Ghost Town – Lifta

Lifta was populated since ancient times; Nephtoah is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as a border between the Israelite tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The Romans and Byzantines called it Nephtho, and the Crusaders referred to it as Clepsta.

In the late nineteenth century, Lifta was described as situated on the side of a steep hill, with a spring and rock-cut tombs to the south.In mid-1940, Lifta was predominantly Muslim, with a population of 2,550. The farmers of Lifta marketed their produce in Jerusalem markets and took advantage of the city’s services.

In the 1948 war Arabs fled from villages at the entrance to Jerusalem, among them Lifta. Most of the inhabitants fled, but the village remained largely intact. Some 55 original stone houses are still standing but the village has never been repopulated.

In 2011, plans were announced to demolish the village and build a luxury development consisting of 212 luxury housing units and a hotel. Former residents brought a legal petition to preserve the village as an historic site.

(All photos here are taken with Pentax Spotmatic F)

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