The Greek Colony

The Greek Colony (Hebrew: המושבה היוונית‎, HaMoshava HaYevanit) is a neighborhood in Jerusalem, Israel, bordering the German Colony and Katamon.

 History

The lands of the Greek Colony were purchased by wealthy members of the Greek Orthodox community in the early 20th century. Architect Spyro Houri designed the first twenty homes and a community center before World War I.

The neighborhood was founded in the 1900 by members of the Greek – Orthodox seeking solution to their housing problem in the Christian Quarter of the Old City, where they lived by the Greek Patriarchate compound and around the area, and planned pattern of parallel network of streets perpendicular to it. Greek community were invited to participate in the lottery plots of land, and the families who care for the lottery to fund committed to construction. The neighborhood has evolved specifically in their 20’s and 30’s, when immigrants came to Israel after many Orthodox Greeks were expelled from Turkey. In addition, in the Neighborhood, live Armenian families and families of British officials and military officers.
A small number of Greek families left the colony during the war and after. After 1967 there was renewed social and cultural activity in the Greek club, on Yehoshua Ben-Nun Street, in the center of the neighborhood. The club was renovated & revitalized in the early ’80s by the residents who remained in place, and by those who returned from the Old City. Today the club, under the auspices of the Greek government, activities take place about Greek culture, including Greek language, Greek dancing, etc. Since the retirement of archaeologist Dr. Vasileios Cfiris, he serves as president.

Many original houses were not preserved until recently, and some new buildings that did not reflect the same building style were added. However, over the years, a specail attention has been given to the value of the homes in this area, similar to the adjacent German Colony. As a result, the neighborhood has become amongst the more prestige neighborhoods in Jerusalem, and is considered particularly well maintained neighborhood, close to Emek Refiam opened stores, restaurants and cafes, and entertainment.

Archaeology

In July 2007, archaeological excavations in the Greek Colony prior to the construction of a residential building carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority found remains of a northeast-southwest oriented wall. Based on the findings, it was probably the retaining wall of a farming terrace. Some ceramic finds dating to the Roman and Byzantine periods were unearthed, as well as a large stone quarter dating to the Byzantine period.

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