Mishkenot Sha'ananim

Coordinates: 31°46′17.05″N 35°13′27.65″E / 31.7714028°N 35.2243472°E / 31.7714028; 35.2243472
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mishkenot Sha'ananim
Hebrew: משכנות שאננים
Neighborhood of Jerusalem
View of Mishkenot Sha'ananim from the Old City of Jerusalem
View of Mishkenot Sha'ananim from the Old City of Jerusalem
Country Israel
DistrictJerusalem District
Founded bySir Moses Montefiore

Mishkenot Sha'ananim neighborhood plaque
Mishkenot Sha'ananim guesthouse, restored historical building

Mishkenot Sha'ananim (Hebrew: משכנות שאננים, lit. Peaceful Dwellings) was the first Jewish settlement built outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, on a hill directly across from Mount Zion. It was built in 1859–1860.[1] This guesthouse was one of the first structures to be built outside the Old City, the others being Kerem Avraham, the Schneller Orphanage, Bishop Gobat school, and the Russian Compound.[2]


Ottoman period[edit]

Mishkenot Sha'anim was built by British Jewish banker and philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore in 1860, after he acquired the land from the Governor of Jerusalem, Ahmad Agha Duzdar.[3]

It was built as an almshouse, paid for by the estate of an American Jewish businessman from New Orleans, Judah Touro.[4] Since it was outside the walls and open to Bedouin raids, pillage and general banditry rampant in the region at the time, the Jews were reluctant to move in, even though the housing was luxurious compared to the derelict and overcrowded houses in the Old City.[1] As an incentive, people were paid to live there, and a stone wall was built around the compound with a heavy door that was locked at night for defense.[5] The name of the neighborhood was taken from the Book of Isaiah: "My people will abide in peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings and in peaceful resting places" (Isaiah 32:18).[4] It later became part of Yemin Moshe which was established in 1892–1894.

Jordanian period[edit]

Montefiore Quarter – Mishkenot Sha'ananim 1948

After the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, when the Old City was captured by the Arab Legion, Mishkenot Sha'ananim bordered on no man's land in proximity to the armistice line with the Kingdom of Jordan, and many residents of the Yemin Moshe quarter left in the wake of sniper attacks by Jordanian Arab Legionnaires.[6] Only the poorest inhabitants remained, turning the complex into a slum.[citation needed]

Restoration after 1967[edit]

The no-man's-land bordering Mishkenot Sha'ananim was captured by Israel during the 1967 War, together with the rest of Eastern and Old Jerusalem.[7]

In 1973, Mishkenot Sha'ananim was turned into an upscale guesthouse for internationally acclaimed authors, artists and musicians visiting Israel.[4] Apart from guesthouse facilities, it is now a convention center and home of the Jerusalem Music Center.[1] The music center was inaugurated by Pablo Casals shortly before his death.[4]

The Jerusalem Center for Ethics was established in Mishkenot Sha'ananim in 1997. Yitzhak Zamir has been heading the board of directors since his retirement as justice of the Israeli Supreme Court in 2001.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Mishkenot Sha'ananim: From Alms House to Cultural Centre - Jerusalem's First Building Outside the Old City's Wall". ARIEL: The Israel Review of Arts and Letters. Jerusalem: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Israel). 1996. Retrieved 23 August 2021 – via MFA homepage.
  2. ^ Kark, Ruth; Oren-Nordheim, Michal (2001). Jerusalem and Its Environs: Quarters, Neighborhoods, Villages, 1800-1948. Israel studies in historical geography. Wayne State University Press. pp. 74, table on p.82–86. ISBN 9780814329092. Retrieved 23 August 2021. The beginning of construction outside the Jerusalem Old City in the mid-19th century was linked to the changing relations between the Ottoman government and the European powers. After the Crimean War, the government extended various rights and privileges to non-Muslims, who could enjoy greater tolerance and more security of life and property. These changes stimulated the expansion of Jerusalem beyond the city walls. From the mid-1850s to the early 1860s, several new buildings were constructed outside the walls, among them the mission house of the English consul, James Finn, in what came to be known as Abraham's Vineyard (Kerem Avraham); the Protestant school built by Bishop Samuel Gobat on Mount Zion; the Russian Compound; the Mishkenot Sha'ananim houses: and the Schneller Orphanage complex. These complexes were all built by foreigners, with funds from abroad, as semi-autonomous compounds encompassed by walls and with gates that were closed at night. They were European in style and were a contrast to the typical Middle-Eastern-style buildings of Palestine.
  3. ^ Diaries of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore : comprising their life and work as recorded in their diaries from 1812 to 1883, Volume 2, pages 51-52: “Ahhmed Agha Dizdar, who had been Governor of Jerusalem during the reign of Mohhammad Ali, and who since the year 1839 had stood in friendly relations with Sir Moses, was the owner of the land in question. When Sir Moses broached the subject of the purchase to him, his answer was: "You are my friend, my brother, the apple of my eye, take possession of it at once. This land I hold as an heirloom from my ancestors. I would not sell it to any person for thousands of pounds, but to you I give it without any money: it is yours, take possession of it." " I myself, my wife, and children, we all are yours." And this was his reply to Sir Moses day after day, whenever he was asked the price for which he would sell the said property. Ultimately, after a whole day's most friendly argument, which almost exhausted all my stock of Arabic phraseology (having acted as interpreter between him and Sir Moses), he said to me: "You are my friend, my brother; by my beard, my head, I declare this is the case. Tell Sir Moses to give me a souvenir of one thousand pounds sterling, and we will go at once to the Ckadee."
  4. ^ a b c d Dudman, Helga (1982). Street People. The Jerusalem Post/Carta (1st ed.), Hippocrene Books (2nd ed.). pp. 21–22. ISBN 978-965-220-039-6. Not available on Google Books as of August 2021.
  5. ^ "Yemin Moshe and Mishkenot Sha'ananim". Pinhas Baraq for The Jewish Agency for Israel's Department for Jewish Zionist Education. Archived from the original on 22 December 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2013. More information about Yemin Moshe
  6. ^ Klein, Menachem (2014). Lives in Common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron. Oxford University Press. p. 128. ISBN 9780190257460. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  7. ^ "Israel and the Palestinians: Key Maps". BBC News. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  8. ^ "Konrad Adenauer Conference Center of Mishkenot Sha'ananim". Archived from the original on 21 October 2009.
  9. ^ Itzhak Zamir at the National Library of Israel homepage. Posted before 2019, accessed 23 Aug. 2021.

31°46′17.05″N 35°13′27.65″E / 31.7714028°N 35.2243472°E / 31.7714028; 35.2243472