Yemin Moshe is a beautiful neighborhood of Jerusalem constructed of quaint stone buildings and built in the 1890’s by Moses Montefiore in response to overcrowding within the walls of the Old City. The first set of houses were known as Mishkenot Shaananim, which were the first Jewish properties to be built outside the Old City. The neighborhood was expanded dramatically, and its landmark, the Montefiore Windmill was built with the intention of being a source of income for the residents. Today, the neighborhoods quaint alleyways are a popular place to stroll and explore.
Mishkenot Shaananim was the first Jewish neighborhood to be built outside the Old City of Jerusalem. Built directly across from Mount Zion, above the Sultan’s Pool, Mishkenot consisted of two long buildings. The upper building was designed to be the commercial and community center – housing a hospital for the poor of the city in light of a cholera epidemic, as well as two synagogues, workshops and a bakery. The lower building contained 28 one-and-a-half room apartments. The neighborhood wasn’t especially popular as it was perceived to be dangerous, however, the impact it has had on future development of Jerusalem and the establishment of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is unmeasurable.
Mishkenot Shaananim has been extensively renovated. Today, the upper building houses the Jerusalem Music Center, whilst the lower building is used to house guests of the Jerusalem Municipality.
Yemin Moshe is an extension of Mishkenot Shaananim also built by Moses Montefiore (and named for him). It contains properties larger than Mishkenot Shaananim but still fairly modest in nature. These beautiful stone buildings were home to 900 people by 1920, and its position directly across from the Old City’s Walls have made it iconic and historically important (it was a frontier during and after Israel’s War of Independence in 1948). Following Israel’s re-capture of Jerusalem in 1967, Yemin Moshe was extensively restored with the properties bought by artisans and private individuals dedicated to maintaining the neighborhood’s unique character.
The Montefiore Windmill is the iconic landmark of Yemin Moshe. The original windmill was constructed by Montefiore with the intention of providing a source of income for residents of the neighborhood. In reality, this never came to fruition due to a lack of wind, however nonetheless this unique structure which is highly visible from around Jerusalem, is somewhat of a landmark.
Visiting Yemin Moshe
The best way to explore Yemin Moshe is to stroll around the narrow cobbled streets – you cannot drive. It is just a short walk from the Old City as well as the main city center, and German Colony. Yemin Moshe is one of the most interesting places to visit in Jerusalem.