Friday, November 2, 2018

11b. Lost shrines. North

Only one out of 24 Muslim shrines (including Bedouin ones), which G. Schumacher saw in the Golan Heights, remained intact till present time. It is the shrine of sheikh Marzuk (see Chapter 7. Maqams. Galilee and the Golan Heights). The other shrines vanished completely.

A huge building of the Tomb of sheikh (or nabi) Abu an-Nida topped a volcanic Mount called Avital. This shrine was seen by J. L. Burckhardt in 1812 (1822, 314). The mountain in Arabic is called Tell Abu an-Nida. “Nida” means “dew”.

G. Schumacher described the tomb as follows, “The highest point of the Tell takes in the large Wely, or Makam Abu en-Neda. This is 38 feet long, 21 feet broad, 8 feet high, and has two whitewashed cupolas that can be seen in the whole country. The sepulcher of the great Moslem saint lies enveloped in silken cloth in the southern division of the building. In the afternoon the view from this Makam is magnificent, but in the morning thick misty clouds arise from the crater and obscure the whole country till 10 o'clock in the morning” (1888, 249). The mountain Received such mane due to this morning humidity.

There is also a curious piece of antiquity to be found on the roof of the Wely Abu en-Neda, viz., the peculiar image, 2 feet 3 inches high, of a bird, which is fashioned in basalt, and reminds one of Egyptian or Persian art. Unfortunately the head is wanting.” (1888, 250).

A picture from G. Schumacher's book

Fragment of the map of 1913

Tomb [of nabi] Abu an-Nida. Photo of 1968

The tomb [of nabi] Abu an-Nida has been probably existing up tot he Six-Days War in 1967, when the Golans Heights weere captured by Israel .Since then an Israeli military base has been established on the top of Tell Abu an-Nida, with mine fields around it. Anyway, according to military reports about the Golans during the Yom Kippur War in 1973, – the Musim shrine wasn`t mentioned in the descriptions of the Israeli positions in Tell Abu an-Nida.

Now the access to Mount Avital is blocked by Israeli officers. When looking at the top of the mountain which is densely built with military structures, one may think it is unlikely that something from the previous times could be saved.

Coordinates: 33°06'30.9"N 35°47'38.3"E
Location of the object on Google Maps
References: Burckhardt 1822, 314; Schumacher 1888, 194, 249–251; Palästina-Vereins IX, 351; The Archaeological Survey of Israel; iNature: Mount Avital Nature Reserve

Mount Avital. Photo of 1967

Mount Avital

On Mount Peres (Arabic: Tell al-Faras) there also was a Muslim shrine – the Tomb of nabi Hasan al-Jezzar. “One of the most peculiar volcanoes of Jaulan, and which, as an isolated mountain, visible from a far distance, has been already frequently mentioned by travellers. Its highest point in the south-east reaches a height of 3,110 feet (above sea level, and 787 feet above the surrounding plain), and on this top is the unadorned Moslem tomb, the Makam en-Nabi Hasan al-Jezzar, and a graveyard belonging to the Bedawin. The oval crater of the Tell which is still very distinctly preserved, opens towards the north. Between the Makam and the nouth of the crater the depth amounts to 108 feet. This latter has an opening of 18 feet by a depth of several feet; the natives call it Mugharah (cave), and often dig there for supposed treasure” (Schumacher 1888, 254).

On the aerophoto of Tell al-Faras made by the Israeli officers in 1967 and 1973, neither maqam, nor cemetery could be identified. Probably they had not existed by that time. Probably they had not existed by that time. Now on the top of Mount Peres is an Israeli military base.

Coordinates: 32°57'34.6"N 35°51'57.5"E
Location of the object on Google Maps

Mount Peres

Another shrine Tomb of nabi al-‘Aqqashi was located on Mount ‘Iqqesh (Arabic: Tell al-‘Aqqasha). G. Schumacher described it as follows: “A volcano with a destroyed crater opening to the west The slopes are overgrown with oak underwood, and the highest summit (3,480 feet above sea level) with splendid oaks, which overshadow the tomb of the much-esteemed Nebi el-'Akkasheh, a nominal brother-in-law of Muhammed. The Wely has a cupola on a superstructure 15 feet square ; the tomb itself is covered with green silk cloth. An ancient infirm Sheikh watches over the sacred remains, and served us as a guide-book for the country. The Circassians bury around the Wely” (1888, 252–253).

The site was surveyed by C. Epstein in 1967: “An extinct volcano in the shape of a hill that rises above the surrounding area with a vantage that looks out into the distance. The entire site is covered with diverse vegetation, especially oak trees. Most of the area was used for generations as a burial place, particularly after a tomb was hewn there for the famous Sheikh ‘Akasha. Many others were interred there so as to be close to his tomb” (The Archaeological Survey of Israel).

After 1973 on Mount ‘Ikkesh there was an Israeli bunker (now abandoned), which was built on the place of the tomb of nabi al-`Aqqashi.

Coordinates: 33°01'50.9"N 35°51'49.3"E
Location of the object on Google Maps

About Tell ash-Sheiban G. Schumacher commented on it: “An isolated mountain, with a demolished crater and oak trees, in the west of Jaulan. Its peak (3.021 feet above sea level) is crowned by the fallen-in square, Wely esh-Sheban, the tomb of a Moslem saint” (1888, 256). After 1973 an Israeli bunker which replaced a Muslim cemetery and the Tomb of sheikh ash-Sheiban (33°07'20.3"N 35°43'17.7"E).
Addition: Panorama

All these shrines were located on the volcanic of the Golan Heights and had the same destiny. During the Six-Day War and Yom Kippur War these mountains were considered as strategic heights and were used for the troops needs.

Though the destiny of the rural shrines were no better. The tomb of nabi Yunis disappeared totally in former village Jibin (32°47'22.2"N 35°45'54.2"E). As G. Schumacher said, “West of the village we find the paltry sepulchre of the wood saint, Neby Yunis, with a small court” (1888, 163).
(The Archaeological Survey of Israel)

The maqam of sheikh Jafar was located in the village Fiq (32°46'33.9"N 35°42'04.0"E), where Israeli kibbutz Afik was established in 1972. According to G. Schumacher, “Wely Jafer — The tomb of the wood saint of Fiq, with a beautiful terebinth” (1888, 268). Israeli archeologists found the remains of a village mosque, but no trace of wely or maqam were found.
(The Archaeological Survey of Israel)

No comments:

Post a Comment