PLace

al-Burayj

Place
al-Burayj — البُرَيْج
Known also as: Bayarat Burayj
District
Jerusalem
Subdistrict
Jerusalem
Average Elevation
250 m
Distance from Jerusalem
28.5 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1944/45 720 720
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 18856 224 19080
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 9308 224 9532
Built-up 14 14
9322 224 9546 (50%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Total
Cereal 9426 9426
Plantation and Irrigable 77 77
Citrus and Bananas 31 31
9534 9534 (50%)
Number of Houses (1931)
132

The village stood on hilly terrain between two wadis in the north and south. To the west of al-Burayj was a secondary road that linked it to the highway between Bayt Jibrin (in the Hebron sub-disctrict) and the Jerusalem−Jaffa highway; dirt paths linked it to a group of nearby villages. The name al-Burayj, a diminutive of the Arabic word al-burj, is derived from the Greek purgos, which means tower. The village houses were originally scattered across the site in no particular configuration. New construction, however, took place along the roads that led to the village from many directions, so that the village plan began to take on a star-like shape. The houses were built of cement and stone. The village population was predominantly Muslim, with 10 Christians out of an estimated total of 720 in the mid-1940s. They maintained one mosque, called the al-'Umari mosque, perhaps as an allusion to the second Muslim caliph 'Umar ibn al-Khattab. There was also a Greek Orthodox monastery west of the village. Agriculture depended on rainfall and was based on grain, vegetables, and fruit trees, especially olive trees. Wild trees, grass, and herbs also grew on parts of the land. These parts were used as grazing areas, and the trees were a source of firewood. In 1944/45 a total of 31 dunums was devoted to citrus and bananas and 9,426 dunums were allocated to cereals; 77 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. The village had several khirbas around it that contained cisterns, rock-hewn wine presses, tombs, foundations, columns, mosaic floors, and caves.

AI-Burayj was probably captured during the first phase of Operation Ha-Har (see 'Allar, Jerusalem sub-disctrict). The village fell some time between 19 and 24 October 1948, as Israeli forces moved to occupy a number of villages in the southern half of the Jerusalem corridor.

The settlement of Sedot Mikha (142125), established in 1955, is south of the site, on village land.

The site is now part of a large military base called Kanaf Staim (Wing Two). A large area is fenced in, and a watchtower has been built. The site is inaccessible to the public.