Jerusalem attractions category

Silwan


Jerusalem Attractions  - 98

About

Built into the southern slopes of the Mount of Olives, directly across the Kidron Valley from the Ophel, site of the ancient city of Jerusalem, is the gritty, graffiti-daubed Arab village of Silwan. The name of the village itself tells an interesting story – Silwan derives from the Greek Siloam, a corruption of the Hebrew Shiloach, the name of a pool in the area used to collect water from the Gichon Spring, the chief water source of ancient Jerusalem. Shiloach makes several appearances in the Bible, both in the Hebrew Bible, wherein Isaiah mentions it, and in the New Testament, where it is the setting for Jesus' healing of a blind man.

 

The area was erratically occupied throughout the ages following the collapse of Judean sovereignty, and the roots of the modern village were put down in 1882 by Yemenite Jews, who had begun immigrating to the Holy Land in large numbers during the latter part of the 19th century. The original Yemenite tenants were violently expelled during the countrywide Arab riots of the late 1930s, and Silwan became entirely Arab. Today the area is mostly residential, and political tensions are high, especially due to right-wing Jewish groups sponsoring Jewish settlement at the fringes of the village. Due to the tensions, and the lack of any sites of historical interest in Silwan itself, foreign tourists would be best advised to keep away.

Facilities
  • Free entry

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