In the Shadow of the Wall by Vincent Lemire
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The Life and Death of Jerusalem’s Maghrebi Quarter, 1187–1967
The Maghrebi Quarter of Jerusalem long sat in the shadow of the Western Wall, the last vestige of the Second Temple. Three days after the June ’67 War, Israeli forces razed the Quarter, its narrow alleys widened and homes removed, to create the Western Wall Plaza. With this book, Vincent Lemire offers the first history of the Maghrebi Quarter—spanning 800 years from its founding by Saladin in 1187 to house North African Muslim pilgrims through to its destruction. To bring this vanished district back to life, Lemire gathers its now-scattered documentation in the archives of Muslim pious foundations in Jerusalem and the Red Cross in Geneva, in Ottoman archives in Istanbul and Israeli state archives. He engages testimonies of former residents and looks to recent archaeological digs that have resurfaced household objects buried during the destruction. Today, the Western Wall Plaza extends over the former Maghrebi Quarter. It is one of the most identifiable places in the world—yet one of the most occluded in history. In the Shadow of the Wall offers a new point of entry to understand this consequential place.