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For other uses, see Mazraa (disambiguation).
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • Hebrew מַזְרַעָה
 • ISO 259 Mazraˁa
 • Also spelled "El Masar",[1] "el Mezrah"[2] Mazra'ah (official)
Arabic transcription(s)
 • Arabic المزرعة
House in Mazra'a, where Baha'u'llah lived 1877-1879. During 1932-1949 it was the home of General and Mrs. McNeill[3]
House in Mazra'a, where Baha'u'llah lived 1877-1879. During 1932-1949 it was the home of General and Mrs. McNeill[3]
Mazra'a is located in Israel
Coordinates: 32°58′59.16″N 35°5′51.42″E / 32.9831000°N 35.0976167°E / 32.9831000; 35.0976167Coordinates: 32°58′59.16″N 35°5′51.42″E / 32.9831000°N 35.0976167°E / 32.9831000; 35.0976167
District Northern
Founded 1896
 • Type Local council
 • Head of Municipality Qasim Awwad
Population (2008)[4]
 • Total 3,500
Name meaning "The sown land"[5]

Mazra'a (Arabic: المزرعة‎, Hebrew: מַזְרַעָה) is an Arab town and local council in northern Israel, situated between Acre and Nahariyya on the Mediterranean coast.

The local council was founded in 1896 and was incorporated into the Matte Asher Regional Council in 1982, before proclaiming itself an independent local council again in 1996.


The Arabic al-mazra'a (p. mazari'), meaning "the sown land" or "farm", is a relatively common place name used to refer to cultivated lands outside of and dependent upon a primary settlement.[6] In Crusader times, the village was known as le Mezera, according to Victor Guérin, while to Arabs in medieval times, it was known as al-Mazra'ah.[7][8]


Mazra'a is mentioned in the 1283 treaty between the Mamluk Sultan Qalaun and the Latin Kingdom of the Crusaders that controlled some territories in the Levant between 1099 and 1291. At the time of the treaty, Mazra'a was said to be still under Crusaders control.[9] A 50 metre long wall at to the west of the village centre, dating from the period, is thought to be the remnants of a fortified structure, mentioned by travel writers.[8]

Mazra'a was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517 with all of Palestine and in 1596, the tax registers listed Mazra'a as forming part of the nahiya (subdistrict) of Acca (Acre). The population is recorded as 27 households, and the villagers paid taxes on wheat, barley, cotton, "occasional revenues," goats, beehives, and water buffaloes.[10]

In the 1760s, Mazra'a was one of five villages in nahiya ("subdistrict") of Sahil Akka ("Acre coast"), which was under the direct rule of Daher el-Omar, the independent governor of the Galilee, as one of his Viftlik estates. As such, villagers were exempt from paying the usual Ottoman taxes. (Other Viftlik estates were Judayda, Samiriyya, al-Makr, and Julis.) After the death of Daher el-Omar in 1775, these villages were abandoned for a time, becoming known as places of lawlessness. Jezzar Pasha, the new governor of Acre, first returned the villages to their local sheikhs, later dividing the income collected from them between himself and the local official.[11]

In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte described El-Mazara as a village of hundreds of Christians.[12]

French map of the area, in 1799. Mazra'a is named "El Masar".[1]

Guérin, who visited Palestine in the mid-19th century, described Mezra'a as a village with a very small number of inhabitants, sepulchral grottos, cisterns, and a number of houses built of stone. The remains of a small castle fort are dated by him to the Middle Ages, if not earlier. Not far from it lay a number of columns that once ornamented a church. Also close to the village was a khan said to have been built by Jezzar Pasha from which an aqueduct traveled through the valley under high arches.[7]

In 1881, the Survey of Western Palestine described the place as "A stone and conglomerate village, having 200 Moslems, situated on the plain, with olives, pomegranates, mulberries, and arable land; the aqueduct supplies good water."[13]

At the time of the 1931 census, Mazra'a had 78 occupied houses and a population consisting of 307 Muslims, 5 Christians and 8 Bahais.[14]

Mazra'a is one of the only Palestinian Arab coastal towns in the Western Galilee to have remained populated after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.[15] It served as a collection point for villagers expelled from the neighbouring villages of al-Zeeb and al-Bassa, assaulted and depopulated during Operation Ben-Ami beginning on 13 May 1948, two days before the official outbreak of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.[15] This caused the population to increase from 460 in 1946 to 620 in 1951.[16]

The land area of 312 hectares owned by Mazra'a in 1945 was reduced to 30 hectares in 1962, for reasons that included an expropriation of 155 hectares by the Israeli government in 1953–54.[17]

Notable structures[edit]

Vaulted Medieval Building[edit]

The medieval building is located on the east side of the aqueduct, in the old part of the village. The masonry, composed of large (average size 1m x 0.5m) blocks, is consistent with a medieval date. Petersen, who visited the place in 1991 and 1994 and examined it, found two chambers, one long (11.4 x 6.35m) chamber aligned east-west, and one smaller chamber aligned north-south. Rock-cut troughs found in the smaller room indicated that it might have been a stable.[8][18]

Khan al Waqif[edit]

The building is a square enclosure, located about 800 m. north of the village, and it is associated with the construction of the Kabri aqueduct at the beginning of the nineteenth century.[19] On the NE and the NW corners of the courtyard are staircases leading to the flat roof. The south part of the building consists of a vaulted hall, with an arcade of six arches facing the courtyard.[19]

Khan Evron[edit]

This building is located about 1 km north-east of the village, just south of the Kabri aqueduct. The design is very similar to the Khan al Waqif, and it is assumed that it they date to the same age.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Jacotin, 1826. See also Siege of Acre (1799)
  2. ^ Survey of Western Palestine-map, 1870s;
  3. ^ Abassi and Near, 2007, p. 24-54
  4. ^ "TABLE 3 - POPULATION OF LOCALITIES NUMBERING ABOVE 2,000 RESIDENTS AND OTHER RURAL POPULATION" (PDF). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  5. ^ Palmer, 1881, p.52
  6. ^ Pringle, 1998, p. 30.
  7. ^ a b Guérin, 1880, p. 163.
  8. ^ a b c Pringle, 1997, p. 70.
  9. ^ Barag, 1979, p. 205. Cited in Petersen, 2002. p. 216
  10. ^ Hütteroth and Kamal Abdulfattah, 1977, p.194. Cited in Petersen, 2002, p.218
  11. ^ Cohen, 1973, pp. 133-135. Cited in Petersen, 2002, p. 218
  12. ^ Correspondance inédite officielle et confidentielle de Napoléon Bonaparte (Paris, 1819), vol. 4, p290 [1]
  13. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, p.147
  14. ^ E. Mills, ed. (1932). Census of Palestine 1931. Population of Villages, Towns and Administrative Areas. Jerusalem: Government of Palestine. p. 102. 
  15. ^ a b Morris, 2004, p.253
  16. ^ Charles S. Kamen (1987). "After the Catastrophe I: The Arabs in Israel, 1948–51". Middle Eastern Studies 23 (4): 453–495. doi:10.1080/00263208708700721. 
  17. ^ Sabri Jiryis (1976, pages = 5–20,24–26). "The Land Question in Israel". MERIP Reports (47). 
  18. ^ Petersen, 2002, p. 218
  19. ^ a b Petersen, 2002, p.219
  20. ^ Petersen, 2002, p. 219-220.


External links[edit]