пятница, 25 января 2013 г.

5. Maqams. Coastal Plain

Maqam ‘Abd al-Nabi
مقام عبد النبي
מקאם עבד אל-נבי

On the Tel Aviv coast, not far from the luxury hotel "Hilton" in the Independence Park, there is an abandoned Muslim cemetery located on a small hill. It is the maqam of ‘Abd al-Nabi, which now looks more like a slum area. Once they tried to restore it, but not very successfully. Finally they simply stopped taking care of it. People strolling along the promenade use it as a dumping-ground for empty bottles.

‘Abd al-Nabi means "the servant of the Prophet [Muhammad]". Maqam appears on maps of Palestine of the 19th century, long before the foundation of Tel Aviv. It is in many ways similar to the Maqam Sheikh Awad in Ashkelon, also located on the coast. And it has the same three-part structure: the tomb in the center and two adjacent arched rooms on the sides of it.

View from the north

Eastern room

The central room

Western room

A. Petersen examined the maqam of ‘Abd al-Nabi in June of 1992 and concluded that "The oldest part of the complex is the prayer hall, which is the westernmost of the three units. It is entered via a doorway in the north wall. The doorway is set in a portal recess with an arch made of cushion voussoirs. The doorway is decorated with ablaq masonry (white and red stone) with two large basalt blocks above the lintel. The interior of the prayer hall is a square area roofed with a folded cross-vault and a small fluted dome in the centre. There is a mihrab opposite the doorway in the middle of the south wall. The mihrab is a concave hooded niche made out of alternate blocks of pink and white marble. The south, west, and east walls each have pairs of small openings (now blocked)." (2001, 298)

Photo of 1992 (from the book by A. Petersen)

Though the maqam of ‘Abd al-Nabi had been built a long time ago (15–16th century — Petersen 2001, 299), the Muslim cemetery came into existence only in 1902 after a terrible epidemic of cholera in Jaffa. With the expansion of Tel Aviv the Muslim community in Jaffa was cut off from the cemetery and they buried here no longer. Initially the cemetery occupied the area of 34.338 square meters, but after the construction of the hotel "Hilton" in 1963 was reduced to a tiny size. Even back in the 1940s it was noticed that young people of both sexes sunbathed in their underwear on the tombstones, and little boys defecated in the maqam. Letters from indignant citizens of Tel Aviv are kept in the city archives. It is true, though, that we do not exactly know what were the citizens indignant at: the desecration of the Muslim monument or obscene look of Jewish youth.

Read about it in the book: Barbara Mann. A Place in History: Modernism, Tel Aviv, and the Creation of Jewish Urban Space. Tel Aviv, 2006. P. 64

Map of Jaffa 1893

‘Abd al-Nabi Cemetery. Photo of 1900s

Photo of 1960s

Recently the ‘Abd al-Nabi Cemetery took under his wing "Al-Aqsa Foundation", which is rebuilt part of the outer wall of cemetery (Post and photo).

Visited: 11.08.12
Location of the object on Google Maps

References: Palmer 1881, 218 (Sheet XIII); Stewardson 1888, 137; Meistermann 1907, 499; Petersen 2001, 298–299;

Maqam al-Khidr (Green Mosque)
مقام الخضرة
מקאם אל-חידר

In Ashkelon National Park, on a steep cliff above the sea, lie the remains of a Muslim building surrounded by a fence because it’s under the threat of collapse. This is Maqam al-Khidr or the Green Mosque. The structure dates back to the Ottoman period. C. Conder, after examining it in 1875, gave this description: "There is a small building on the cliff, to which the name el-Khudra is now given. It measures 9 paces either way, with an entrance on the north, on which side is a porch of the same size. The windows of the building have round arches, and it may perhaps be of early date." (SWP III 240) Apparently, the structure originally was not a tomb, but a mosque or a praying house. Describing the ruins of Ascalon, A. Olesnitsky mentions "Arab chapel" that stands over the sea, where he spent the night as many bypassing Europeans usually did (II 202).

Photo of 1921

"The building, — writes A. Petersen, — consisted of a square cross-vaulted room with an open-vaulted canopy at the front and a smaller vaulted structure on the south side. The doorway was surmounted by a white marble lintel and either side there was a rectangular window." (2001, 97) Though already in 1994, according to A. Petersen, the building was derelict, many of the facing stone had been removed and the building appeared to be in danger of falling into the sea (Ibid.), nothing has been done to maintain the structure for the past 18years. Please keep in mind that the monument is located in the heart of the National Park, and a great amount of reconstructive and sham work has been done about other objects situated there. More than a half of the Green Mosque is in ruins and the destruction continues.

