I'm not sure why the Montefiore windmill isn't visible in the old picture -- either it's behind the flag or it blends into the background.


Unless I'm missing something, I don't see where the picture was doctored: the fancy pediment on top of the drinking fountain looks like a wooden attachment made at the time, not photo-doctoring.

Google Street View picture of the site today. Note the windmill of Yemin Moshe
Jonathan added:  Suleiman the Magnificent's fountain "sabil" on Hebron Road (technically the dam at the southern end of the Sultan's Pool). Built in 1536. The entablature above the sabil is not original and was added by the editor. Mishkenot Shaananim is in the background. 

What's missing in the Ottoman picture? A whole windmill!

The same dedication ceremony before the 114-year-old Ottoman version of "Photoshop"
 (Harvard, Central Zionist Archives)
Why was the windmill, built for the Jewish community in 1857, removed from the Ottoman picture?  Perhaps because the imposing structure overshadowed the fountain. 

We thank Martin for this additional view of the fountain (below), taken from the Sultan's Pool. The hand-colored picture is from Chatham University's collection of Jerusalem pictures.

The fountain is in the center of the dam beneath St. Andrew's Church and St. John's Eye Hospital (today
the Mt. Zion Hotel)

On the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem (today's "Hebron Road") Note the fountain on the dam.
(Hand colored. Chatham University)

1 comment:

  1. Any chance that, due to the perspective at which the rededication photo was taken, that the windmill was obscured by the flag?

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