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The Greek Colony

Posted by sitel on July 8, 2018
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The Greek Colony (המושבה היוונית‎, HaMoshava HaYevanit) is a neighborhood in Jerusalem, Israel, bordering the German Colony and Katamon.

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.

Prior to the Greek community settling this area, according to archaeological excavations carried out by the Israel Antiquities in the Greek Colony in July 2007, 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 findings dating to the Roman and Byzantine periods were unearthed, as well as a large stone quarter dating to the Byzantine period.

Centuries later, in the 1900, the neighborhood was founded, by members of the Greek-Orthodox seeking solution to their housing problem in the Christian Quarter of the Old City. This is the oldest Christian sect in Jerusalem and until the first world war was the largest and richest of Christian churches and communities in the city. The neighborhood has evolved specifically in the 20s and 30s. The neighborhood population included Armenian families and during the mandate period, British officials, military officers and their families resided in this neighborhood.

In 1948 the Greek Colony became an Israeli neighborhood, inhabited by new immigrants, entire apartment blocks were hastily built to accommodate large numbers of immigrants. Only In the 21st century, the neighborhood underwent gentrification and is now one of the most expensive areas in Jerusalem.

In 1967 the social and cultural activity in the Greek community center on Yehoshua Ben Nun Street was renewed. It was renovated & revitalized in the early ’80s by the residents who remained and by those who returned. Today, the Greek Colony community center, consisting of five buildings, organizes regular cultural activities that take place in the Greek cultural center, such as teaching the Greek language and Greek dancing.

This neighborhood was the location of many foreign consulates, the The Greek Consulate is still located in the Greek Colony, at the junction of Rachel Imenu and Tel Hai streets. It sits adjacent to the German Colony bordering Emek Refaim Street, with close proximity to Baka and the Old City.  The area can be characterized by large, red-tiled villas, some of which have been converted to boutique apartment buildings with luxury penthouses, and some of the new buildings that did not reflect the same building style were added. Following the influx of various buyers from Israel and abroad that discovered this great neighborhood, the original houses, that were not being preserved, have recently become of more importance, and are being maintained in order to keep the original charm of this pastoral neighborhood. The houses are being renovated in preservation of their architectural original style, many new projects nowadays are also being built in the spirit of the authentic building style.

The Greek Colony, being close to Emek Refaim’s specialty stores, restaurants and cafes, with easy access to transportation, is an historical haven of charming houses and apartments surrounded by longstanding trees. it has become among the top neighborhoods in Jerusalem, and is considered a particularly well-maintained and sought after neighborhood.


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