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Sites in the Quarter


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During the first half of the 19th century, the Jewish population in the Old City of Jerusalem lived in conditions of destitution and poverty. Few of the residents were property owners, and the majority were obliged to rent living quarters from Moslems. In 1857 a large plot of land at the southwestern corner of the Jewish Quarter became available and a philanthropic organization of Dutch and German Jews, known as The Kolel, purchased the vacant land with the aim of building modern housing to ease the congested living situation. For the first time in many years, Jews were now able to build their own housing.

The Batei Mahse Company received the building license and built the first group of flats, the likes of which had never before been seen in the Old City of Jerusalem. In later years, other philanthropists built additional buildings in the Batei Mahse neighborhood, among them the impressive Rothschild House. During the battles that raged in the Quarter during the War of Independence, the apartments and cellars of the buildings in the Batei Mahse neighborhood provided shelter for those civilians still remaining in the besieged Quarter. After the surrender to the Arab Legion, the defenders and civilians were gathered in Batei Mahse Square. The 30 defenders still able to stand after 13 continuous days of fighting, together with 50 wounded and 260 civilians, ranging in age from 13 to 78, were taken into captivity. 1300 residents of the Quarter – children, women and the elderly – were forced to leave their homes, which were looted and then set ablaze. Some 1300 years after Arabs allowed Jews to return to Jerusalem, after the end of the Byzantine era, the Jews were once again expelled from the city inside the walls.

The Site List
The ‘Hurva’ Synagogue
The Herodian Quarter Museum
The ‘Burnt House’ - Katros’ House
The Israelite Tower
The Broad Wall
The Cardo
The Ophal
Tifereth Yisrael Synagogue
The Garden of Resurrection
The Memorial to the Defenders of the Jewish Quarter
Batei Mahse
The Nea Church