Ein Kerem

Ein Kerem

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Ein Kerem is an ancient village of the Jerusalem District
Jerusalem District
The Jerusalem District is one of six administrative districts of Israel. The district capital is Jerusalem. The Jerusalem District has a land area of 652 km². The population of 910,300 is 67.8% Jewish and 30.6% Arab...

 and now a neighbourhood in southwest of Jerusalem. According to Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 tradition, John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

 was born in Ein Kerem, leading to the establishment of many churches and monasteries. In 2010, the neighborhood had a population of 2,000. It attracts three million visitors a year, one-third of them pilgrims from around the world.

Early history


A spring that provides water to the village of Ein Kerem stimulated settlement there from an early time. Pottery has been found nearby dating to the Middle Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

. In the Israelite age it was the location of Beth HaKerem (Jeremiah 6:1; Nehemiah 3:14), where the traditional name comes from. A reservoir here was mentioned in the copper scroll
Copper Scroll
The Copper Scroll is one of the Dead Sea Scrolls found in Cave 3 near Khirbet Qumran, but differs significantly from the others. Whereas the other scrolls are written on parchment or papyrus, this scroll is written on metal: copper mixed with about 1 percent tin...

. It was recorded during the Islamic conquest and again, under the name St. Jeehan de Bois, during the Crusades
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

. Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 tax registers from 1596 showed a population of 29 Muslim families.

During excavations in Ein Karem, a marble statue of Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

 (or Venus
Venus
Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. The planet is named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. After the Moon, it is the brightest natural object in the night sky, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6, bright enough to cast shadows...

) was found, broken in two. It is believed to date from the Roman era and was probably toppled in Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 times. Today, the statue is at the Rockefeller Museum
Rockefeller Museum
The Rockefeller Museum, formerly the Palestine Archaeological Museum, is an archaeological museum located in East Jerusalem that houses a large collection of artifacts unearthed in the excavations conducted in Ottoman Palestine beginning in the late 19th century.The museum is under the management...

.

Christian traditions


According to the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, Mary
Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary , commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of God", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee...

 went "into the hill country, to a city of Judah" when she visited the home of Zechariah
Zechariah (priest)
In the Bible, Zechariah , is the father of John the Baptist, a priest of the sons of Aaron, a prophet in , and the husband of Elisabeth who is the cousin of Mary the mother of Jesus.In the Qur'an, Zechariah plays a similar role as the father of John the Baptist and ranks him as a prophet alongside...

 and Elizabeth
Elizabeth (Biblical person)
Elizabeth is also spelled Elisabeth or Elisheva...

. Theodosius (530) says that the distance from Jerusalem to the place where Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

, lived is five miles. The Jerusalem Calendar (dated before 638) mentions the village by name as the place of a festival in memory of Elizabeth celebrated on the twenty-eighth of August. The Anglo Saxon Saewulf on pilgrimage to Palestine in 1102-1103 wrote of a monastery in the area of Ein Karim dedicated to St. Sabas where 300 monks had been "slain by Saracens. The site of the crusader church was purchased by Father Thomas of Novaria in 1621. In 1672 the Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 order received a Firman
Firman
A firman is a royal mandate or decree issued by a sovereign in certain historical Islamic states, including the Ottoman Empire, Mughal Empire, State of Hyderabad, and Iran under Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. The word firman comes from the meaning "decree" or "order"...

 from the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 Sultan and 'large sums of mon[ies]' were expended in an extensive rebuilding programme.

