Saturday, June 1, 2013

Decaying slowly through the millennia

I am lucky!
 I just have to walk a block or two from my moshav/village, out into the terraced valleys of the Jerusalem Hills, to find pictures for today's City Daily Photo Theme Day, which is "The beauty of decay."

This rounded place on a hill slope is one of my favorites.
See its arched opening, now half buried by the ages?!
I try to imagine who used it, when,  and for how long . . . 

Please enlarge these photos with one click, then another.
I left them big so you can enjoy the luscious details.

The hills are peppered with mysterious stone structures  that are thousands of years old.
They are hard to date, but some go back even to 4,500 years ago.
Archaeologists have proof that different peoples have inhabited this area for 6,000 years.

 The door and a window of this now low structure on the valley floor are still visible.
The big pine tree toppled over in last winter's rain and now it, too, will start to decay. 

A forest fire swept through this valley a few years ago, but this tall cypress survived.
It thrives between two dams.

Jerusalem is surrounded by hills and the only way to raise crops was to build agricultural terraces.
Farmers picked rocks from the ground and used them to build terrace walls; they may have had to bring in soil for each little plot.
They devised irrigation channels from the many springs in the Jerusalem Hills.

In the bottom of the valleys they built dams, as pictured above.
When rain water rushed down the valley from the hills, these dams stopped the soil from being washed away.

In Biblical days, farmers were able to feed their families from these terraces as well as most of the great throngs of pilgrims who ascended to the Temple in nearby Jerusalem on the three yearly pilgrimage festivals.

In recent centuries, up to 1948, Arab farmers grew many fruit and olive trees and I'm not sure what else in the hills.
I admire all who did this hard work in a not easy land.
To see how farmers used stone shomerot, watchmen's huts, please see previous posts.
There are hundreds here in the Jerusalem Hills in various stages of decay.
Now let's go visit the other CDP bloggers and see what's decaying in their cities.
Shalom to all. 
(Linking also to Toby's meme (in Israel!)  Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.)


Suzanne said...

So beautiful, I wonder too about the people who inhabited and used these decayed compounds. I wonder what it will be like 1,000 from now!

Jim said...


cieldequimper said...

Thanks for this.

william braquemard said...

Interesting post.

Karl Demetz said...

Good interpretation of this theme, Dina! Beautiful photos.

LOLfromPasa said...

Quite gripping to read about places so near to where you live. Enjoyed your contribution and seeing those incredible photos as well.

Adullamite said...

Super pictures!
Those walls have seen some life!
If only someone could reuse them now?
Great post Dina.

Lynette said...

You’ve made a great Theme Day post. I'm glad you picked these for today. Thanks for the informative text.

Marleen said...

Thanks Dina, this is very interesting. Great photo's too.

Jo said...

Wonderful post and interesting as always.


Marvelous - to think of all those lives that passed through here. Such flashes of human spirit.

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

So much history with that decay! I can imagine the original splendor!

paul said...

Taking us back in time. Interesting, and a fine contribution to the theme.

Birdman said...

Your blog is always so filled with interesting 'looks' into another part of the world.

Merisi said...

Thank you for sharing these beautiful images and the history of this truly interesting hills!

Rob Siemann said...

Nice! You could have taken photos of all the old cars (and tanks) rusting away everywhere. But you went for these stone structures, so much nicer! Toda raba, Dina;-)

Dina said...

Rob, I hope you don't think I live in the West Bank. No way.
The 1967 Six Day War ground war was not here in this area in the Jerusalem Corridor, so no tanks around here. And there is only one old car that fell or was pushed over the side, into the valley. It is mostly overgrown by now.

Small City Scenes said...

I find this so interesting. I too wonder about the people who lived before us. MB

Spiderdama said...

It is so much beauty in all this old rocks around your place. Lucky you to have it so close!
Great post Dina:-)

TheChieftess said...

A wonderful example of exemplary Human ingenuity...

JM said...

Now, this is something! True decay at its best! Love it, Dina.

toby said...

Really amazing, I imagine most of us reading this have far less interesting backyards :)

Sara said...

Shalom Dina! I love these beautiful ruins with their ancient doors and windows that prompt one to dream and wonder about who lived there all those ages ago.