Saturday, March 1

Back to the Ottoman Era?

Once upon a time (and for quite a few centuries), Jaffa was the central government town of a peripheral province of the Ottoman empire.
The Turkish leaders had their offices in the "Seraya Building", the government house, just opposite the Mahmoudieh mosque. A special beautifully decorated entrance to the mosque was made opposite the Seraya building, so the governor and his guests only had to cross the market square in order to go and pray in what at the time was Jaffa's main mosque.
Clock-tower square was Jaffa's main square, from which coaches left to all parts of the empire. There were market stalls mostly selling vegetables and cafes, where well to do men would drink their coffee, play sheshbesh and exchange gossip or make business.
Close by were the jewellery stores of the Chelouche family and in the second half of the 19th century Boustrous street (today's Raziel street) was constructed, Jaffa's fancy stores and offices street.
Early in 1905 the clock-tower was constructed.

In 1918, at the end of the Ottoman empire and the beginning of the British Mandate, the Turks left Palestine.
Over time the Seraya building became a soup kitchen for poor children and the municipality moved to its new premises on Nouzha Boulevard (today's Jerusalem Boulevard), whereas the Brits had their offices in the area behind what is now the "Noga" theatre.
During the forties, the lovely Seraya building was bombed by Jewish terrorists and most of it was left in ruins.
Over the last few years the building complex is being renovated and it seems a little of Jaffa's Ottoman past is being resurrected, as the Turkish Cultural Center is about to open in what used to be the Ottoman Seraya Building.
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Lirun said...

i think thats pretty cool.. but i am a little sad for my armenian friends.. a true and loyal faction of israeli society..

who's generosity (mind you) has enable the na lagaat project to happen.. for example..

i heard a rumour that the building was being "given" to turkey.. do u know if there is any meat in that?

yudit said...

The Armenian genocide is a fct that needs to be remembered.

As to the building... it would not surprise me if its ownership is originally turkish. After all it was constructed by the Ottomoan regime.

But that's a guess