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jerusalemJerusalem Rebirth of a City a book written by Martin Gilbert in 1985. The author is a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford and has been a Governor since 1978 of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem since 1978. The book describes the growth of the city since 1838 and the author chronicles these 60 years of turbulent growth from a decrepit backwater in the Ottoman Empire to a modern city.

The book is as much about the architecture of the city as it is about the three faiths that inhabit this city so important to Jews, the many different Christian faiths and Muslims.

It is actually about the lives of the people who inhabited the city and contributed to the modern founding of it.

So from our own collection, here is a stereoscopic view of the type which served as an illustration in the book besides the old salt prints in full size. The view was made by the Keystone View Company around 1900.

The book is also well illustrated with early photographs and offers some interesting passages like the following:

“By 1889 Jerusalem’s population had risen to an estimated 25,000 Jews, with a further 7,000 Christian Arabs, and 7,000 Muslim Arabs making up a total population of nearly 40,000. Of the Christians, the Greek Orthodox predominated with 4.000, followed by the Roman Catholics, or Latins with 2,000. The other Christian sects were all smaller: 500 Armenians, 300 Protestants, 150 Greek Catholics, 100 Copts from Egypt and the Sudan, 75 Abyssinians and the smallest Christian sect of all, 50 Armenian Catholics. Photographers , whose work was now an integral part of traveller’s Jerusalem , delighted in portraying, in their souvenir portfolios, the different faces and costumes of these many communities”. Or a quote from an early traveller the “officer in command ” of the Palestine Exploration Fund Claude Conder who wrote while recording his visit to the Wailing Wall how impressive the scene was; “striking from the great size and strength of the mighty stones, which rise without window or door up to the domes and cypresses above, suggesting how utterly the original worshippers are cast out, by men of alien race and faith” and continues;” Nearest to us stood the Pharisees from Germany, the Ashkenazi Jews, dressed in their best: the old men with grey locks and thin grey beards, on their heads the high black velvet cap edged with fur, their lovelocks curling on either side of their lank faces, their robes long gabardines of many colors: the younger men had blue-black hair and pale strongly-marked features;here and there one saw a richly dressed boy, a few little red-haired children and occasionally an old woman, their faces all stamped with that subtle likeness which betrays the Jews in any country in any dress”.

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