пятница, 14 декабря 2012 г.

14a. Abandoned Mosques. South

Mosque of Abu l-‘Awn
مسجد أبو العون
מסגד אבו אל-עון

On Google Maps this structure is called “Maqam Abu Liyun”, although it was never a tomb. Arab residents of the village Jaljulia (a structure is located on the territory of the village cemetery) do not think it is maqam. It is an abandoned, or rather laid up, mosque. Metal structures and wooden props hold together and support the building, preventing it from falling apart.

The mosque had two vaulted rooms, but only the eastern one survived; the western room, which was higher, with a large dome (Petersen 2001, 176), was destroyed by the fire of British artillery during the World War I. Now the only memory left of this room is the remains of the arches. The mihrab in the eastern room survived, but it is difficult to see it because of the wooden props.

View from the west

The plan of the mosque and the mihrab (from the book by A. Petersen)

View from the south

According to one of the hypothesis, the name “Abu l-‘Awn” originates from the spiritual leader of the 15–16th centuries named Shams ed-Din Abu l-‘Awn Muhammad el-Ghazi, who also built a mosque Sidna Ali near Arsuf. According to another hypothesis, the mosque is named after a certain commander Salah al-Din (Saladin). At least the appearance of the mosque matches the architecture of 15–16th centuries.

Photo of 1990s

Route. Jaljulia Cemetery is situated on the right side at the entrance to the village from the Highway 444.

Visited: 02.08.12
Coordinates: 32°09'11.1"N 34°56'56.9"E
Location of the object on Google Maps
References: Palmer 1881, 221 (Sheet XIV); Petersen 2001, 124–125

Mosque of Sheikh Ahmad el-‘Ajami
مسجد الشيخ أحمد العجمي
מסגד שייח' אחמד אל-עג'מי

Following the Muslim tradition, Ahmad el-‘Ajami (i.e., “Persian”) was a companion of the Prophet Muhammad and his personal barber. The remains of a rich Palestinian house, located in the ha-Masrek Reserve in moshav Beit Meir, are connected with Ahmad el-‘Ajami. Its dimensions are 10.21 x 13.45 m. Behind the double-vaulted portico (riwaq) there are two large rooms. Two small domes, decorated with conches (shells) from the inside, crown the second room. The mihrab is in the southern wall, it's decorated with a modelling representing stylized plant with a bird on the top of it. A curious fact is that the construction was built above the cave; the collapsed entrance of this cave is still visible to the east of the building. A. Petersen said that “The cave is divided into two compartments. The exterior compartment contains a mihrab.” (2001, 124)

The map of the ha-Masrek Reserve with the monument charted on it

View from the south

The mihrab

The dome

The cave

On the map of Palestine Exploration Fund (Sheet XVII) at this place stands the maqam of Sheikh el-‘Ajami (Palmer 1881, 327). Palestinian historian W. Khalidi said: “There is a wild forest of old trees on the eastern edge of the village site, on top of the mountain. The tomb of al-‘Ajami, together with other graves, are among the trees.” (1992, 277) Israeli booklet advertising Shmurat ha-Masrek, also connects this structure with the tomb of Ahmad el-‘Ajami. But there is nothing inside it to indicate that there was a cenotaph. Although A. Petersen calls this structure a maqam (2001, 124–125), in his description there is no indication of the cenotaph or its supposed whereabouts either. This structure can hardly be numbered among maqams. Large size, rich moldings, the presence of mihrab suggest that the building was a house of worship, a mosque or even an Islamic school (madrasah) situated near the Palestinian village Beit Mahsir.

The plan of the Mosque (from the book by A. Petersen)

Though the building has become a part of the park complex and stands in a busy place, its deterioration continues. Comparing the current state of the monument with its photographs of a few years ago, we can see that the destruction has gone far enough. The double-vaulted portico into the building, for example, is completely destroyed. Now to get into the second room, you need to surmount a pile of debris. Recently, the administration Shmurat ha-Masrek surrounded the building with barbed wire, barring the access to the inside because of the threat of collapse.

Photo of 1964 (Source)

Photo of 1994 (from the book by A. Petersen)

Photo of 2006

Route. At the road junction Shoresh turn from the Highway 1 onto Route 3955, leading to Beit Meir; turn right in front of moshav to Shmurat ha-Masrek. From the parking place walk westwards for 350 meters along the path.

