Gaza City – Palestine

Brief History

Gaza City is one of the oldest cities in the world. It gained great importance due to its sensitive geographical location at the meeting point of the continents of Asia and Africa, which gave it a superior strategic and military importance, as it is the front line for the defense of Palestine, and indeed all of the Levant to the south. Its advanced location had a great role in defending the Egyptian depth in its northeast, and made it the battlefield for most of the empires in the ancient and modern world, namely: Pharaonic, Assyrian, Persian, Greek, Roman, then Crusader, and in the First World War.

The location of Gaza City at the climatic dividing line and at a latitude (31.3) degrees north of the equator made it occupy the boundary position between the desert in the south and the Mediterranean climate in the north, and therefore it is between two contrasting regions, which gave it the role of a vibrant commercial “market” with global products. And cold since ancient times.

This important site reinforced its privileged position on a small hill that rises about “45” meters from the sea level, from which it is about three kilometers away.

Old Gaza used to occupy an area of ​​about one square kilometer on this hill, surrounded by a great wall that had several gates on its four sides, the most important of which were: Bab al-Bahr or “Mimas Gate” relative to its port to the west, Bab “Ashkelon” to the north, and “Bab al-Khalil” To the east, and finally Bab ad-Durb, the door to Deir al-Rum, or Darom, to the south. These names underwent a lot of change according to the difference and change of time and empires, and these doors closed at sunset, making them invulnerable to their enemies.

All these powerful elements made our ancestors from the Canaanite Arabs who founded it around the third millennium BC called it “Gaza”, as the specific Arabs who inhabited it called it and had an active role in reviving it in the BC, and their ties with the people of Gaza were strengthened by the ties of lineage and intermarriage.

The Pharaohs called it during the days of “Thutmose III” (1447-1501 BC) “their conquerors” and its name was associated with “treasure”, which was said to have been buried in the days of the Persians.

Its name “Gaza” remained immortal without change or alteration, and Arabs called it “Gaza Hashem”, where the Prophet’s grandfather – may God bless him and grant him peace – was buried there during one of his journeys before Islam at the end of the fifth century and the beginning of the sixth century approximately. It is not surprising, and in this case, that Khalil Al Dhahiri called it the “King’s Corridor”, and that “Napoleon” described it as the gateway to Asia and the gateway to Africa, all of which confirm the sensitivity and importance of its location.

Economy Activity

The economy in Gaza relied on agriculture and light industries. Among the main agricultural products: citrus fruits, olives, dates, flowers, strawberries and other varieties of vegetables and fruits.

As for the main industrial production in Gaza; It is represented in food products, plastics, construction materials, furniture, textiles, clothing, and heritage industries, such as: pottery, bamboo furniture, rugs, stained glass, embroidery, and fishing.

The economy of Gaza City depends on trade, agriculture, tourism, and industry.

Trading

Gaza played a prominent role as a sea port and traffic trading base that began to wither at the end of the Ottoman period, and it is worth noting that Gaza exported $ 1.5 million worth of wheat, barley, corn, dates, sesame, skins and poultry in the year 1905 AD through its port, and it used to import various goods Its value reached (750) thousand dollars, thus achieving a trade balance in its favor in that year only. It seems that the ports of Jaffa and Haifa had a negative impact on the port of Gaza later, which caused the economic stalemate gradually.

The Gaza port completely lost its role after the Israeli occupation and is still suspended until now, just as the residents of Gaza in the past paid attention to the commercial markets, so they set up markets and shops to display their goods, and among the most important of these markets is the Qaysariyya market, which is still standing until now, which testifies to history and is located in the Al-Daraj neighborhood.

Gaza currently relies on its trade on Egypt and Israel only to import and export some industries and agricultural products. Citrus and flowers have been exported to countries around the world several times, despite Israeli harassment and attempts to sabotage the export business.

In addition, Gaza International Airport was established, which was destroyed by the occupation, and it was expected that trade would revive after its opening, while Palestinian and international attempts were being made to start building the port, and these attempts collided with Israel’s procrastination and its refusal to keep import and export confined to Israeli ports.

The economy in Gaza also depends mainly on the fishing trade and exporting part of it.

The Gaza municipality has also contributed to encouraging trade, by providing citizens with modern, healthy and organized markets, including the popular Yarmouk market, which is the first central market in the city when it comes into operation.

