Photographer Noam Chen writes in The Times of Israel about his personal project to expose the hidden treasures of Jerusalem. After years of photographing this biblical city, Chen’s uncovered many places just out of sight to the general public – and only accessible if you know where to look:
I recently teamed up with local tour guide Jacob Bildner, an expert in tours of the city, and together we set out on a special mission to uncover the hidden world of Jerusalem. Jacob was instrumental in helping me discover some of the city’s most fascinating secrets, from sites that are not accessible to the public to places that are literally hidden from sight. The rapport he has built with the communities connected to each site was invaluable in securing private access to many of those that we visited…
The Kishle was established in 1834 to serve as a military compound. During the British Mandate in the Land of Israel, it was used as a police station and prison where Jewish underground members were incarcerated. Some prisoners left their mark on the walls, including the emblem of the Irgun (The National Military Organization in the Land of Israel), which can be seen close to the entrance.
Archaeologists excavating the site have unearthed findings from almost every period in Jerusalem’s history, from the fortifications of King Hezekiah during the First Temple period to the remains of Herod’s Palace, which stretched all the way to Mount Zion.
The Kishle was opened to the public in November 2015 and is now a part of the Tower of David Museum. It is accessible only with organized tours.