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Mishkenot Shananim

Mishkenot Sha’ananim is the first Jewish neighborhood built outside Jerusalem’s old city, and it has preserved its unique character. Its cobblestone alleys and 19th-century architecture make this community a charming, quiet hidden gem facing the Old City walls.

History of Mishkenot Sha’nanim

In the mid-19th century, the philanthropist Yehudah Touro, a wealthy Jewish merchant from New Orleans, bequeathed $60,000 to the Jews of the Holy Land in his will. Sir Moshe Montefiore executed his will by purchasing a plot facing Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter in 1860. He built a new and modern neighborhood for the Jews of Jerusalem living in the poorly maintained and overcrowded Jewish Quarter. He designed it as two parallel buildings, and a flour mill above, providing bread and work for the community. Despite the seemingly attractive new neighborhood, few families moved in, fearing life outside the city walls. In 1865, a plague was inflicted on the city, yet the residents of Mishkenot Shananim suffered fewer casualties, which convinced more families to join.

By the beginning of the 20th century, the Jews established over ten additional communities outside the city walls, laying the foundation of today’s Jewish western Jerusalem. In 1948, the residents of Mishkenot Sha’ananim abandoned it in fear of Jordanian snipers who conquered the Old City. After the Six Days War, in 1967, Israel united Jerusalem under its control. Among others, it restored the historical neighborhood, revining its historical charm.

Touring Mishkenot Sha’ananim

mishkenot shananaim flour millToday, Mishkenot Sha’ananim houses the Jerusalem Music Center and an upscale guest house reserved for guests of the municipality and the state of Israel. Its trademark, the windmill, is fully restored and runs now again. The adjacent quarter of Yemin Moshe is also a quaint neighborhood well worth a visit. It, too, was founded in the 19th century and restored successfully.

A tour of Mishkenot Shananim can be integrated into a Day Tour of Jerusalem.

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