The cemetery which dates back to the early Islamic Period served as Jerusalem’s western border for a thousand years and was used as a burial site for some of Jerusalem’s most prominent Muslim families until the beginning of the 20th century. Today it is at the heart of West Jerusalem.

Over the years, the site has undergone extensive development, most recently for the controversial Museum of Tolerance.

During the tour we will look at artefacts discovered in recent excavations, learn about some of the prominent figures who are buried in the cemetery, examine tombs and gravestones, and discuss what the burial customs can teach us about the history of the city during the Islamic periods.

Duration The tour is two hours long.
Meeting point Next to the taxi station just beneath the supermarket on Agron Street. Through Waze search for: 8 Gershon Agron , Jerusalem
For more details call 050-2741298
Includes
Guiding Maps
Walking trail The tour is on foot. It’s recommended to bring a bottle of water.
Not included
Transportation
Entrance fee to sites (we will not enter sites that charge a fee)

 

1

Meeting point on Agron Street

We will meet next to the taxis station (Rehavia Taxix) next to the supermarket on Agron Street (Waze: 8 Gershon Agron St., Jerusalem). We will gather at the public garden benches to present the tour’s route, review the history of the Mamilla Cemetery and discuss the importance of Independence Park to the city and its residents.
2

Tomb of Dajani

We will go to the tomb of Sheikh Ahmad al-Dajani. We will discuss this important family’s history in the Ottoman period and today.
3

Qureishi Tomb

We will continue to the tomb of Abdullah al-Qureishi, look at the various types of graves located nearby, and discuss the history of Abdullah al-Qureishi and the meaning of his burial in this location.
4

The Lion's Cave, Water Cisterns and Burial Caves

We will walk to the cave known as the Lion’s Cave, a complex of hewn caves that were used for burial in the Byzantine period and later served as water cisterns. We will talk about the importance of water storage in Jerusalem throughout the periods and the development of the cemetery from the Byzantine period to the 20th century. We will also mention the various sacred traditions attributed to the cave, from the Byzantine period to the present day. Finally, we will relate the community excavation conducted in the cave with the children of the Nisui School and its finds.
5

Mamilla Pool

We will discuss the importance of this reservoir to historic Jerusalem and the issues of dating the pool. We will stop by a Crusader grave and try to understand whether Christians were buried in the cemetery, and discuss the reciprocal relations between the Crusaders and the Muslim society in the 12th to 13th centuries as reflected in the cemetery.
6

The Museum of Tolerance and the Al-Alami Tomb

We will walk towards the graves of the Al-Alami family and hear about the history of the family and its connection to Morocco. We will look at the building of the Museum of Tolerance and talk about the struggle of the families of the deceased and the Islamic movement against the establishment of a museum in the area of the cemetery, and about the salvage excavation that was conducted here. We will discuss the significance of highlighting or concealment of archaeological remains of past periods in the urban space.
7

Al-Shuja'i Tomb

We will go to the tomb of the wife and mother-in-law of al-‘Izzi Aidamur al-Shuja’i. We will dwell on the tombstones inscriptions from the Mamluk period and on what they can tell us about Mamluk Jerusalem and its inhabitants, such as the status of women within the family and more.
8

Al-Kubakiyya

We will go to the mausoleum of ‘Alaa al-Din al-Kubaki (Turbat Kubakiyya) and tell about the life of this Mamluk prince and the circumstances that led to his burial in Jerusalem. We will look at the structure of his handsome tomb, which integrates Crusader style influences.
9

Palace Hotel

We will look at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel on the other side of Agron Street and tell the story of the Palace Hotel, which once stood there. The Palace Hotel was built in the 1930s by Sheikh Amin al-Husseini, and its construction caused the destruction of graves and stirred up anger among the Muslim public. Here we will try to imagine the boundaries of the ancient cemetery and discuss ways to encourage renewal and development in the heart of the city, in tandem with the protection and preservation of the built heritage. We will explore the connection between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the preservation and presentation of Muslim heritage in Jerusalem’s public space. From this spot, located near Agron Street and the tour’s starting point, we will disperse.

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