250,000 pages in books, maps, and manuscripts—covering Jerusalem’s history since 1528—have been digitised and made available by the King Abdul Aziz Public Library (KAPL) Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
820 records of the Jerusalem Sharia Court, each containing between 150 to 500 pages, have been digitised, forming the database of the Palestinian libraries in the Arab Union Catalog, a nonprofit initiative between a network of Arab libraries and other informational institutions that collects, shares, and catalogs historical records.
The archive, available at the UNRWA Libraries Network, also includes hundreds of photographs of the old city of Jerusalem. Erased, misrepresented, and weaponised, Palestinian history needs the countless efforts of archives and counter-archives by institutions like KAPL. With a city as contested as Jerusalem, whose history has been written and rewritten according to the political ends of the moment, the importance of tangible history, five centuries into the past, can’t be overstated.