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Har HaMenuchot

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Har HaMenuchot

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Basic Information

Location 31°47′53.28″N 35°10′39.82″E
Country Israel
City Jerusalem

General Information

Open to visitors yes
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Geographical Coordinates 31.79813,35.17773


Summary

Har HaMenuchot (Hebrew: הר המנוחות‎, Ashkenazi pronunciation, Har HaMenuchos, lit. "Mount of Those who are Resting", also known as Givat Shaul Cemetery) is the largest cemetery in Jerusalem, Israel. The hilltop burial ground lies at the western edge of the city adjacent to the neighborhood of Givat Shaul, with commanding views of Mevaseret Zion to the north, Motza to the west, and Har Nof to the south. Opened in 1951 on 300 dunams (0.30 km2; 0.12 sq mi) of land, it has continually expanded into new sections on the northern and western slopes of the hill. As of 2008, the cemetery encompasses 580 dunams (0.58 km2; 0.22 sq mi) in which over 150,000 people are buried.


History and time period

Until 1948, Jewish burials in Jerusalem were conducted in the centuries-old Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives. In 1948, the Arab siege of Jerusalem cut off access to the Mount of Olives, and this remained the status quo after the 1949 Armistice Agreements. In 1948 several temporary cemeteries opened to handle wartime deaths in Jerusalem, including the Sanhedria cemetery, Sheikh Badr Cemetery, and the Shaare Zedek Cemetery (on the grounds of the old Shaare Zedek Hospital on Jaffa Road). After the establishment of the state, however, these were deemed inadequate for the needs of a growing city.

In late summer 1948, developers identified a 300 dunams (0.30 km2; 0.12 sq mi) hilltop located between Givat Shaul and Motza and overlooking Highway 1. It was outside the boundaries of Jerusalem at that time, yet accessible to the city, and it had soft rock for grave-digging. They calculated that each dunam would accommodate 200 graves and estimated a need for 1,000 graves per year. At the time, the city of Jerusalem had 150,000 Jewish residents with a mortality rate of 1,000 annually; at that rate, the new cemetery was expected to suffice for the next 40 years.

The developers received permission to build the cemetery a month later, but disagreements between the various burial societies delayed the first burial until the fall of 1951. With the opening of the new cemetery, civilian graves were transferred here from the temporary cemeteries at Sheikh Badr[3] and the old Shaare Zedek Hospital.

By 1988 Har HaMenuchot had about 50,000 graves. In the 1990's developers began expanding the cemetery onto the northern and western slopes of the hill. By 2008 the cemetery spanned 580 dunams (0.58 km2; 0.22 sq mi) in which more than 150,000 people are interred.

In November 2012 the Jerusalem municipality approved a plan to shield the view of the cemetery from Highway 1, the main entryway to Jerusalem, by planting cypress trees and erecting a stone wall. The plan would allow for continued expansion of the cemetery to the north and west.


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