Plan of Ascalon (from the book by D. Pringle)

View from the west

View from the north-east

Visited: 09.10.11
Location of the object on Google Maps

References: Sepp 1863, II 514; Olesnitsky 1878, II 202; SWP III 240; Palmer 1881 360 (Sheet XIX); Pringle 1993, I 64; Petersen 2001, 97; The Archaeological Survey of Israel

Maqam Sheikh Abu Ghazala
مقام الشيخ أبو غزالة
קבר שייח' אבו גזאלה

Khirbet as-Sukrieyh (as-Sukriyya) has been known from 19th century. It is mentioned by E. Robinson, V. Guérin, C. Conder, E. Palmer and other researchers. But A. Petersen was the first to tell about a Muslim shrine in this place. This is Maqam Sheikh Abu Ghazala which has survived to the present days in a relatively decent condition. It is strange, however, that V. Guérin who walked Khirbet el-Sukrieyh all through and examined two ancient wells and parts of a marble column lying on the ground (Judee II 304) said nothing about the sheikh's tomb. It was impossible not to notice it; it was seen from afar. Probably, during this time, in 1860s there was no maqam, and it was built later. Anyway, when the tomb was constructed, fragments of marble columns similar to those ones which V. Guérin wrote about were used.

A. Petersen indicates that during a Mandate period a khan (hotel) existed in Khirbet as-Sukriyya which was examined by researchers in 1929. However, researchers told nothing about any maqam on Khirbet as-Sukriyya. Thus, it is quite likely that the maqam was erected on khan’s ruins some time after 1929. "Features of the present structure (such as the continuation of the walls to the east and west and the unusual construction of the mihrab) strengthen this interpretation." (2001, 289) Describing this tomb A. Petersen does not tell the name of the buried person. We learn that the maqam belongs to Sheikh Abu Ghazala when studying the British map of Palestine.

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

Nowadays agricultural lands of No'am moshav are spread in the place of Khirbet as-Sukrieyh. However, the maqam itself was not touched; it still stands in the middle of a field of wheat. "The building comprises two main elements, — writes A. Petersen, — a domed tomb chamber and a ruinous side chamber. The tomb chamber is a square building with a tall conical dome. On the outside the upper part of the corners are cut off diagonally. The entrance is in the middle of the north side. To the right of the entrance there is a small window and the remains of the springing of a vault. The north wall appears to continue westwards beyond the north-west corner of the building suggesting there may have been another room to the south. The room to the east is less well preserved, although enough remains to show that it was roofed with a cross-vault and probably had an entrance on the north side." (2001, 289)

The maqam represents a cube having dimensions of about 6.75 х 6.75 х 3.00 m. Herewith, its angles are indeed somewhat bevelled, due to which outside the structure is rather an octagon. Inside it is a square 4.70 х 4.70 m room. A high conical dome (1.60 m) is quite rare for Palestinian maqams.

View from the south

View from the east

View from the west

View from the north

"In the centre of the south wall is a shallow mihrab niche framed by two monolithic marble columns and capped by a lintel made from a section of marble column. Directly in front of the mihrab is a tall rectangular cenotaph with a piece of marble column as headstone". (Petersen 2001, 289)

We can see approximately the same picture nowadays. But only a marble lintel fell on the floor above a mihrab and plasterwork dropped from tomb's walls. An iron hook hangs down from the apex of the dome, to which, most likely, an oil lamp was hanged some time ago. Fresh Arab inscriptions and pictures appear on tomb's wall what testifies that the sanctuary is visited by Muslims.

The mihrab and cenotaph. Photo of 1994 (from the book by A. Petersen)

The cenotaph

The mihrab

Interior view of dome


Route. From the 40th Highway we turn to 3403 Highway leading to No‘am moshav. Maqam is located to the south of a Jewish cemetery which stands on the left side from 3403 Highway before an entry to moshav.

