Khirbat al-Tannur

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Khirbat al-Tannur

خربة التنور
Skyline of Khirbat al-Tannur
Etymology: "The lower Allar"[1]
Khirbat al-Tannur is located in Mandatory Palestine
Khirbat al-Tannur
Khirbat al-Tannur
Coordinates: 31°42′50″N 35°02′50″E / 31.71389°N 35.04722°E / 31.71389; 35.04722Coordinates: 31°42′50″N 35°02′50″E / 31.71389°N 35.04722°E / 31.71389; 35.04722
Palestine grid154/124
Geopolitical entityMandatory Palestine
Date of depopulationOctober 21, 1948
 (19th century)
 • Total400
Current LocalitiesMata[2]
Not to be confused with Khirbet et-Tannur, the Nabatean temple site in Jordan

Khirbat al-Tannur (Arabic: خربة التنور‎), also known as Allar al-Sifla ("Lower Allar"),[3] was a Palestinian Arab hamlet in the Jerusalem Subdistrict, near Allar. It was depopulated during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War on October 21, 1948 under Operation Ha-Har. It was located 18.5 km west of Jerusalem.


Ein Tanur ("Oven Spring") is a spring north east of the village site, enhanced by an ancient tunnel dug deeply to catch the water at the source and increase its flow.[4] The name was in the 19th century Ain Bint Nûh, or the spring of Noah’s daughter.[5][6]

In the 12th century, during the Crusader era, a rural monastery was established consisting of several barrel-vaulted buildings, an enclosure wall and a chapel.[7] British archaeologist Denys Pringle proposed that the complex was a known Cistercian house called "Saluatio" established in 1169.[8]

In the 13th century it was recorded in two documents that income from the village supported the school al-Mu'azzamiyya ("مدارس"), north of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.[9]

Ottoman era[edit]

Khirbat al-Tannur was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517 with all of Palestine, and in 1596 it appeared in the tax registers under the name of 'Allar as-Sufla in the Nahiya of Quds in the Liwa of Quds ("القدس"), with a population of 7 Muslim households. They paid a fixed tax-rate of 33,3 % on wheat, barley, summer crops and olives, a total of 3,150 Akçe. All of the revenue went to a Waqf.[10]

In 1838, Edward Robinson noted that: "we came to a village called Allar es-Sifla (the lower), to distinguish it from a village called Allar el-Foka (the upper), on a higher ground a little further to the left. Here was a ruined church, large and solidly built, and apparently very ancient. A few rods on the left, higher up the valley, is a fine fountain, which waters a tract of gardens and fruit trees along the bottom. Here are also many olive trees; which indeed are very abundant throughout all this region. "[11]

In 1873, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine visited and described the ruins at 'Allar es Sifleh: "Apparently an ancient site with rock- cut tombs. Khurbet Nuh forms part of the site with its two springs and gardens of orange trees. There is a ruined building here, which appears to have been an ancient church. The building has a bearing 107° east along its length, with a window to the east and two to the north. On the south was the door. The measurements outside were 88 feet east and west by 46 feet north and south. The walls are 10 feet thick, and standing in parts 20 feet high. A cornice runs round the interior two brackets remain on the north wall between the windows, which probably once supported the arches of the roof. The windows are very narrow, with round arches above. The masonry is of small stones, rudely squared, but the faces not dressed smooth. The mortar is hard and mixed with charcoal. The core of the walls is of rubble. The interior of the church is cemented. All these details point to the building being of 12th century date.

Among the ruins are vaults cemented inside, with small masonry and pointed arches. One corner of a building had drafted stones, the face rustic, and projecting 2 1/2 inches, the draft 4 inches wide. Near this is an old ruined tank. The ruins are probably to be attributed to Crusading times."[12]

French orientalist and archaeologist, Charles Clermont-Ganneau, who visited the site in 1874 described in great detail the ancient church (El K'nîseh) which he saw in Allar al-Sifla, and which partially stands to this very day.[13]

A visitor in 1875 wrote that it had a population of 400, but soon afterwards it was apparently abandoned until the 20th century.[2]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the late Mandate period it was classified as a hamlet.[2]

Six Arab families from Bayt 'Itab who settled amid the Crusader ruins were involved in a long-standing feud with Allar villagers over water use, land ownership and grazing routes, which only ended in 1948 when both places were depopulated.[6]

1948 and aftermath[edit]

When the site was inspected in 1992, there were ten houses of which six had been destroyed.[2] The village land was amalgamated with that of Allar, and the settlement closest to Khirbat al-Tannur was Mata[2]



  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 283
  2. ^ a b c d e Khalidi, 1992, p. 320
  3. ^ Petersen, 2001, pp. 92-93
  4. ^ Ein Mata, Horbat Hanut and Shevil HaKeisar
  5. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 279
  6. ^ a b The oven that became a spring
  7. ^ Crusader Archaeology: The Material Culture of the Latin East, Adrian J. Boas
  8. ^ Pringle, 1993, pp. 4751
  9. ^ Mahmoud K. Hawari (2007). Ayyubid Jerusalem (1187-1250). BAR International Series 1628. p. 147.
  10. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 112
  11. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 2, p. 340
  12. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, pp. 62-63
  13. ^ Clermont-Ganneau, 1896, ARP vol. 2, pp. 455-459


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