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Al-Tira, Haifa

See Tira for other sites with similar names.
al-Tira is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic الطيرة
Also spelled Tirat al-Lawz
Subdistrict Haifa
Population 5,270 (1945)
Area 45,262 dunams
Date of depopulation 16 July 1948[1]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities HaHotrim,[2][3] Tirat Carmel,[3] Megadim,[3] Kefar Gallim,[3] Beyt Tzvi[3]

al-Tira (Arabic: الطيرة‎, also called Tirat al-Lawz or "Tira of the almonds" to distinguish it from other al-Tiras) was a Palestinian town located 7 kilometres south of Haifa.[4]

It was made up of five khirbets, including Khirbat al-Dayr where lie the ruins of St. Brocardus monastery and a cave complex with vaulted tunnels.[5]


  • History 1
  • 1948 and later 2
  • References 3
  • Bibliography 4
  • External links 5


The Crusaders called al-Tira, St. Yohan de Tire,[6] and in the thirteenth century the village contained a Greek Orthodox abbey of St. John the Baptist.[7][8]

In 987 H. (1579 CE) it is recorded that Assaf, the sanjaqbey of Al-Lajjun, built a mosque in the village.[9]

In 1596, al-Tira was a village with a population of 286 under the administrative jurisdiction of the nahiya ("subdistrict") of Shafa, part of Sanjak Lajjun of the Ottoman Empire. It paid taxes on a number of agricultural products, including wheat, goats, beehives, and vineyards,[10]

After the heavy conscription imposed by the Ottomans in 1872, there was a decline in the village's prosperity, but it subsequently recovered.[11] By 1945, its 5,240 Muslims and 30 Christians shared two elementary schools, one for boys, the other for girls. Its economy was based on the cultivation of grain, vegetables and fruit, watered with the natural springs of the village. In 1943, al-Tira produced more olives and oil than any other village in the Haifa District. The abundance of almond trees in al-Tira gave rise to the village's nickname, Tirat al-Lawz ("Tira of the almonds").[10]

1948 and later

Tira was lightly attacked by the Haganah on the night of 21–22 April 1948 "to prevent assistance being given to the Haifa Arabs", according to a British report. This caused an evacuation of some women and children of the village, according to Haganah military sources. At dawn on April 25, the Haganah mortared Tira, and in the early hours of 26 April it launched a strong attack on the village, with the apparent aim of conquest, using mortars and machine guns. An infantry company reached the eastern outskirts of the village and conquered positions on the Carmel slopes overlooking the village, but was apparently halted by fire from British units. The village's non-combat population was then evacuated by the British, leaving several hundred armed men to defend it. It fell to Israeli forces in July.[12]

Tira was first settled with Jewish immigrants in February 1949; by April it contained 2,000 settlers.[13]

The Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi described the village remains in 1992: "The village site is partly occupied by an Israeli settlement. Some of the houses, such as one belonging to 'Irsan al-Dhib, remain standing. The cemetery is unkempt and there are several broken gravestones. The remains of two shrines are visible and the school is used by Israeli students, both Arab and Jewish. There are forests and some residential houses in the mountainous part of the surrounding land."[10]

Al-Tira had two mosques, named the Old and the New. The Old mosque was originally a church, and was already out of use by 1932.[14] The New mosque appears to be still standing, but now converted into a synagogue. The age of the New Mosque is not agreed upon; Pringle states that it is the mosque built by Assaf in 1579 C.E. However, Petersen, who inspected it in 1994, reports that this is incorrect, and that an inscription set in an arched recess by the door to what was the entrance to the prayer hall records, in provincial nasskhi script, the construction of the mosque to Ishaq ibn Amir in 687 H. (1288-1289 CE)[14]


  1. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xviii, village #173. Also provides cause of depopulation.
  2. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xx, settlement #8.
  3. ^ a b c d e Khalidi, 1992, p. 198.
  4. ^ "Welcome to al-Tira". Palestine Remembered. Retrieved 2007-12-09. 
  5. ^ Rami Nashashibi (1996). "Destroyed Palestinian Villages: al-Tira". Center for Research and Documentation of Palestinian Society. Retrieved 2007-12-09. 
  6. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 195
  7. ^ Pringle, 1993, p. 370, p. 371
  8. ^ Also cited in Petersen, 2002, p. 306
  9. ^ Heyd, 1960, 110 n.4. Cited in Petersen, 2002, p. 306
  10. ^ a b c Khalidi, 1992, p.196.
  11. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p.285. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.196
  12. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 208-209
  13. ^ Golan, 2001; Spatial Transformation (In Hebrew). Cited in Morris, 2004, p. 395
  14. ^ a b Petersen, 2002, p. 306


  • Conder, Claude Reignier and H.H. Kitchener (1881): The Survey of Western Palestine: memoirs of the topography, orography, hydrography, and archaeology. London:Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund. vol 1
  • Heyd, Uriel (1960): Ottoman Documents on Palestine, 1552-1615, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Cited in Petersen (2002)
  • Morris, Benny (2004): The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited, Cambridge University Press ISBN 0-521-00967-7
  • Mülinen, Egbert Friedrich von, 1908, Beiträge zur Kenntnis des Karmels "Separateabdruck aus der Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palëstina-Vereins Band XXX (1907) Seite 117-207 und Band XXXI (1908) Seite 1-258." ("Et-Tire": p. 142 ff. )
  • Palmer, E. H. (1881): The survey of Western Palestine: Arabic and English name lists collected during the survey by Lieutenants Conder and Kitchener, R. E. Transliterated and explained by E.H. Palmer. ( p.117 )
  • Petersen, Andrew (2002): A Gazetteer of Buildings in Muslim Palestine: Volume I (British Academy Monographs in Archaeology) P. 306.
  • Pringle, Denys (1993). The Churches of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem: A Corpus. Cambridge University Press.   Also cited in Petersen (2002)

External links

  • Welcome to al-Tira
  • SWP map V, IAA
  • , Wikimedia commons
  • al-Tira from the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center
  • Rami Nashashibi (1996): al-Tira, Center for Research and Documentation of Palestinian Society.
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