Farming

In the past, Gaza was famous for cultivating wheat, barley and cotton crops and exporting them to the Arab world and abroad, and in Gaza now there are many crops: potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, fruits, grapes, strawberries, figs, melons and melons. And spread the piers in which the finest types of citrus fruits, such as lemons and oranges, are grown, and some people rely on them to feed bees.

Irrigation in Gaza City depends on well water, and seawater desalination studies are currently being carried out by municipalities in the Gaza Strip. The economy in Gaza also depends to a large extent on the cultivation and export of flowers to various countries of the world. 

 Some residents of the Gaza Strip currently raise sheep and livestock, and depend on them to run their lives, which also contribute to some light local industries. The Gaza municipality has contributed to the establishment of a modern and sophisticated slaughterhouse that follows the latest health and practical laws and operates automatically according to the latest systems and methods in the world, and is considered one of the most advanced slaughterhouses in the Middle East.

Industry

Gaza City was famous for many light industries, some of which depended on agriculture as a basic raw material, such as: olive press industry, soap that depends on oil as a raw material, and pottery industry is one of the oldest Palestinian industries for which the city is famous, as well as the manufacture of spinning, embroidery and heritage rugs from wool Cattle, weaving, bamboo furniture and stained glass making.

The most prominent historical and tourist attractions

Al-Omari Great Mosque

The Al-Omari Mosque is the oldest and oldest mosque in Gaza City. It is located in the center of “Old Gaza” near the old market. It has an area of ​​4,100 square meters, and its courtyard area is 1,190 square meters. It holds 38 columns of beautiful and sturdy construction marble, which reflects in its beauty and splendor with the ingenuity of ancient architecture In Gaza City.

It is the church established by the Bishop of Gaza Porphyrios at the expense of Queen Afthoxia. When Gaza was conquered during the days of Caliph Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, it made this church a mosque.

It was called the Al-Omari Mosque in reference to the Caliph Umar, may God be pleased with him, and Al-Kabeer because it is the largest mosque in Gaza. Lajin, the Sultan of the Mamelukes, built a door and minaret for him in 697 AH / 1281 AD. It was expanded by Al-Nasir Muhammad and Omar during the Ottoman era. The First World, where the greater part of it was demolished and its minaret collapsed. The Supreme Islamic Council renewed the mosque’s building in the year 1345 AH / 1926 CE and rebuilt it in a manner that surpassed its previous form.

The advantage of Omari mosque features the huge library where there are many manuscripts in various sciences and the arts, due this genesis library to Baybars Bunduqdari, and was formerly known as Zahir Baybars Library “·
Omari Mosque library contains one hundred and thirty – two manuscripts, between a large workbook message Small, and the oldest manuscript copy dates back to 920 AH.

Al-Sayed Hashem Mosque

It is located in the Al-Daraj neighborhood, “the old city of Gaza,” and it is one of the most beautiful and largest of Gaza’s ancient mosques. It is an open dish surrounded by four shades, the largest of which is the qibla canopy. He died in Gaza during his summer business trip.
The mosque was built by the Mamluks, and Sultan Abdul Hamid renewed it in 1850 AD, and Gaza City was named “Gaza Hashem” after him.

Moroccan Mosque

It is located in the Al-Daraj neighborhood, and it is an old mosque in the Al-Daraj neighborhood. It was built in the ninth century. He became famous for him, and when he died, he was buried in a large cave under an iwan, and in his square a tomb was built to indicate him, and the date of his death was written on it in the year 864 AH.

Al-Bardbakia Court Mosque

According to what Abd al-Latif Abu Hashim dated him, this mosque is located in the Shujaiya neighborhood, and was established in the ninth century. This mosque was a school founded by Prince Burdabek Al-Dudar in 859 AH during the days of King Al-Ashraf Abu Al-Nasr, then it was transferred to a court of justice.

Caesarea Market

It is located in the Al-Daraj neighborhood, which is adjacent to the southern wall of the Great Omari Mosque, and the building of the market dates back to the Mamluk era and consists of a street covered with a pointed vault, and on both sides of this street are small shops covered with intersecting cellars called the Qaysariyya market or the gold market relative to the gold trade in it.

The Pasha Palace, Sabil al-Sultan

It is located in the Al-Daraj neighborhood, and it consists of two floors, and the buildings of this palace date back to the Mamluk era, and it was the seat of the deputy of Gaza in the Mamluk and Ottoman eras.

