The Watch

Al-Qasem Palace

Beit Wazan, Palestinian Territory

2004 World Monuments Watch

An outstanding example of “throne village architecture,” the four-story Al-Qasem Palace was built in 1820 as the seat of the Al-Qasem family sheikdom, one of 24 such political entities that ruled the central highlands of Palestine from the eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries. This semi-feudal family produced an urban piece of architecture in a rural context as a mark of its importance and status. Following the collapse of the Ottoman rule in 1916, the sheiks of Al-Qasem Palace fled from Beit Wazan to Nablus. An earthquake in 1927 caused substantial damage to the structure, which was later occupied by the German army during WWII. Although the palace is still owned by the Qasem family, it has been abandoned and is deteriorating quickly. An-Najah University has negotiated a long-term lease with the Al-Qasem family to preserve the house and reuse it as an architectural conservation center; however, funds and technical assistance are needed for this to succeed.

Since the Watch

In 2003 the site was restored by Riwaq, a Palestinian cultural heritage organization, with $288,000 in funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. The site was restored for use by the Urban and Regional Development Center of An-Najah National University. January 2011

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