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Al-Manshiyya, Acre

This article is about the village in the Acre District. For other villages, see Al-Manshiyya (disambiguation).

Ancient tomb of Abu Ataba, now the residential home of a Jewish family.
Arabic المنشيه
Subdistrict Acre

32°56′06.28″N 35°05′25.87″E / 32.9350778°N 35.0905194°E / 32.9350778; 35.0905194Coordinates: 32°56′06.28″N 35°05′25.87″E / 32.9350778°N 35.0905194°E / 32.9350778; 35.0905194{{#coordinates:32|56|06.28|N|35|05|25.87|E|type:city_region:IL |primary |name=

Palestine grid 159/260
Population 810[1] (1945)
Area 14,886[1] dunams
Date of depopulation 14 May 1948[2]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Shomrat, Bustan HaGalil

Al-Manshiyya (Arabic: المنشية‎)[3] was a Palestinian village with a Muslim orphanage and a mosque known as the mosque of Abu 'Atiyya, which is still standing. The village was close to the shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, who was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, which is also still standing.


Inscription above the entrance to the tomb of Abu Ataba
Tomb of Abu Ataba

Five graves were excavated in al-Manshiyya in 1955–56; the earliest dated from the thirteenth century BC.[4]

The people of Al-Manshiyya believed that the village was established in the aftermath of the Crusades, and the original inhabitants were brought to the area from North Africa by the Mamluks to populate the area. However, the village must have disintegrated subsequently, as it is not mentioned in the 1596 census.[4] The local shrine of Abu Atabi has a construction text dating it to 1140 H (1727–28 C.E.).[5] It is probably it Richard Pococke refers to when he passed by in 1738: "On the highest ground of it are the ruins of a very strong square tower, and near it, is a mosque, a tower, and other great buildings; the place is called Abouotidy, from a Sheik who was buried there."[6] In 1760, Mariti called the place Bahattbe: "situated on a small eminence, which contains the ruins of an ancient temple, employed as a place of worship both by the Turks and Christians, but at different periods. Some paces further is a mosque, remarkable on account of its burying-ground, in which was interred a prodigious number of infidels, who perished under the walls of Acre."[7]

A map from 1799 showed the place as an "uninhabited ruin",[8] while Guérin, who visited in 1875, observed that the village is "newly founded".[9] In 1881, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) described the village of Al-Manshiyya as being situated on a plain, surrounded by arable land, with houses built of stone and adobe. It had a population of about 150.[10]

British Mandate era

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities Al Manshiyeh had a population of 371; all Muslims,[11] increasing in the 1931 census to 460, still all Muslims, in a total of 132 houses.[12]

The economy of the village was based on agriculture. In 1944/45 253 dunams was used for citrus and bananas, 10,818 dunams were allotted to cereals, 619 dunams were irrigated or used for orchards,[4][13] while 27 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[14]

1948, and aftermath

The villagers, who were farmers, lived peacefully and had significant interaction with their Jewish neighbors. But the fighting in Acre, and later, the Deir Yassin massacre, frightened them.[15] The village was first drawn into the 1948 Arab–Israeli War on 6 February 1948. On that day a number of armed Jews, using automatic weapons and Sten guns, attacked the village. They were driven back by village defenders.[16]

Manshiyya was captured by on 14 May 1948 during Operation Ben-Ami.[17] One villager recalled that the dawn attack came from the hill overlooking the village. The villagers, "with bullets whizzing over their heads", ran towards the east "because all other sides were surrounded by the Jews". When they returned to remove the dead bodies, they found the village strewn with mines. One former villager recounted that her father returned to Al-Manshiyya about 10 days after the attack and found it had been razed.[18] On the 16 June 1948, David Ben-Gurion mentioned Manshiyya as one of the villages Israel had destroyed.[19]

Two settlements, Shomrat and Bustan HaGalil, were established in 1948 on village land, north of the village site. The site is now part of the city of Acre.[4]

According to the Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, the remaining structures on the village land were in 1992: "The Baha'i shrine, the mosque, the Islamic school for orphans, and a few houses still stand; the rest of the village is gone. The shrine is a handsome, domed structure, the front wall and arched entrance of which are framed by prominent stone pillars. The mosque, a stone structure with a dome and vaulted ceilings, has been turned into a private home for a Jewish family. The former Islamic school for orphans is also inhabited. The cemetery is still visible but is not tended; it contains a tombstone that is inscribed in Turkish and dates to the eighteenth century. The al-Basha water canal, built with stone blocks, still exists, but is not functioning; the same is also true of an aqueduct."[20]

Andrew Petersen, an archaeologist specializing in Islamic architecture, visited Al-Manshiyya in 1994. He found the mosque and shrine of Abu Atabi was still standing, though it has been turned into a residential complex since 1948. The prayer room functioned as a living room. An inscription in two parts was set above the doorway leading to the domed chamber containing the tomb. The date 1140 H (1727–28 C.E.) was still visible in the upper part, while the lower part, written in larger ornamental script might be earlier, possibly dating to Mamluk times. Abu Atabi is said locally to be a Muslim warrior from the time of the Crusades, killed during the siege of Acre.[21]

See also


  1. ^ a b Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 40
  2. ^ Morris, 2004 p. xvii, village #88 Also gives the cause for depopulation
  3. ^ Palmer, 1881, p.52
  4. ^ a b c d Khalidi, 1992, p. 23
  5. ^ Sharon, 1997, pp. 34 -36
  6. ^ Pococke, 1745, vol 2, p. 54; cited in Pringle, 2009, p. 233
  7. ^ Mariti, 1792, p. 332; partially cited in Pringle, 2009, p. 233
  8. ^ Pierre Jacotin, see File:AcreNE1799.jpg. Cited in Karmon, 1960, p. 242, and Petersen, 2001, p. 65.
  9. ^ Guérin, 1880, pp. 1-2; Cited in Petersen, 2001, p. 65
  10. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p.147. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 23
  11. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Acre, p. 36
  12. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 101
  13. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 81
  14. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 131
  15. ^ Esber, 2008, p. 347
  16. ^ Information in the Palestinian daily Filasin, cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 23
  17. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xvii, village #88
  18. ^ Esber, 2008, p. 347, note 120; interview with Maryam Ali Wardi, in Ain al-Hilweh, 2001
  19. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 350
  20. ^ Khalidi, 1992, pp. 23–24
  21. ^ Petersen, 2001, p. 65



External links and references