Modern history


The population of Ein Kerem in 1931 was 2,637 and in 1944/45 it was 3,180, in each case including the smaller localities of Ayn al-Rawwas and Ayn al-Khandaq. The 1947 UN Partition Plan
1947 UN Partition Plan
The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was created by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine in 1947 to replace the British Mandate for Palestine with "Independent Arab and Jewish States" and a "Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem" administered by the United...

 placed Ein Kerem in the Jerusalem enclave intended for international control. In February 1948 the village's 300 guerilla fighters were reinforced by a well-armed Arab Liberation Army
Arab Liberation Army
The Arab Liberation Army , also translated as Arab Salvation Army, was an army of volunteers from Arab countries led by Fawzi al-Qawuqji...

 force of mainly Syrian fighters, and on March 10 a substantial Iraqi detachment arrived in the village, followed within days by some 160 Egyptian fighters. On March 19, the villagers joined their foreign guests in attacking a Jewish convoy on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road.
Immediately after the April 1948 massacre at the nearby village of Deir Yassin
Deir Yassin massacre
The Deir Yassin massacre took place on April 9, 1948, when around 120 fighters from the Irgun Zevai Leumi and Lohamei Herut Israel Zionist paramilitary groups attacked Deir Yassin near Jerusalem, a Palestinian-Arab village of roughly 600 people...

 (2 km to the north), most of the women and children in the village were evacuated. It was attacked by Israeli forces during the 10-day truce of July 1948. The remaining civilian inhabitants fled on July 10-11. The Arab Liberation Army forces which had camped in the village left on July 14-16 after Jewish forces captured two dominating hilltops, Khirbet Beit Mazmil and Khirbet al-Hamama, and shelled the village. During its last days, Ein Kerem suffered from severe food shortages.

Israel later incorporated the village into the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem.Ein Kerem was one of the few depopulated Arab localities which survived the war with most of the buildings intact. The abandoned homes were resettled with new immigrants. Over the years, the bucolic atmosphere attracted a population of artisans and craftsmen.

In 1961, Hadassah
Hadassah
Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America is an American Jewish volunteer women's organization. Founded in 1912 by Henrietta Szold, it is one of the largest international Jewish organizations, with around...

 founded its medical center on a nearby hilltop, including the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; ; abbreviated HUJI) is Israel's second-oldest university, after the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The Hebrew University has three campuses in Jerusalem and one in Rehovot. The world's largest Jewish studies library is located on its Edmond J...

 schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing, and pharmacology.
In a peaceful valley between mountains and hills, surrounded by the beauty of natural groves, nestles one of Jerusalem’s most picturesque neighborhoods - Ein Kerem.
Like an island in a sea of green forest in southwest Jerusalem, Ein Kerem has charming stone houses adorned with arches, churches whose bells chime in the clear air and lovely paths paved with stone.
Ein Kerem is a pilgrimage site for many Christian visitors, who come here year after year. According to Christian tradition, this is where Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, miraculously became pregnant. This is also where he was born. Tradition teaches that during her pregnancy, Elizabeth was visited by a family relative - Mary, who was also pregnant, with Jesus. The two women met beside the village well and Mary drank from its cool waters. That place is now called Mary’s Well. The village around the well grew and its waters are considered holy. Many pilgrims come to drink from the well and take the holy water away with them in bottles.

Church of St. John the Baptist



There are two churches by this name in Ein Kerem. One is a Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 church built in the second half of the 19th century on the remnants of earlier Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and Crusader
Crusader states
The Crusader states were a number of mostly 12th- and 13th-century feudal states created by Western European crusaders in Asia Minor, Greece and the Holy Land , and during the Northern Crusades in the eastern Baltic area...

 churches. Inside are the remains of an ancient mosaic
Mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

 floor and a cave where, according to Christian tradition, John the Baptist was born. Additionally some remnants below the infrastructure of the building suggests the presence of Mikve a Jewish baptism bath that is dated to the 2nd temple period.
The church is mentioned in the Book of the Demonstration, attributed to Eutychius of Alexandria (940): "The church of Bayt Zakariya in the district of Aelia
Aelia Capitolina
Aelia Capitolina was a city built by the emperor Hadrian, and occupied by a Roman colony, on the site of Jerusalem, which was in ruins since 70 AD, leading in part to the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132–136.-Politics:...

 bears witness to the visit of Mary to her kinswoman Elizabeth."

