Jerusalem As You’ve Never Seen It
May 15, 2013
Though it’s only a few seconds long, the video of a bustling street within Jerusalem’s Old City walls – caught in black-and-white footage shot exactly 100 years ago this month – may be what makes this recently restored film most striking.
“The heart of Jerusalem is inside its walls, beyond the Jaffa Gate, where ultra-Orthodox Jews make their way to the Wailing Wall,” the film’s narrator says in Hebrew as men, women and children dressed in traditional Ottoman-era and classic religious garb (still visible today in some parts of this ancient city) mill about between the large stone walls.
The film was restored and preserved by a researcher and historian of Hebrew cinema named Yaakov Gross. It is part of a longer film called “Lives of the Jews in Eretz Yisrael,” originally filmed in pre-British mandate Jerusalem for a screening at the 11th Zionist Congress in Vienna, held in 1913.
The film, which begins with visuals from a pre-Passover train ride from the coastal city of Jaffa, through the foothills of Jerusalem and into the holy city, shows an almost exclusively Jewish way of life from 100 years ago, although Muslim sites such as the Dome of the Rock and the Mosque of Omar also feature briefly in the footage.