Israel has reconstructed the Moroccan quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, which was destroyed over 55 years ago, using a newly launched mobile phone application in 3D.
The Moroccan or Mughrabi neighborhood, which used to exist near the Western Wall, was home to approximately 1,000 residents until Israeli troops seized control of East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War.
Israel destroyed the residential area and proceeded to take control of east Jerusalem, an action declared unlawful by the United Nations.
Israeli bulldozers quickly destroyed over 100 structures within a few hours, forcing the inhabitants of the neighborhood to leave. This community was established in 1187 by Saladin, the conqueror of the Crusaders in Jerusalem.
The leader from ancient times created an area specifically for Muslim pilgrims coming from North Africa. Presently, this area has transformed into a square located in front of one of Judaism’s holiest places.
According to French historian Vincent Lemire, the majority of people visiting the Western Wall are unaware of its historical significance.
Lemire collaborated with the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy to create a mobile app that enables individuals to explore every street and pathway.
According to the creators of the application, users can have a fully engaging experience as they explore various locations within the Maghrebi quarter, including streets, mosques, schools, and courtyards.
According to Lemire, who wrote a book about the neighborhood in 2022, 3D technology allows for a larger audience to be reached compared to traditional academic writings.
He stated that the neighborhood’s history is currently not easy to access and expressed the need for it to become more accessible.
During a press conference introducing the app, Ashraf al-Jandoubi al-Mughrabi, a Tunisian resident of the neighborhood, emphasized that they will always remember their connection to this area.
Lemire expressed that the quarter accurately symbolizes the inclusive past of Jerusalem that they aim to endorse. This version contrasts greatly with the present-day Jerusalem, which has transformed into a basic and aggressive battleground between two groups.
He stated that this dichotomy overwhelms all the other varied and conflicting narratives of Jerusalem.
Archaeologists from Israel discovered remnants of the neighborhood in January 2023, but worry arose among experts regarding what would happen to the ruins that were quickly buried after being found.
The Mughrabi quarter’s 3D modeling is a component of a broader initiative known as “Open Jerusalem”. This project has united approximately 60 researchers who have gathered and recently made available an archive of around 40,000 historical documents in 12 different languages, all centered on the history of Jerusalem.