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Wallach, Yair (2020) 'Jerusalem's Lost Heart: The Rise and Fall of the Ottoman City Centre.' In: Maksudyan, Nazan and Alkan, Hilal, (eds.), Urban Neighbourhood Formations. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 138-158.

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This chapter outlines the dramatic rise and fall of Jerusalem’s late Ottoman city centre, the physical destruction of which by British and Israeli planners was accompanied by its erasure from cultural memory. The cosmopolitan town centre around Jaffa Gate, emerging in the 1880s, embodied late Ottoman notions of non-sectarian civic modernity, technological progress, and urban development. As the central node of the expanding network of neighbourhoods, connecting the walled city to developments outside the walls, the new centre pointed towards a plural and integrative vision of manifold communities that made up the city. The 1917 British occupation brought an entirely new ethos to Jerusalem, based on historicism and ethno-religious segregation. The British viewed the city centre as an eyesore which they tried unsuccessfully to demolish, to make way for a park around the walls that would accentuate Jerusalem’s sacredness and historicity. The disdain toward the town centre corresponded with a view of the city as a tapestry of segregated neighbourhoods, with no common civic identity. This vision was finally implemented by Israeli planners after the 1967 occupation of East Jerusalem, and the consolidation of ‘united’ Jerusalem as a ‘divided city’, a segregated city with rival communities lacking a shared civic heart.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics
ISBN: 9780367255107
Copyright Statement: © 2020 selection and editorial matter, Hilal Alkan and Nazan Maksudyan; individual chapters, the contributors. This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Urban Neighbourhood Formations published online on 4 March 2020, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2020 10:03

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