World Monuments Watch
Haifa, Israel

1996 and 1998 World Monuments Watch

An anomaly in the urban fabric of Haifa is the German Colony, within which the two buildings of the Gemeindehaus complex are situated. The House of Prayer (Beit Ha Am) and community school were built in 1869 by a group of immigrant German Lutherans – known as Templars. The colony functioned as such until the beginning of World War II when British authorities in Palestine expelled the Templars, who returned to Germany. Subsequent abandonment has made the buildings inviting targets of vandals, who have set fires to the roofs. Consequently, rain water has continued to erode the interior walls, many of which have collapsed. A sizable earthquake in 1996 further weakened the already fragile foundations. Despite the efforts of a neighborhood conservation group, as well as designation by the National Council for Preservation of Sites and Buildings and by the city of Haifa as a site to be preserved, no funds have been secured from the local government for emergency restoration.

Since the Watch

Many buildings in the once-neglected German Colony have been restored following Watch listing in 1996 and 1998. In addition to cafés and restaurants, the district is now home to the city's tourism office and the Haifa City Museum, all housed in refurbished buildings, with interpretive material along the sides of Ben Gurion boulevard. January 2011

Last updated: June 2018.

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