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City of Christian Love

The History and Importance of Nazareth

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Raouf Abujaber

City of Christian Love provides a detailed history of Nazareth from the dawn of the Christian Era until today with special focus on the religious communities found in this sacred city, including both the periods of tension and the periods of profound interreligious partnership and solidarity.

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Chapter Four: Four Hundred Years of Ungracious Occupation: The Ottoman Era, A.D. 1518–1910

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Chapter Four

Four Hundred Years of Ungracious Occupation

The Ottoman Era, A.D. 1518–1910

In the year 1518, Sultan Selim1 conquered Bilad Al-Sham and brought to an end the rule of the Mamluks2 who had ruled the country for more than three hundred years. The Ottoman Turks, being deeply interested in the collection of taxes from people in different parts of the Empire, carried out a census during 1525–1526 that has been called daftar-i ‘atiq, the “old registers.” A more comprehensive census was carried out during 1595–1596 and it acquired the name daftar-i jaded, “the new registers,” which was the subject of a detailed study by two geographers. The book they published3 gives us very important information about Nazareth and the province around it. It reveals that the total number of the inhabitants in Nazareth and the five villages belonging to the Mirliwa4 were indeed small by any standard. The town of Nazareth had 303 households all in all, and these were composed of 1,301 Muslims and 88 Christians. The total amount of different taxes was 62,989 qurush (the local currency; every 100 of which were then equal to a gold pound). The countryside around the town had 3,038 people who were all Muslims with the exception of 30 Christians who lived in the village of Rayna. The other villages were Saffuriya, Kafr Sabt, Bethlehem of ← 31 | 32 → Galilee, and Mashad Yunis. In 1948, Rayna, probably...

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