Location of the object on Google Maps
References: Guérin, Judee II 304; Petersen 2001, 288–289

Maqam Sheikh Ahmad Abu Iqbal
مقام الشيخ أحمد أبو إقبال
קבר שייח' אבו אקבאל

In a former Palestinian settlement Isdud (nowadays Tel Ashdod) three Muslim shrines were known. One of them – the tomb of Sheikh Ahmad Abu Iqbal – has survived to the present day. Researchers of the 19th century do not mention the tomb of Abu Iqbal although they describe two other shrines in details: tombs of Ibrahim al-Matbuli and Salman al-Farsi. Pictures of these shrines can be seen in Picturesque Palestine (Wilson III 165) and in pictures of G. Harper (1894). Impression is such that maqam of Sheikh Ahmad Abu Iqbal did not yet exist in 19th century.

But still this structure must be dated to Ottoman period. Probably, it appeared in the very beginning of 19th century. Here is the description of A. Petersen who examined the monument in 1992: "This building consists of two parts arranged side by side, a square domed chamber (approximately 5m x 5m) on the east and a cross-vaulted iwan to the west. It is apparent that the iwan abutts the tomb chamber and was built some time later.

The domed chamber is entered from a low doorway in the middle of the north wall. In the centre of the chamber beneath the dome is a large rectangular covered cenotaph. There is a plain concave mihrab in the middle of the south wall and a square niche for lamps set into the east wall. The room is covered with a shallow (saucer-shaped) dome resting on pendentives springing from ground level. The dome is crowned with a broken marble finial.

The cross-vaulted iwan is taller than the domed chamber although it has a ground plan of equal size. The north side of the building consists of an open arch with a cyma recta cornice above. There are two projecting waterspouts set into either end of the cornice. The west side of the iwan contains two rectangular windows covered with shallow arches. In the middle of the back wall of the iwan is a shallow mihrab with a pointed arched hood." (2001, 156)

Photo of 1987 (from the book by W. Khalidi)
In the foreground maqam Sheikh Ahmad Abu Iqbal, in the background – so called "House with arches"
Photo of 1992 (from the book by A. Petersen)

Interior. Photo of 1992 (from the book by A. Petersen)

Plan of maqam (from the book by A. Petersen)
Sizes of the structure are as follows: the entire facility occupies the area of approximately 7.0 х 14.0 m, maqam itself – 7.0 х 7.0 х 2.80 m. Lately restoration works have been performed in a prayer hall (iwan) and in a burial room. Some walls and domes of maqam are filled with cement using a wooden forwork. Herewith, if we compare it with a photograph made by A. Petersen in 1992, a cenotaph was significantly damaged. Outside the structure, an almond tree grew in the south-western corner. Rain water chutes laid on the roofs of maqam and a prayer hall are interesting.

View from the north-west

View from the north. The prayer hall (iwan)

View from the north. The tomb

View from the west

View from the south

The cenotaph and mihrab of tomb

The mihrab of prayer hall

Rain water chutes laid on the roofs of maqam and a prayer hall

Route. At present it is possible to get to Tel Ashdod only through the industrial area ‘Ad Halom, to which you should turn from the 4th Highway. Across the Industrial area you should pass first along Bareket street (ברקת), then along Topaz street (טופז).

Location of the object on Google Maps
References: Petersen 2001, 156; The Archaeological Survey of Israel

Maqam Sheikh Baraz ad-Din (Muhammad asl-Sadiq)
مقام الشيخ براز الدين - محمد الصادق
קבר שייח' מוחמד צדק

This maqam, located to the south of Rosh ha-'Ayin not far from Migdal Afek (Migdal Tzedek), is situated on a hill and is clearly visible from many points. However, as you get closer to this monument you can’t help but feel puzzled by what modern restorers did to it. Thick layers of plaster alternate with the old masonry. But that’s not all – one side of the maqam is tiled just like ordinary houses. All this seems pretty tasteless, like a fashionable cap put on a top of Sheikh’s turban. But the restorers seem to consider their own work worthwhile, as they’ve put up a small fence around the maqam.

View from the north

View from the south-west

The mihrab

Judging by the old photographs, even back than the monument was in poor condition and probably in need of restoration. But not of such kind.

About Sheikh Baraz ad-Din C. Conder says that he distinguished himself in the wars with the Crusaders (SWP II 361). According to another tradition a local saint, Sheikh Muhammad as-Sadiq, was buried here (Finn 1868, 135; Clermont-Ganneau, ARP II 158). In Mandate times the area around the tomb served as the village cemetery. In 1994, A. Petersen saw the remains of the cenotaph on the floor of the burial chamber (2001, 215).

