|• Arabic||رأس كركر|
|• Also spelled||Er-Ras (unofficial)|
Ras Karkar castle
|Governorate||Ramallah & al-Bireh|
|Name meaning||The Hill-top|
Ras Karkar (Arabic: رأس كركر) is a Palestinian village in the Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate, located 11 kilometers (6.8 mi) northwest of Ramallah in the northern West Bank. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), the town had a population of 1,663 inhabitants in 2007.
The village, also known as Ras Ibn Samhan, is topped with a castle on a high, rocky and sharply sloping mountain surrounded by cactus trees. One of the many throne villages (a central village dominated by a semi-feudal family which controlled tens of villages around it) in Palestine, the castle of the Samhan family, erected in 18th or 19th century, is the subject of a preservation effort, and provides proof of the great power and wealth held by its owners at the time.
Ras Karkar was ruled by Sheikh Ismail Ibn Samhan who was respected and appreciated by his clan for the many contributions and support that he provided. Sheikh Ismail was killed by the Abu Ghosh family which controlled another throne village near Ras Karkar, and the castle was handed over to his nephew Hussein.
In 1882 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) described Ras Kerker as "a small village in a lofty position, with a spring below it on the north. In the middle of the village is a fortress built about 50 year since. The place was the seat of the great native family of Beni Simhan."
In 1896 the population of Er-Ras was estimated to be about 210 persons.
British Mandate era
In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Ras Kerker had a population of 209 Muslims, increasing in the 1931 census to 291 Muslims, in a total of 75 houses.
In the 1945 statistics, the population was 340 Muslims, while the total land area was 5,883 dunams, according to an official land and population survey. Of this, 3,366 were allocated for plantations and irrigable land, 1,237 for cereals, while 12 dunams were classified as built-up areas.
In 1961, the population of Ras Karkar was 478.
The population of Ras Karker in the 1967 census conducted by the Israeli authorities was 399, 19 of whom originated from the Israeli territory.
After the 1995 accords, 18.6% of Ras Karkar's land was classified as Area B, while the remaining 81.4% is Area C. Israel has confiscated land from Ras Karkar for the establishment of the Israeli outpost "Zayt Ra'nan", and for the construction of roads leading to the Israeli settlement of Talmon.
The majestic castle is surrounded with historic buildings, overlooking to the west the mountains leading to the Mediterranean Sea and to the south, the city of Jerusalem. The village fields below are planted with olive trees.
Entering the now abandoned castle from the northern gate leads to a large courtyard surrounded by a row of rooms. Al-Iliyeh, which is the highest room in the three-floor castle, was used for administrative purposes and as the Sheikh's private refuge. Narrow hallways and oil storage containers, as well as decorations and poems carved in the castle's walls and stones are among the things one can see there.
- Palmer, 1881, p. 240
- 2007 PCBS Census. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p.114.
- Ras Karkar Village Profile, ARIJ, p. 4
- Finkelstein et al, 1997, p. 221
- Marc-André Haldimann, Jean-Baptiste Humbert, Marielle Martiniani-Reber, Moain Sadeq, Musée d'art et d'histoire Genève, Hamdan Taha (2007). Gaza: à la croisée des civilisations: contexte archéologique et historique. CHAMAN Edition. p. 16. ISBN 978-2-9700435-5-3.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
- Grossmann 1986:358, cited in Finkelstein et al, 1997, p. 222
- Macalister and Masterman, 1905, p. 354
- Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol. 2, p. 133
- Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol. 3, pp.30, 58, 62
- Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, Appendix 2, p. 124
- Socin, 1879, p. 159 It was also noted that it was located in the Beni Harith district
- Hartmann, 1883, p. 126, also noted 16 houses
- Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, pp. 294-295
- Schick, 1896, pp. 122, 124
- Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Ramallah, p. 17
- Mills, 1932, p. 50.
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 26
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 65
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 112
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 162
- Government of Jordan, Department of Statistics, 1964, p. 24
- Perlmann, Joel (November 2011 – February 2012). "The 1967 Census of the West Bank and Gaza Strip: A Digitized Version" (PDF). Levy Economics Institute. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
- Ras Karkar Village Profile, ARIJ, pp. 15-16
- Barron, J.B., ed. (1923). Palestine: Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922. Government of Palestine.
- Conder, C.R.; Kitchener, H.H. (1882). The Survey of Western Palestine: Memoirs of the Topography, Orography, Hydrography, and Archaeology. 2. London: Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
- Finkelstein, I.; Lederman, Zvi, eds. (1997). Highlands of many cultures. Tel Aviv: Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University Publications Section. ISBN 965-440-007-3.
- Government of Jordan, Department of Statistics (1964). First Census of Population and Housing. Volume I: Final Tables; General Characteristics of the Population (PDF).
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics (1945). Village Statistics, April, 1945.
- Hadawi, S. (1970). Village Statistics of 1945: A Classification of Land and Area ownership in Palestine. Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center.
- Hartmann, M. (1883). "Die Ortschaftenliste des Liwa Jerusalem in dem türkischen Staatskalender für Syrien auf das Jahr 1288 der Flucht (1871)". Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins. 6: 102–149.
- Macalister, R.A.S.; Masterman, E.W.G. (1905). "The modern inhabitants of Palestine". Quarterly statement - Palestine Exploration Fund. 37: 343–356.
- Mills, E., ed. (1932). Census of Palestine 1931. Population of Villages, Towns and Administrative Areas. Jerusalem: Government of Palestine.
- Palmer, E.H. (1881). The Survey of Western Palestine: Arabic and English Name Lists Collected During the Survey by Lieutenants Conder and Kitchener, R. E. Transliterated and Explained by E.H. Palmer. Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
- Robinson, E.; Smith, E. (1841). Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea: A Journal of Travels in the year 1838. 2. Boston: Crocker & Brewster.
- Robinson, E.; Smith, E. (1841). Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea: A Journal of Travels in the year 1838. 3. Boston: Crocker & Brewster.
- Schick, C. (1896). "Zur Einwohnerzahl des Bezirks Jerusalem". Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins. 19: 120–127.
- Socin, A. (1879). "Alphabetisches Verzeichniss von Ortschaften des Paschalik Jerusalem". Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins. 2: 135–163.
- Welcome To Ras Karkar
- Survey of Western Palestine, Map 14: IAA, Wikimedia commons
- Ras Karkar Village (Fact Sheet), Applied Research Institute–Jerusalem (ARIJ)
- Ras Karkar Village Profile, ARIJ
- Ras Karkar aerial photo, ARIJ
- Locality Development Priorities and Needs in Ras Karkar Village, ARIJ
- Throne villages, with Ibn Sahman Castle, Ras Karkar, RIWAQ