Cave of the Ramban

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Cave of the Ramban
Cave of the Ramban is located in Jerusalem
Cave of the Ramban
Shown within Jerusalem
Location 'Uthman Ibn 'Afan Street
Wadi al-Joz, East Jerusalem
Coordinates 31°47′21″N 35°14′02″E / 31.789233°N 35.233817°E / 31.789233; 35.233817
Type burial chamber
Length 19 m
Width 20 m
Height 3.5 m
Site notes
Ownership Jerusalem Islamic Waqf
Public access Limited

The Cave of the Ramban is located in the southern cliff of the Upper Kidron Valley, on a slope descending into the Arab neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz, Jerusalem.[1] It is believed by some to be the traditional burial place of Nahmanides (also known as Ramban), a foremost rabbinical scholar during the medieval era.

Burial chamber[edit]

The large rock-hewn cave, measuring 19 by 20 m, reaches a height of 3.5 meters and is supported by two columns. The area once functioned as an ancient underground stone quarry. Above the façade, in the upper portion of the cliff, are the remains of a square rock-cut chamber which may have been used for burials.[2]

Significance[edit]

The cave is believed by some Jews to be the site where Ramban prayed in the 13th-century and the place of his interment. It is thus claimed to have been a holy site for Jews for many centuries.[3][4]

In 2000, the cave became a subject of controversy between a group of Jewish inhabitants in Wadi al-Joz and the Muslim owner of the site, who had fenced off the cave in protest to Jewish settlement in the area.[3] The National Authority for Holy Sites convinced the Ministry of Religious Affairs of its religious significance and the cave was declared a holy site and handed over to the ministry’s control.[5] The Muslim wakf subsequently petitioned the High Court of Justice which resulted in a temporary injunction freezing the site's designation. In 2003, a government committee was appointed to examine the issue.[3] While acknowledging the site's connection to the Jewish faith, it was decided that the court could rule on the matter. This however was thwarted when the holy status was reinstated by a government minister.[5] The wakf persisted in its battle for control of the site in the courts and in 2008 it was decided that the cave be placed under the wakfs authority and Jews were banned from entering.[5]

Other traditions hold that Ramban was buried in Silwan, in Hebron or in Acre.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Amos Kloner; Agudah le-seḳer arkheʼologi shel Yiśraʼel (2001). Survey of Jerusalem: the northeastern sector. Rashut ha-ʻatiḳot, ha-Agudah le-seḳer arkheʼologi shel Yiśraʼel. p. 314. Retrieved 3 November 2010. 
  2. ^ Amos Kloner; Boaz Zissu (2007). The Necropolis of Jerusalem in the Second Temple period. Peeters. p. 238. ISBN 978-90-429-1792-7. Retrieved 3 November 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c David E. Guinn (2006). Protecting Jerusalem's holy sites: a strategy for negotiating a sacred peace. Cambridge University Press. pp. 14–15. ISBN 978-0-521-86662-0. Retrieved 3 November 2010. 
  4. ^ Zev Vilnay (10 March 2003). Legends of Palestine. Kessinger Publishing. pp. 100–102. ISBN 978-0-7661-4128-5. Retrieved 6 November 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c Court: Ramban’s Cave Belongs to the Muslim Waqf, theyeshivaworld.com, December 21, 2008.
  6. ^ Moshe Maʻoz; Sari Nusseibeh (2000). Jerusalem: points of friction, and beyond. BRILL. p. 118. ISBN 978-90-411-8843-4. Retrieved 3 November 2010. 

Sources[edit]

  • Nadavi Shragai, Ramban Cave Made Place of Worship, Haaretz. (May 23, 2000)