Photo of 1925

Members of the Zionist organization "Beitar" at the tomb of sheikh. Photo of 1960s. Source

Visited: 04.08.12
Location of the object on Google Maps

References: Finn 1868, 135; Clermont-Ganneau, ARP II 158; SWP II 361; Palmer 1881, 243 (Sheet XIV); Stewardson 1888, 138; Khalidi 1992, 396–397; Petersen 2001, 215
Wikipedia: Majdal Yaba; The Archaeological Survey of Israel; INature: Migdal Afek Park

Maqam Sheikh Ibrahim as-Suwayq
مقام الشيخ ابراهيم
קבר שייח' איברהים

In the center of Lod, on Hashmonaim street (aka. Highway 443) there is an old Muslim cemetery; very untidy and neglected, despite the fact that it is under protection. Near the entrance to the cemetery stands Maqam Sheikh Ibrahim nearly all covered with ivy. Only the north wall with a wide arch doesn’t have ivy on it. A. Petersen visited the maqam in 1994 and described it so: "The maqam consists of a rectangular cross-vaulted structure (4m x 4m) with a small dome in the top. The east face is open and there are windows in the north and south sides. The outlines of a grave or cenotaph can be seen outlined on the floor. An inscription dated to 1119 H. (1706–1707 CE) on the exterior of the building states that this is the tomb of Shaykh Ibrahim Suwayq." (2001, 209)

The old Muslim cemetery of Lod

Photo of 1994 (from the book by A. Petersen)
The exact dimensions of the structure are 4.66 x 4.50m. The entrance to the maqam is not on the east, but on the north-east side, where a wide arch is present. There is an inscription in Arabic on the north wall, however, to the right of the entrance. Dome of the maqam, apparently, completely covered with ivy. Note also that the tomb has no mihrab. Not so long ago the maqam was whitewashed and its floors were tiled. A modern tombstone with an inscription in Arabic "Muhammad al-Mabtuli" was installed instead of the cenotaph. Note that the Mosque of Sheikh Ibrahim al-Matbuli (d. 1472), known even to researchers of the 19th century (Palmer 1881, 273; Stewardson 1888, 139), is located on the Tel Ashdod.

View from the north-east

View from the east

View from the south


The researchers of the 19th century say that the tomb of Nabi Dannun is situated in the Muslim cemetery of Lod (Palmer 1881, 216; Stewardson 1888, 131). Do they refer to this particular object? Now it is hard to say. Somewhere around this place, on the east side of the road Ramla–Lod, T. Tobler in 1857, and later J. Sepp, saw wely of Sheikh ‘Abd ar-Rahman (Tobler, 1859, 69; Sepp 1863, II 30).

Location of the object on Google Maps

Maqam Sheikh Salаmа Abu Hashim
مقام الشيخ سلمه ابو هاشم
קבר שייח' סלמה אבו האשם

Salama Abu Hashim, the companion of the Prophet Muhammad, was buried in a village named after him – Salama. Now it is the Tel Aviv district of Kfar Shalem. The tomb is located inside the mosque, which is now closed from all sides. Entrance to the tomb in the north wall is bricked up.

View from the north-east

View from the north-west

In 1993 A. Petersen examined all the premises and gave such description: "The mosque is a rectangular complex comprising, a walled courtyard, a maqam, and a prayer hall. The main entrance is a gate in the north wall of the courtyard. To the left (east) of the entrance is the maqam and straight ahead is the prayer hall. In the north-east corner of the courtyard is an entrance to a cistern. The maqam is a square domed building attached to the prayer hall to the south. The interior is a spacious area with no extant traces of a cenotaph or grave. In the centre of the south wall is a plain plaster covered mihrab." (2001, 271).

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

Interior. Photo of 1993 (from the book by A. Petersen)

The plan of the mosque (from the book by A. Petersen)
Route. In Kfar Shalem drive to the central park – Rosh ha-Kfar Park. To the east of the park, across the street, there is a former Mosque of Salama Abu Hashim.

Visited: 11.08.12
Location of the object on Google Maps

References: Clermont-Ganneau, ARP II 160; Vilnay 1932, 211–214; Khalidi 1992, 254–256; Petersen 2001, 271–272
Wikipedia: Salama; INature: Kfar Shalem

1 комментарий:

  1. There are so many sacred places in Israel that are holy to the Muslims. It was basically a Muslim state that has been occupied by the jews.