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Remains of Mill building
Al-Mirr is located in Mandatory Palestine
Name meaning "The passage".[1]
Subdistrict Jaffa
Coordinates 32°06′43″N 34°54′57″E / 32.11194°N 34.91583°E / 32.11194; 34.91583Coordinates: 32°06′43″N 34°54′57″E / 32.11194°N 34.91583°E / 32.11194; 34.91583
Palestine grid 142/168
Population 170[2][3] (1945)
Area 51[2] dunams
Date of depopulation February or March, 1948[4]
Cause(s) of depopulation Fear of being caught up in the fighting

Al-Mirr, also named Mahmudiyeh ("the property of Mahmud"),[1] was a Palestinian Arab village in the Jaffa Subdistrict, which was depopulated during the 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine on February 1, 1948.


The village was located 16.5 kilometers (10.3 mi) northeast of Jaffa, on the southern bank of the al-'Awja river. A short, secondary track linked it to the railway line running between Ras al-Ayn and Petah Tikva.[5]


A mill and dam built at this site in late Roman/early Byzantine period were repaired in Crusader times and some of the remains of both can still be seen.[6]

Excavations of the mill have recovered several 14th-century coins, which indicate that it was in use in the Mamluk period.[7]

Ottoman era[edit]

The modern village was founded during the reign of the Mahmud II (1808–39), the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and was also known as "Al Mahmudiyya".[5]

In the late 19th century, al-Mirr was described as "a small mud village, with mill close to the river."[8]

British Mandate era[edit]

During the British Mandate for Palestine, the population was recorded as 75 Muslims in the 1922 census,[9] and the village was classified as a hamlet in the Palestine Index Gazetteer.[5] In the 1931 census Mahmudiya had 101 inhabitants, still all Muslims, in 25 houses.[10]

In 1945 the population numbered 170, and worked in agriculture and with transportation. Cultivated lands in the village in 1944-45 included 2 dunums planted with citrus and bananas, and 31 dunums planted with cereals.[5][11] 2 dunams were classified as built-up areas.[12]

1948, and aftermath[edit]

Before the outbreak of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, al-Mirr's inhabitants left on February 3, 1948 out of fear of Jewish attack.[13] According to Benny Morris, some of the inhabitants returned on February 15, but fled for the final time one month later.[13] However, according to Walid Khalidi, citing the New York Times, the villagers apparently returned yet again, as Jewish forces attacked the village in mid-May.[14] The 13 May attack would have occurred around the same time as an attack into the area by Irgun.[5]

The remains of a Turkish bridge lies where the village was.[5]

Andrew Petersen, an archaeologist specializing in Islamic architecture, visited the mill in 1991. He found that it had probably been built in several phases. Presently, it consists of a rectangular building, 60 m. NS x 10 m EW, on two levels.[15] At the lower level are at least 13 parallel water inlets. These inlets are of two different types, (indicating different construction date); a flat slab roof, and pointed vaulted roof. Between the two levels are holes in the floor, presumably this is where the millstones were connected to the turbines.[15]

See also[edit]

Old mill of Al-Mirr, presently in Yarkon-Tel Afek Park


  1. ^ a b Palmer, 1881, p.216
  2. ^ a b Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 52
  3. ^ Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 27
  4. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xviii, village #199. Also gives cause of depopulation
  5. ^ a b c d e f Khalidi, 1992, p.250.
  6. ^ Pringle, 1997, p. 72
  7. ^ Shkolnik, 1994, p32. Cited in Petersen, 2001, p. 222
  8. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, II:252
  9. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Jaffa, p. 20
  10. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 14
  11. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 96
  12. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 146
  13. ^ a b Morris, 2004, p. 129
  14. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 250, citing the New York Times, 13.05.1948 and 13.05.1948. The NYT statement is based on British Army statement, which, according to Khalidi, incorrectly refers to the village of Antipatris
  15. ^ a b Petersen, 2001, p. 222-223


External links[edit]