The church has been in the hands of the Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

s since 1674. In 1941–1942 they conducted excavations in the area immediately west of the church and the adjoining monastery. Several rock-cut chambers and graves were found, as well as wine presses with mosaic floors and small chapels with mosaic
Mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

 tiling. The southern rock-cut chamber contained pottery of a type found elsewhere in Jerusalem, probably from the first century CE.

The other is an Eastern Orthodox church built in 1894, also on the remnants of an ancient church.


Church of the Visitation



Another ancient church at Ein Kerem is located across the village to the southwest from St. John's. The ancient sanctuary there was built against a rock declivity. It is venerated as the pietra del nascondimento, the "stone in which John was concealed," in reference to the Protevangelium of James. The site is also attributed to John the Baptist's parental summer house, where Mary visited them.

The modern church was built in 1955, also on top of ancient church remnants. It was designed by Antonio Barluzzi, an Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 architect, who designed many other churches in the Holy Land during the 20th century.

Les Soeurs de Notre-Dame de Sion


The monastery of Les Soeurs de Notre-Dame de Sion (Sisters of Our Lady of Zion) was founded by two brothers from France, Theodore and Marie Alphonse Ratisbonne, who were born Jewish and converted to Christianity. They established an orphanage
Orphanage
An orphanage is a residential institution devoted to the care of orphans – children whose parents are deceased or otherwise unable or unwilling to care for them...

 here. Alphonse himself lived in the monastery and is buried in its garden.

"Moscovia" Monastery


Built by the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 at the end of the 19th century, this church (originally "Gorny Monastery" — ru:Горненский монастырь (Эйн-Карем)) was nicknamed "Moskovia" (Arabic for Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

) by the local Arab villagers, because of its tented roof
Tented roof
A tented roof is a type of roof widely used in 16th and 17th century Russian architecture for churches. It is like a polygonal spire but differs in purpose in that it is typically used to roof the main internal space of a church, rather than an auxiliary structure...

 similarity to other Russian churches. The monastery has two churches enclosed within a compound wall.

St. Vincent



St. Vincent-Ein Kerem
St. Vincent-Ein Kerem
Saint Vincent-Ein Kerem is a home for physically or mentally handicapped children in Israel. It was founded in 1954 at Ein Kerem, on the edge of Jerusalem. St. Vincent-Ein Kerem is a non-profit enterprise and is under leadership of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul. The home cares...

 is a home for physically or mentally handicapped children. Founded in 1954, St. Vincent-Ein Kerem is a non-profit enterprise under leadership of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.

Mary's Spring


According to Christian tradition, this village fresh-water spring is the location where Mary and Elizabeth met. The spring waters are considered holy by some Catholic and Orthodox Christian pilgrims who visit the site and fill bottles with its waters. The spring was repaired and renovated by Baron Edmond de Rothschild. Arab inhabitants also built a mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

 on the site, of which the maqam
Arabic maqam
Arabic maqām is the system of melodic modes used in traditional Arabic music, which is mainly melodic. The word maqam in Arabic means place, location or rank. The Arabic maqam is a melody type...

 still remains.

Notable residents

  • Shlomo Aronson
    Shlomo Aronson
    Shlomo Aronson is an Israeli landscape architect. His works range from master plans for reforestation, archaeological parks and freeway planting schemes to urban plazas.-Biography:...



In a way in which visitors to the spring might find somewhat ironic,there is a sign in Hebrew and English at the spring warning people to not drink the water.

See also


  • Ein Kerem Agricultural School
    Ein Kerem Agricultural School
    Ein Kerem Agricultural School , also known as the Ein Kerem Community Environmental School is a school and village in central Israel. Located near Ein Kerem, it falls under the jurisdiction of Mateh Yehuda Regional Council...

  • Tourism in Israel
    Tourism in Israel
    Tourism in Israel is one of the country's major sources of income, with 3.45 million tourist arrivals in 2010. Israel offers a plethora of historical and religious sites, beach resorts, archaeological tourism, heritage tourism and ecotourism. Israel has the highest number of museums per capita in...

  • List of Arab towns and villages depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War