Visited: 01.08.12
Coordinates: 31°47'40.3"N 35°02'28.3"E
Location of the object on Google Maps

References: Palmer 1881, 286 (Sheet XVII); Palmer 1881, 327 (Sheet XVII); Stewardson 1888, 138; Quarterly statement XXV 219; Canaan 1927, 250–251; Khalidi 1992, 277; Petersen 2001, 124–125
Wikipedia: Bayt Mahsir; Shmurat ha-Masrek

Mosque of Sheikh Mahmud el-‘Ajami
مسجد الشيخ محمود العجمي
מסגד שייח' מחמוד אל-עג'מי

Near the Spring of Qoby stands a pretty impressive building (8.50 x 8.70 x 4.70 m). This is a former mosque built in the Ottoman period and named after Sheikh Mahmud el-‘Ajami. The structure was built of ashlar stones in secondary use. A column in secondary use was incorporated in the exterior southeast corner of the building. Well-preserved mihrab is surrounded by inscriptions in Arabic: “Allah Akbar.” The entrance is blocked by the iron lattice with a lock.

The foundation of the mosque dates back to the Roman-Byzantine period. At that time here stood Nymphēum and other facilities. Nearby lie the remains of the Church of the Crusaders.

View from the north

View from the west

The mihrab

Route. From Route 385, near Mevo Beitar, turn on the paved road leading north, up to ‘Ein Qoby.

Visited: 13.08.12
Coordinates: 31°43'32.6"N 35°07'02.8"E
Location of the object on Google Maps
References: Guérin, Judee II 384; Khalidi 1992, 307–308; Petersen 2001, 248–249

Mosque in el-Yahudiya
مسجد في اليهودية
מסגד של יהודייה

Where once used to stand an Arab-Palestinian village el-Yahudiya (since 1932 – el-‘Abbasiya) now lies the Israeli city Yehud. Former village mosque together with the tomb of Sheikh (presumably, Sheikh ‘Abbas) is included in the structure of a functioning synagogue in the center of the village. All what’s left of the mosque is a minaret of 21 meters high with an inscription in Arabic representing the shahada. Entrance to the minaret is tightly closed. The white dome in the southern part of the synagogue originally might have crowned the sheikh’s tomb.

View from the west

Photo of 1948. Source

View from the south-east

View from the north-east. In the foreground is the Yehud Municipality

This tomb is to be distinguished from the tomb of the patriarch Judah, son of Jacob, which is also situated in Yehud (north-west) and is a Jewish shrine. However, it is also of a Muslim origin, and in the 19th century was known as the Maqam Neby Huda.

The tomb of Judah, son of Jacob (former Maqam Neby Huda)

Route. From Highway 461 (Derech Lod) turn into Yehud, then drive along the streets for about 800 m till you reach the Municipality; the synagogue is located behind it. See the exact location on my map.

Visited: 11.08.12
Coordinates: 32°01'51.4"N 34°53'20.3"E
Location of the object on Google Maps

References: Palmer 1881, 216, 218 (Sheet XIII); Stewardson 1888, 137; Khalidi 1992, 232; Benvenisti 2000, 276
INature: Yehud

Mosque at Zekharia
مسجد في خربة زكريا
מסגד בזכריה

Usually Israelis founded their settlements aside, in the vicinity of or even close to former Palestinian villages abandoned by their inhabitants. And only in rare cases Israeli settlements appears in the place and instead of Arab villages. The latter include Zekharia moshav. It is located in the place of a former Palestinian village Zakariya and inherited its name. Only a rural mosque standing in the middle of present moshav has survived from former Palestinian buildings.

The following picture came into the view of A. Petersen in 1993: “The mosque consists of a large prayer hall with a square minaret attached to the centre of the east side. The prayer hall forms a large rectangle (20 m north-south x 10 m east-west) divided into six bays roofed by cross-vaults supported by two central piers and ten engaged piers. The entrance is in the centre of the west side. The north and east walls are each pierced by two windows, whilst the south wall has two blocked windows. There is a minbar next to the central pier in the south wall, although no traces of a mihrab can be seen. The two southern bays of the prayer hall appear to belong to an earlier phase (probably medieval). Approximately in the centre of the east wall is a doorway leading to the minaret. Inside the minaret is a spiral staircase lit by a small slit window. At the top of the tower is a small cylindrical domed kiosk opening on to a balcony. The balcony has a circular plan and overhangs the edges of the minaret.

