Photography Tour: Depicting Jerusalem as it was before 1948

Posted on Mar 15, 2019

As part of a Festival of Photography, this group interested in the history of Jerusalem met at the Damascus Gate and from there set off to discover the Old Town.

YASMEEN ATTOUN Tourist coordinator “The Photography Festival was launched on February 24 and will continue until March 24. The activities will take place in Palestinian cities where our presence is of special importance. The theme of the Festival, the “Belle Époque”, inspired us to look for ancient images, depicting Palestine as it was before 1948.”

Participants walked through narrow alleys, crowded with locals and tourists, until they arrived at the first stop of the excursion, the “Elia Photo Studio”, located in the Christian quarter. The space was inaugurated in 1948 and maintains an ancient archive which dates back to the 1860 Jerusalem. It shows the history of the Holy City from then to the present day, showing the great changes that the city has experienced in recent decades. The owner of the studio, Elia Kahvejian, says that his grandfather started working with photos in 1924. A profession, then, handed down from father to son.

The second stop was the Austrian Holy Family Hospital, which welcomes tourists and pilgrims from all over the world.

NOURA German Student “I really enjoyed the tour. It’s my first time in Jerusalem. I arrived a week ago, but I hadn’t seen the places we saw today yet.”

Continuing along El Wad street, the participants continued their excursion to the Youssef Efendi Centre, dedicated to tourist information, and visited the photographic exhibition set up in the Al Ma’mal, a non-profit organisation based in an old tile factory near New Gate.

NADINE LIFTAWEI Coordinator of the projects Union Tourism – Jerusalem “The idea behind the creation of this centre is to offer information about Palestine in an interactive way, helping people to collect information and interact with it. It is the first centre conceived in this way and there are plans to create similar centres in other cities.”