Barqa, Gaza

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For other with similar names, see Barka.
Barqa is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic برقة
Name meaning sandy ground covered with flint[1]
Also spelled Burqa
Subdistrict Gaza
Coordinates 31°46′38.63″N 34°41′58.67″E / 31.7773972°N 34.6996306°E / 31.7773972; 34.6996306Coordinates: 31°46′38.63″N 34°41′58.67″E / 31.7773972°N 34.6996306°E / 31.7773972; 34.6996306
Palestine grid 121/131
Population 890[2] (1945)
Area 5,206[2] dunams
5.2 km²
Date of depopulation May 13, 1948[3]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities None

Barqa (Arabic: برقة‎) was a Palestinian Arab village located 37 km north of Gaza near the modern-day Israeli city of Ashdod. It was referred to as Barka by the Greeks and Bareca by the Romans during their rule over the ancient Philistine city. In 1945, the village had a population of 890 and total land area of 5,206 dunums.

It was captured by Israel's Giv'ati Brigade on May 13, 1948 during Operation Barak, an Israeli offensive in southern Palestine just prior to the outbreak of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.


It is likely that Barqa was built on the site of the Greek town of Barka, which the Romans called Baraca. The villagers were Muslim, and around the village mosque were a number of tombs that they referred to as the tombs of Shaykh Muhammad, Shaykh Zarruq, and the prophet (al-nabi) Barq.[4]

A burial chamber with four arcosolia have been uncovered at Barqa. It contained three pottery lamps, dated to the late Roman or Byzantine era, and two Byzantine glass vessels, dated to fifth century CE.[5] The village was a major centre in the Byzantine era. In 511 CE a richly decorated basilica church was built, with a mosaic floor. It was in use until the seventh century.[6]

Ottoman era[edit]

In 1863 Victor Guérin visited and noted, lying beside a well, several trunks of greyish marble. A kubbeh was here, dedicated to Neby Barak, and surrounded by tombs.[7] In 1882 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Barqa as an "ordinary" village, with the tomb of Neby Burk.[8]

British Mandate of Palestine[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Burqa had a population of 448, all Muslims,[9] which had increased in the 1931 census to 600, 593 Muslim, 6 Jews and 1 Christian, in a total of in 123 houses.[10]

In 1945 the population of Barqa consisted of 890 Arabs and the land area was 5,206 dunams, according to an official land and population survey.[2] Of this, 667 dunams were designated for citrus and bananas, 47 for plantations and irrigable land, 4,031 for cereals,[11] while 26 dunams were built-up areas.[12]

1948, and after[edit]

Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, the village remaining structures on the village land are:

"Two houses remain standing on the site. One serves as a warehouse; it is made of concrete and has a covered portico on two sides. The other, a stone house with rectangular doors and windows and a flat roof, stands deserted in the midst of wild vegetation. The site is overgrown with weeds interspersed with cactuses and eucalyptus and palm trees. Israelis cultivate the land around the site"[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 267
  2. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 45
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xix, village #280.Also gives cause of depopulation
  4. ^ Khalidi, 1992, pp. 82-83
  5. ^ Volynsky, 2010, Barqa (North)
  6. ^ Sion, Rapuano, Habas and Di Segni, 2010, Barqa
  7. ^ Guérin, 1869, pp. 68-70; as given by Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 420
  8. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 409. Cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 84
  9. ^ Barron, 1923, Table V, Sub-district of Gaza, p. 9
  10. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 2
  11. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 86
  12. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 136
  13. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 83


External links[edit]