Sunday, July 22, 2018

Strategic Property Problem

After exiting the Temple Mount today, I preceded up Chain Street.

At the corner of the street that winds down to the Kotel Plaza, to my left, I spied this sign and considerable renewal construction work:

This building:

The plan:

Now do you recognize it?

Khan died in Jordan. His burial site is here?

We read:
...the Khalidi Library is housed in the turbah, or burial site, of Amir Husam al-Din Barkah Khan and his two sons. Husam al-Din, who died in 1246, was a military chieftain of Khwarizmian origin whose soldiery operated in Syria and Palestine in the 1230's and 1240's. His daughter was married to the formidable Mamluk sultan Baybars (1260-1277), who relentlessly fought the crusaders; Husam al-Din's two sons, Badr al-Din and Husam al-Din Kara, were both military commanders under Baybars. It was most likely Badr al-Din who built the turbah. Although neither Husam al-Din nor his sons died in Jerusalem, their remains were brought there for burial because of Jerusalem's importance as the third holy city of Islam.
The tomb inscriptions in the courtyard of the turbah and on the facade of the library building are the most reliable sources for dating the site. The courtyard inscriptions place Husam al-Din Barkah Khan's death at AH 644, or AD 1240, documenting an initial stage of construction between 1265 and 1280. Another inscription on the street facade dates restoration work to 1390.

And here:

This turba was originally founded in 644/1246 after the death of Baraka Khan (al-Amir Husam al-Din Barka Khan) as a tomb for him and his sons. In the present building, no less than five different phases of construction are discernible; of these, two are Mamluk and one is Ottoman.

And here:

Barka Khan (d. 1246) was a prominent chief of the disbanded Khwarizm Shah army. His tomb in Jerusalem is bound by Tariq Bab al-Silsila Street to the north and Aqabat Abu Maydan to the west and southwest. While not certain, evidence shows that the tomb was built by his son Badr al-Din Muhammad Bey, who was interned [sic: interred] next to his father and his brother Husam al-Din Barka Khan Bey (d. 1263, Cairo), a year after his death in Damascus in 1280. The tomb, therefore, was built sometime between 1246 and 1280. There is some inconclusive evidence that a mosque was also built to form a funerary complex.

The rectangular plan tomb is centered on the formerly enclosed courtyard with tombstones, which is flanked by a small vaulted chamber at the southeast corner and a large rectangular room to the west. Two shops, entered from the street, occupy the northeast corner.

The tomb incorporates the foundation of an earlier structure on the site, and masonry and arches dating from the Crusader period. Only the fa├žade on Tariq Bab al-Silsila survives from the original Mamluk structure, which was modified in 1390 with the addition of a water trough, five apartments and two shops... 
Inside the courtyard, the graves of Barka Khan and his two sons are marked with three shallow cenotaphs along the western wall, which has a doorway leading into the reading room and a window to its left...

As for it being the Khalidi Family Library, see here.

I have nothing against historical renovations.  

I just hope the building does not evolve into a base from which Jews walking to the Kotel could be harassed or even endangered and that whoever authorized this knew what he was doing.