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Bab al-Amud as a Community Space, 1920s

Arab laborers line up by the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem in anticipation of employment, January 1, 1925


Chalil Raad/Three Lions via Getty Images

This photo by Khalil Raad, who is known as “Palestine’s first Arab photographer,” shows Arab workers as they kill time smoking shisha while waiting for employment opportunities at the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, as captured on January 1, 1925.

During a career that spanned six decades (1891–1957), Raad chronicled life in a time of change, as Jerusalem transitioned from Ottoman to British rule at the turn of the century. Raad also captured scenes of daily life in Jerusalem, both before and after the Nakba, featuring the city’s local inhabitants and landscape which counter, as this picture does, the prevailing Zionist narratives that Palestine was a “land without people.”

For more photos by Khalil Raad, see Khalil Raad’s Lens: Scenes from Pre-Nakba Palestine.