The shrine of Shaykh Hasan is built against the west wall of the mosque. This is a square building roofed with a cross-vault supported by corner piers. The shrine is entered by a door in the north wall. In the centre of the south wall was the cenotaph of Shaykh Hasan (removed in recent times leaving the outline of the structure in the floor and the wall.” (2001, 320)

Photo of 1987 (from the book by W. Khalidi)
Photo of 1993 (from the book by A. Petersen)

Plan of the mosque and maqam (from the book by A. Petersen). We made some specifications: a window close to an entrance into a burial room and also immured windows in a southern wall.
At present the mosque is located in emergency condition. It is enclosed by a high fence, a plate hanging on it says: “Dangerous building. No entry.” The part of masonry collapses in the prayer tower foundation that is why a prayer tower may crash at any time. No attempts to save the building from destruction are being made. Abandoned agricultural machinery is dumped inside a mosque which testifies that for some time the mosque was used by moshav’s dwellers as a warehouse.

View from the south-west

View from the south-east

View from the north-east

View from the north-west

In fact, there is no mihrab in a southern wall of the mosque but three steps remained as if leading to a minbar which existed some time ago. An entrance to room adjoining the mosque from the west is completely immured, it seems impossible to check whether this room is a maqam in which Sheikh Hasan was buried. A. Petersen identified the tomb of this sheikh or wely Neby Zakariya mentioned by V. Guérin (Judee II 371). However, Guérin does not tell that wely Neby Zakariya adjoins the mosque. In general, authors of 19th century do not tell about a mosque in Zakariya village. C. Conder also tells briefly: “There is a Mukam in the present village sacred to Neby Zakariya.” (SWP III 27) We have already encountered on a number of occasions with such cases when early European travelers noted some single maqam and after that at the end of 19th or in the beginning of 20th century a mosque was built near this maqam.


Interior. The southern wall

Coordinates31°42'30.6"N 34°56'40.0"E
Location of the object on Google Maps
References: Guérin, Judee II 371; SWP III 27; Khalidi 192, 225–226; Petersen 2001, 320

Mosque in Khirbet Kafr Sum
مسجد في خربة كفر سوم
מסגד בחירבת כפר צום

The data about Khirbet Kafr Sum (situated in the Judean Mountains) is discrepant. V. Guérin, who visited it in 1863, described it as deserted “There a lot of rickety houses, which are built of small, almost unhewn stones, near one waly, which stands in the shade of a mulberry tree of several hundreds years old. Not far from it there is a semicircle swimming pool, built in a crude way” (Judee II 383). On the basis of this and other reports, A. Petersen suggests that the site appears to have been abandoned sometime between the sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries (2001, 195).

What appears before our eyes today, does not match the description of V. Guérin. Not even remnants of the tomb-shrine (waly) can be found at Khirbet Kafr Sum. On the hill there are no mulberry trees. The pool that V. Guérin mentioned is there; but it is not round, it’s rectangular. Moreover, the place produces the impression that it was not until 1948 that the village became uninhabited. The evidence is the cacti that grow next to the remains of houses. We see exactly the same picture among the ruins of other Palestinian villages, abandoned in 1948. Palestinian Arabs used to plant cacti around their homes.

The remains of the pool

According to The New Israel Guide, an Arab village of Kafr Sum was located on the ruins of the Jewish settlement of the Second Temple period and even later. In 1948, after the Israeli occupation, the villagers fled to the Bethlehem area (NIG 2001, XI 151–152). However, neither in works of W. Khalidi nor in works of other Palestinian authors Khirbet Kafr Sum is listed as an inhabited village at the time of the occupation. Also the British map of Palestine of 1947 did not chart this place as a residential village. Yet, again, what we saw on Khirbet Kafr Sum corresponds more with the description of The New Israel Guide.

Now back to V. Guérin. He says: “A large structure, partly built of ancient stones with typical projection, served as a mosque, as we can tell from the presence of the mihrab in it. It is very likely that the structure had stood before the Muslims settled here, and they just adopted it for their cult” (Judee II 383).

The ruins of the mosque with dimensions 11.20 x 8.80 m are located on the top of a hill. The best-preserved is the southern and the northern wall. The height of the southern wall reaches 4.50 m. The roof of the mosque was probably vaulted. Judging by the type of the masonry, structure can date back to the Ottoman period. Although in the masonry there really are stone blocks from the V. Guérin description, they do not lie at the base of the building, but can be found in different places of the masonry among ordinary stones. It is clear that these blocks were simply reused. Inside the mosque there are piles of debris of about 1.5 m high on the floor. One can tell this from the large vaulted mihrab: only the upper part of it is visible.

