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Mevaseret Zion ( , ) is a suburb of Jerusalemmarker, Israelmarker. Today, Mevaseret Zion is composed of two distinct settlements—Maoz Zion and Mevaseret Yerushalayim—under the jurisdiction of one local council. The newer neighborhoods of Mevaseret Zion were not part of either settlement.Mevaseret Zion is located on a mountain ridge 750 meters above sea level, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. It is ten kilometers from the city, straddling both sides of the Jerusalem–Tel Aviv highway. It has a population of 22,800 residents distributed over 15 neighborhoods. It is the wealthiest municipality per capita in the Jerusalem Districtmarker. Mevaseret Zion's current Mayor is Arye Shamam.

History

Due to its strategic location, settlement in the area of Mevaseret Zion goes back to antiquity. The Romans built a fortress there, known as Castellum. On the ruins of this fortress, the Crusaders built a castle, Castellum Belveer, which still stands today. An Arab village, Coloniya, grew up around this spot. The muhktar's house was built on the hilltop, on the ruins of the Crusader castle.

During the British Mandate of Palestine, the British referred to this district as "The Castle," dropping the "t" as is customary in English. The Arabs called it al-Qastalmarker, pronouncing the "t." The Jews called it "Hacastel" ("the Castel").

In Israel's War of Independence in 1948, fierce battles that claimed many lives took place here as Arabs and Jews fought for control of the Castel, which overlooked the main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway. The Castel exchanged hands several times in the course of the fighting. The tides turned when the revered Arab commander, Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni, was killed. Many of the Arabs left their positions to attend al-Husayni's funeral at the Al-Aqsa Mosquemarker on Friday, April 9. That same day, the Castel fell to the Israeli forces, virtually unopposed.

Maoz Zion ("Stronghold of Zion") was established in 1951 to house new immigrants from Iraqmarker, Kurdistanmarker, North Africa and Iranmarker who had been living in a ma'abara, or transit camp, at the foot of the Castel. Many were employed at the nearby Solel Boneh stone quarry.

Mevaseret Yerushalayim was established east of Ma'oz Zion in 1956 by Jewish immigrants from North Africa. It was located on a ridge near the armistice line, north of Motzamarker. The residents worked in the fruit orchards in the Arazim Valley.

In 1963, Maoz Zion and Mevaseret Yerushalayim formed a joint local council, which was called Mevaseret Zion. The source of the name comes from the Book of Isaiah: "על הר גבוה עלי לך מבשרת ציון" ("Ascend a lofty mountain, O herald of joy to Zion") (Isaiah 40:9).

View of Mevaseret Zion
Mevaseret Zion water tower


Institutions and landmarks

The embassies of Paraguaymarker and Boliviamarker are located in Mevaseret Zion. Mevaseret Zion has 3 grade schools, a junior-high school and a high school, "Tichon Har'el. Kanyon Harel is a large shopping mall in Mevaseret.

Archaeology

In April-May 2003, an archeological salvage dig carried out on Nahal Sorek Street in Mevaseret Zion unearthed an ancient burial cave dating from the mid-Second Temple Period.

Notable residents



Sister cities



References

  1. Institute of Jerusalem Studies
  2. Encyclopedia Judaica, "Mevasseret Zion," p. 1453
  3. Israel Antiquities Authority
  4. info@yiwp.org ** 135 Old Mamaroneck Road, White Plains, NY 10606 ** 914-683-YIWP

External links




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