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Filmed in 1913, this is the oldest footage of Jerusalem and it’s fascinating

Ian Smith

Jerusalem located on a plateau in the Judean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, is one of the oldest cities in the world.

It is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity andIslam. Israelis and Palestinians both claim Jerusalem as their capital, as Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there and the State of Palestine ultimately foresees it as its seat of power; however, neither claim is widely recognized internationally.

The video we found is a segment  of a 70 minutes documentary “Jewish Life in Palestine”, filmed by Noah Sokolovsky of the East Odessa Company in 1913, and is probably the oldest footage of Jerusalem.


During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times. Archaeologists have unearthed a 7,000-year-old settlement in northern Jerusalem from the early Chalcolithic period. They describe it as the oldest discovery of its kind in the region.

The part of Jerusalem called the City of David was settled in the 4th millennium BCE. In 1538, walls were built around Jerusalem under Suleiman the Magnificent. Today those walls define the Old City, which has been traditionally divided into four quarters—known since the early 19th century as the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters.

The Old City became a World Heritage Site in 1981, and is on the List of World Heritage in Danger.Modern Jerusalem has grown far beyond the Old City’s boundaries.

According to the Biblical tradition, King David conquered the city from the Jebusites and established it as the capital of the United Kingdom of Israel, and his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple. These foundational events, straddling the dawn of the 1st millennium BCE, assumed central symbolic importance for the Jewish people.


Ian Smith

Ian Smith is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News