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Dayr Nakhkhas

Dayr Nakhkhas
Arabic دير النخّاس
Name meaning "monastery of the cattle drover"[1]
Also spelled Deir Nakhkhas, Deir Nakh-khas, Deir Nakhas
Subdistrict Hebron

31°36′56.45″N 34°55′18.20″E / 31.6156806°N 34.9217222°E / 31.6156806; 34.9217222Coordinates: 31°36′56.45″N 34°55′18.20″E / 31.6156806°N 34.9217222°E / 31.6156806; 34.9217222{{#coordinates:31|36|56.45|N|34|55|18.20|E|type:city_region:IL |primary |name=

Palestine grid 142/113
Population 600[2] (1945)
Area 14,476[2] dunams
Date of depopulation October 29, 1948[3]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces

Dayr Nakhkhas (Arabic: دير النخّاس‎, Deir Nakh-khâs) was a Palestinian Arab village located 20 km northwest of Hebron, overlooking Wadi Bayt Jibrin to the north.[4]


Dayr Nakkhas was situated on the road to Hebron about two miles east of Bayt Jibrin.[5] Perched on a hill, an open corn valley lay below the village.[6] Located in an area rich in archaeological sites, in the land area that belonged to the village, there were some 15 sites, including the village itself (which was built on an earlier ancient site).[4]


In a 1596 census for the Ottoman Empire, it is recorded that Dayr Nakhkhas was part of nahiya (subdistrict) of Halil [i.e. al-Khalil, or Hebron], under the liwa' (district) of Jerusalem, with a population of 72. The inhabitants paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, barley, olives, as well as on goats and beehives.[7]

In The Survey of Western Palestine the name of the village is transcribed, "Deir Nakhkhâs", and translated as, "the monastery of the cattle drover.[1]

In 1883, it is described as; "A very small village perched on a high, steep hill, looking down on the valley to the north.[4][8] "This is possibly Ir-Nahash (i Chronicles iv. 12)."[8] It is also said to contain, "A ruined birkeh and a cave with 250 niches."[9]

The village was rectangular in layout, with houses built of stone, expanding along and towards the road linking it to Hebron.[4] The villagers were Muslim, and the children attended schools in the neighbouring villages.[4]

By 1945, the population was recorded at 600.[2][4] In the 1944/45 growing season, a total of 4,887 dunums of village land was planted in cereals; 362 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards.[4][10]

1948, and aftermath

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Dayr Nakhkhas was defended by the Egyptian Army. The village was depopulated as a result of a military assault by Israeli forces on October 29, 1948.[3]

There are no Israeli settlements on village land. Nehusha is about 3 km due west on the land of Umm Burj.[4]

The Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi described the village land in 1992: "Nothing remains of the village except a few deserted houses and the rubble of others. One deserted house is made of concrete and has rectangular windows and a flat roof. It is marked with Arabis graffiti and stands in the midst of tall wild grasses and weeds. There is a fenced-in cave. The surrounding land is cultivated by Israeli farmers."[4]


  1. ^ a b Palmer, 1881, p. 367
  2. ^ a b c Hadawi, 1970, p. 50. Also gives land area in dunams.
  3. ^ a b Morris, 2004 p. xix, village #325. Also gives cause of depopulation.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Khalidi, 1992, p. 217.
  5. ^ Alexander and Kitto, 1864, p. 407.
  6. ^ Conder, 2002,p. 149.
  7. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 123. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 217
  8. ^ a b Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 258
  9. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 275
  10. ^ Hadawi, 1970, p.93



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