Regards from the Ottomans: Turkish Grenade Found in Old City

What was a century-old Turkish hand grenade doing inside Jerusalem’s city wall? A strange discovery was made during Old City refurbishing work.

Contact Editor
Hillel Fendel, | updated: 11:40

Grenade was found here
Grenade was found here
Israel news photo: Israel Antiquities Authori

What was a century-old Turkish hand grenade doing inside Jerusalem’s city wall? 

That's the question being asked by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), after discovering the explosive device while engaging in  conservation work. 

The grenade was discovered during the course of an Old City conservation project underway together with the Jerusalem Development Authority, the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Jerusalem Municipality. The project's goal is to refurbish the walls of the Old City.

On Monday, at a section of the wall near Damascus Gate in the northern wall, a worker was engaged in dismantling parts of a crumbling brick stone that needed to be replaced when he discovered a fist-size chunk of metal inside the wall. In view of its metallic shape and its strange location, police sappers were summoned to the site. Upon examination, they confirmed that this was a grenade dating to the Ottoman period with some 200-300 grams of explosives. The sappers removed the grenade and detonated it in a controlled manner.

Yoram Saad, head of the Implementation Branch of the Israel Antiquities Authority Conservation Department, said, “The stone was partially crushed and someone probably chose it as a place to hide the hand grenade."

As part of the Jerusalem City Walls Project, extensive measures are being taken to conserve and rehabilitate the Old City walls in response to the effects of destruction, neglect and weathering that the walls have incurred over the years.  The conservation activity was preceded by careful preparations and the formulation of a multi-year program for documenting, planning and implementing the conservation and rehabilitation actions.

Just ten days ago, work on Herod's Gate, also known as the Gate of the Flowers, on the eastern side of the northern wall, was completed, and the gate was officially re-dedicated. Work on the gate took four months, and included a thorough cleaning and re-finishing of the walls of the gate and its inside hall, treatment of the decorations at the top of it, removal of dangers stemming from overgrowth of shrubbery, vandalism, and moisture, and removal of the electric wires that surrounded it.