The Path of Sultan Abdul Hamid

It was established in the Ottoman era in the 16th century AD, by Bahram Bey bin Mustafa Pasha, and it is located in the Al-Daraj neighborhood, and it was renewed by Rifaat Bey. Therefore, the Rifaiya Sabil was called as it was renewed during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1318 AH, so it was called the Sabil of Sultan Abdul Hamid. It is a dakhla preceded by a tapered arch on both sides of the dakhla, and the dakhla is topped with openings that were equipped with rods to draw water from the sabil basin for watering people.

The Ahmadiyya Zawiya

It is located in the Al-Daraj neighborhood, and it was established by the followers of Sayyid Ahmad Al-Badawi in the 6th century AH / 14AD AD, who died in Tanta in the year 657 AH / 1276 AD. In the courtyard of the outer corner there is a beautiful marble tomb of the daughter of Al-Maqri, Bahadar Al-Jokandar Qatlu Khatun, who died on Rabi Thani 12, 733 AH / December 31, 1332 CE.

Samra bath

It is located in the Zeitoun neighborhood, and it is considered one of the wonderful examples of the Ottoman baths in Palestine, and it is the only bathroom that remains so far in Gaza City, and the gradual transition from the hot room to the cold room was taken into account in its planning, which was roofed by a dome with round openings intertwined with colored glass that allows the sunlight to penetrate to illuminate the hall With natural light that gives the place elegance and beauty, in addition to the beautiful floor that is paved with marble rounds, squares and triangles of various colors, and the bathroom has recently been restored and has become more beautiful and wonderful.

The Greek Orthodox Church

It is located in the Al-Zaytoun neighborhood, and its construction dates back to the beginning of the fifth century A.D. As for the current buildings, it dates back to the twelfth century A.D. This church is distinguished by the huge walls supported by marble and granite columns installed in a horizontal position to support the walls in addition to the stone shoulders, and the church was renovated in 1856 and in the northeast corner of it there is Tomb of Saint Porphyrius, who died in the year 420 AD.

Hill of housing

It is Tal al-Sakan, located five kilometers south of Gaza City; In the Zahraa area, one of the most important archaeological sites in the Gaza governorates.
A joint Palestinian-French scientific excavation was carried out on this site in 1998, which showed that it had lived in two main stages: the first in the Early Bronze Age (3200-3000 BC); The second in the Third Early Bronze Age (2650-2200 BC); The excavations also showed the great importance of this site in studying the civilizational history of Gaza City, and the Palestinian civilization history in general. She shed light on the civilizational relations between Palestine and Egypt in that early period.

This site is a Karkari sand hill, 30 meters above sea level, characterized by immunity and immunity due to the architectural fortifications that have been established in it throughout history. The hill witnessed two different stages of human settlement, namely: the Egyptian civilization and the Canaanite civilization, which date back to the early early Bronze Age.

Among the most important discoveries that were found at the site, the archaeological layers whose height ranges between (4-8 m), which provided a first glimpse of the history of the place; The number of archaeological levels in it was nine levels of human settlement.

The hill contains the remains of local homes and facilities, the roofs of buildings built with red bricks, and the remains of mud-brick architectural walls and walls. The building wall system is the result of a high-class style in architecture that has no parallel in the world.

Many archaeological discoveries dating back to the Egyptian Pharaonic civilization were found on the site. Where Egyptian-made pottery was directly imported in the Nile Valley region; Remains of Canaanite pottery that were locally made in Gaza have also been found using local clay, but in the Egyptian style.

Hybrid pottery remains that combine Egyptian and Pharaonic antiquities, and Canaanite antiquities, bathtubs, cylindrical vases, and large jars of various shapes and uses were found. In addition to the disclosure of bread containers that were commonly used, and seven facades for palaces, dating back to the first dynasty of the Egyptian dynasty.

And discovered at the site, pieces of cylindrical seals, bearing figures of animals known since the early era of history, a statue of a frog made of soft limestone, and Canaanite mills made of basalt and herringbone stone, Canaanite stone blades, kiosk machines, knives, axes, arrowheads, and others.

In 2017, the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism intervened to stop the sweeping and destruction of the site, which is part of the cultural identity of the Palestinian people.

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