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Jerusalem in Original Photographs 1850-1920

Front coverBy Shimon Gibson

Since its foundation in 1865 the Palestine Exploration Fund has amassed some of the most outstanding and unique photographic archives of the Holy Land. These include images of Palestine, Israel, Syria, Trans-Jordan, and Lebanon dating from the 1850s to the present day. Its core collection reflects, on the one hand, the fascination of the Levant for Europeans of the Victorian and Edwardian age who were captivated by its exotic qualities. Some of the images are the work of commercial photographers such as Bonfils, Robertson, Beato, Frith and Graham. Others were recorded by amateurs with a passionate interest in the Holy Land, whose photographic albums have been donated to the collection. At the same time, the collection faithfully records the wide-ranging interests of the Palestine Exploration Fund itself, and many of the photographs were taken by those engaged on its own projects - among them Kitchener, Bliss, Macalister and Garstang. Central to these activities in the nineteenth century was the exploration of Jerusalem. A landmark in the photographic recording of Jerusalem was the Ordnance Survey of the city in 1865-1866.

The cloistered courtyard south of the Church of the Redeemer (L. Schoenecke 1898)
The cloistered courtyard south of the Church of the Redeemer (L. Schoenecke 1898)

 The Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Zangaki 1870-1900)
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Zangaki 1870-1900)

Shimon Gibson, Senior Fellow of the Albright Institute, Jerusalem, has been researching the picture archive for many years, has selected the photographs reproduced here, and has written the accompanying text. He is an accomplished archaeologist, who resides in Jerusalem and is intimately acquainted with the city and its remarkable past. In this volume he presents a selection of images from what must surely be one of the most photographed cities in the world. Many of the pictures represent buildings and scenes no longer in existence, or which have been radically changed. Yet this is far more than a visually captivating step into the past, for the author allows us to experience the sights and sense the atmosphere and smells of nineteenth and early twentieth century Jerusalem, a city which, at this time was still essentially medieval, with its gates closed at night for much of the period. Comforts which the modern tourist takes for granted - such as good roads, motorised transport, and availability of drinkable water and acceptable sanitation - were all lacking. Shimon Gibson gives us here the very essence of old Jerusalem - timeless and deeply rewarding.

A street in Jerusalem (Frank Mason Good 1875)
A street in Jerusalem (Frank Mason Good 1875)

Funeral of the Greek Patriarch (Anonymous 1897)
Funeral of the Greek Patriarch (Anonymous 1897)


Original Pricing and Publication Details

Price for non-members: £25.00/US$50.00
Price for PEF members: £22.50/US$45.00

Publisher: Stacey International for the Palestine Exploration Fund, 2003
Details: 204 pages, portrait, hardback
ISBN 1-900988-321
Dimensions: 23 X 29.5 cm

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