1864 Ordinance Survey of Jerusalem

The British had been exploring Jerusalem and the greater Palestine in the then Ottoman territory since the 19th century, producing valuable maps and obtaining various information that aided its future invasion and annexation of Palestine. The Ordinance Survey of Jerusalem was undertaken by Captain Charles W. Wilson with the sanction of the State of War, making the intention of this Survey blatantly obvious. This survey, together with other expeditions and antagonistic actions made over the years by Britain and other western powers (especially France), raised concerns in the Ottoman administration that ultimately turned the Turks to the Central Powers in WWI.

 

1:2500 Plan of Jerusalem, 1864 Ordinance Survery of Jerusalem by Captain Charles W. Wilson
1:2500 Plan of Jerusalem, 1864 Ordinance Survery of Jerusalem by Captain Charles W. Wilson

 

1:10000 Topographical Map of Jerusalem, 1864 Ordinance Survey of Jerusalem by Captain Charles W. Wilson
1:10000 Topographical Map of Jerusalem, 1864 Ordinance Survey of Jerusalem by Captain Charles W. Wilson

 

 

That said, the two maps here provided important information of the state of Jerusalem before British arrival. The first map showed the state of Jerusalem the walled city and its environs. Note the limited development outside the city wall. This suggested Jerusalem as mainly a city contained inside its walls, or in other words, as a walled-city. It also means that urban activities and development had been concentrated inside the walls of the city. This spatial characteristic was to be drastically changed with the arrival of the British and the subsequent plans for a modern Jerusalem, in which the geographical identity of Jerusalem as a city was extended beyond its original walls to cover nearby municipalities that would become the new city of Jerusalem and its suburbs, while the original walled-city would become known as the preserved old city / holy city inside Jerusalem (see Jerusalem as a Modern Construct for further details).

 

The second map is a topographical map of Jerusalem and its region. One can start to juxtapose this map with the plans of McLean, Geddes and Ashbee to understand the planning of Jerusalem’s modern new city in relation to its topography (or the lack of consideration of topography for McLean’s case). This map could also be juxtaposed against surveys of Jews and Arabs neighborhood locations to understand their spatial relationship in the city.

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