суббота, 20 октября 2018 г.

9. Maqams. Judean Desert and Negev


Maqam sheikh Mas‘ud
مقام الشيخ مسعود
קבר שייח' מסעוד

The maqam of sheikh Mas‘ud near Arabic city Drijat, on the top of Khirbet ad-Dereijat (Hurvat Dragot) is now the southernmost of the remaining Palestinian maqams.

V. Guérin who visited Khirbet ad-Dereijat on July 20th, 1863, noticed “a few caves, natural and artificial, where the nomad tribes were still living” (Judee, III 190). V. Gueren did not mentioned any shrine as well as a cemetery on the top of the hill.

This cemetery with the tomb of sheikh Mas‘ud appeared after the establishment of village Drijat, the exact date is unknown. According to the brickwork of the walls, it was built in 1970–1980s. The maqam has quite a modest size (4.75 х 4.75 х 1.80 m) and no mihrab which shows that the building was done in hastiness and with limited means.


 View from the south

View from the west

View from the north-west

View from the north-east

There is a small cenotaph inside the maqam. When we were there, the whitewashed walls inside were stained with something like excrements. There were sooth stains on the ceiling.



Route. An asphalt road leads from Highway 35 to town Drijat. The cemetery with the maqam borders the town to the north.
Visited: 08.08.18
Coordinates: 31°18'13.3"N 35°04'42.0"E
Location of the object on Google Maps
References: Guérin, Judee, III 190


Maqam sheikh Nuran
مقام الشيخ نوران
קבר שייח' נוראן

According to the number of documented uses, mainly in military sources, maqam of sheikh Nuran overcame other Muslim shrines and almost came up with the famous Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem and Joseph's Tomb in Nablus. The matter is that the maqam of sheikh Nuran stands at a strategic position dominating over the neighborhood. Thus the Muslim shrine happened to be in the epicenter of fierce battles twice, in 1917 and 1948.

A plate attached to the maqam's wall says (Hebrew), “Sheikh Nuran`s tomb was built in the 19th century at the lowest point of the district. It was made of stones taken from the ruins of the archaeological object of the Byzantine period. During the I WW the tomb was used as a Turkish military position and after the British seizure it was renovated as a gift to Bedouins. During the Independence War it has been a Egyptian position until it was occupied during Asaf military campaign (5.12.48). After kibbutz Magen was established (16.8.49), the position was turned into a watchtower”.

It's worth mentioning that on the first map of this region published by PEF in 1900, the shrine is marked as Nabi (Prophet) Nuran.

Nuran was an old man and keeper of Bedouin tribe Tarabin. There were many legends about him. His name is thought to be derived from Arabic name “nur” – “light”. It was said that the majority of tombs were miscarriage victims or babies who died in their cots. All Bedouins in Negev worshipped this place of a special sanctity.

During the World War I the Turkish people built a railway line and established their positions there trying to hold back the troops of General Allenby. Maqam was severely suffered from bombing. When the British soldiers seized this strategic point in February 1917, they set up camp, built a railroad station and aerodrome.

After the victory, the Englishmen fully restored sheikh Nuran's maqam. Thus, they acknowledged the Bedouin tribes for their support during the war against Turkey. The illustrative photos were shown to the whole world.

Photo of 1934



Map by PEF 1900

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War the Egyptian soldiers set their position near the maqam. There is a photo evidence of that time. In December Israeli Golani Brigade took control over the height. The Egyptians tried to fight it back, a few times committed counterattacks, but in vain.

The Israeli people used the Bedouin's sanctuary as a watchtower or firing point. Next year Magen kibbutz was established by the Jewish people, where the maqam is kept as a memory about the victory in the 1948 War.

Photo of 1948

Photo of 1948

Photo of 1948

The Jewish did not follow the example of Britishmen and did not restore the maqam. Having been included into the Israeli history, the Bedouin sanctuary is still disfigured. There are 4 balks – pillars of the Israeli watchtower which is set as a wooden hut above the maqam. You can climb up to the hut by stairs through a big round hole cut in the dome of the maqam. Of course, there are no signs of a cenotaph of sheikh Nuran, which was abolished in 1948. What is more, there is no mihrab in the maqam, and probably it hasn`t been there since the very beginning.


View from the north-east

View from the south

The maqam's interior

The maqam's interior


Route. The maqam is located in the northern outside part of Magen kibbutz, which can be reached via Highway 232.
Coordinates: 31°18'01.0"N 34°25'26.2"E
Location of the object on Google Maps
References: Canaan 1927, 11; NIG 2001, XIV 222


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