View from the north

View from the south. The blocks of stone were taken from the buildings of an earlier era

View from the south-east


The mihrab in the south wall

Route. From Highway 386, a little short of the Tzur Hadassah junction, turn left (north) near a fire station, and keep eastwards for about a mile along a dirt road, which partially coincides with Shvil Israel. Ruins of Kafr Sum are located on a hill to the north of this road, to the south of Mount Giora. There are no paths leading to the hill.

Coordinates: 31°43'52.0"N 35°05'35.7"E
Location of the object on Google Maps

Mosque of Abu Mizar in Beit Shemesh
مسجد أبو الإزار
מסגד אבו מיזאר

Those who drive along the Highway 38 see this archaeological object very well – Tel Beit Shemesh. On the other side of the road, on a place adjacent to the modern city of Beit Shemesh, near the highway stands a destroyed building. This is a mosque Abu Mizar – all that remains of the Arab village ‘Ain Shams. V. Guérin found this village already in ruins: only five or six poor Arab families lived there during harvest season. V. Guérin spoke also about the mosque of Abu Mizar (Djama Abou Mizar), which apparently was still functioning in his time (Judee II 18). C. Conder was the first to call this mosque a maqam (Mukam of Neby Meizer), and this false designation is still used to the present day. It is not explained, who was this Abu Mizar or Abu Mazer. There is speculation that the name is misrepresented and originates from the Arabic Abu el-Azam (“the father of the might”); under this name the Arabs know the biblical hero Samson.

View from the south

View from the south-east

View from the west

The mihrab

Plan of the mosque (from the book by A. Petersen)
E. Masterman, who visited the mosque in 1913, described it as: “To the east of Tell el-Rumeileh, there is, on its eastern side, a sacred shrine, the Wely Abu Meizar. This consists of a long room in the southern wall of which is the mihrab, a prayer niche (directed toward Mecca), around which are still piled many of the offerings of the pious. The whole wall around it is smeared with the impressions of hands dipped in mud or henna, and possibly in blood. In front of this room is a large shut-in courtyard, the south side of which along its whole length, adjoining the entrance to the shrine, has a double row of arches, beneath and rising above which, at the east end is a magnificent fig tree. Connected with this wely are several folk-lore tales, in which it is easy to find an echo of the biblical story of Samson, although the real wely of Samson is on the lofty hill of Sar'ah (Zorah) which dominates the landscape to the north.” (1913, 104)

Photo of 1921

Photo from the book by E. Grant (1934)
American archaeologist E. Grant, who was carrying out the excavations at Tel Beit Shemesh in the years 1928–33, used the mosque as a sort of storage for his archaeological findings. Which means that by that time the mosque had no longer been functioning. A. Petersen provides the description by Grant: “On the other side of die hill is the country mosque with its walled yard, a fig tree and a cistern. In the south-western corner of the yard is a raised platform. Outside stone steps lead to the roof. Signs are plentiful that a Christian sanctuary preceded the mosque, and probably a Hebrew and a Canaanite place were there. Flanking the mosque door on either side of the yard are portions of column tops with Christian carving… The mosque, or wely of Abu Meizar, at the foot of the hill is a great advantage. It has been swept and serves as a magazine and museum temporarily. In the yard which has a six foot wall or more, is a big fig tree and a pair of triple arches parallel with die front wall of the room. We have blocked up two openings in the wall of the yard and put a wooden gate at the entrance. The mosque room has a wooden door.” (2001, 104–105)

The size of the mosque is 12.70 x 6.90 m. What’s left of the south wall is three meters high, of the north wall – one meter; the two other walls are simply a pile of stones. The northern wall adjoined to a vast courtyard, the outline of which is still visible today. Mihrab in the south wall is built of large blocks, forming a pointed arch, but without the usual, in such cases, keystone. According to A. Petersen, the wall is built out of reused limestone blocks the entrance (2001, 105). We should point out that the mosque of Abu Mizar in the terms of the material and the type of masonry is very similar to the mosque on Khirbet Kafr Sum. It also dates back to the Ottoman period.

Coordinates31°45'02.0"N 34°58'36.5"E
Location of the object on Google Maps

2 комментария:

  1. Many muslim artifacts have been destroyed by the jews in Israel, these are just the few, that have been some how marked and not turn into ashes, pretty sure they will be gone soon as well.