ARCHAEOLOGY > Wall painting by Ottoman officer found in Haifa

HAIFA - Anadolu Agency

A massive painting created by an Ottoman soldier has been discovered beneath the plaster of the wall of a nuts store in Haifa. Now, support is needed to reveal the entire painting and to protect it

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The 10-meter painting by the Ottoman officer has not been entirely revealed and $10,000 is needed to continue works, according to the Haifa History Club’s Eli Liran.

The 10-meter painting by the Ottoman officer has not been entirely revealed and $10,000 is needed to continue works, according to the Haifa History Club’s Eli Liran.

Locals in Haifa have discovered a large painting dating back from World War I in a nuts store in the coastal Israeli city.

The 10-meter-wide and three-meter-high painting, which covers the entire wall, depicts an air attack by the British army against the Ottoman army during World War I. 

The painting was revealed by a university student who had come to the store for shopping. Seeing a miniature soldier’s head beneath the peeled-off plaster on the wall, the student called a friend who is an expert on wall paintings. The expert went to the store the following day to examine the wall and said a bigger painting could be concealed beneath the plaster. 

The university student, the expert and Haifa History Club member Eli Liran obtained permission from the store’s owner to begin peeling off the plaster on the wall. 

After a long and detailed work, the painting by an Ottoman soldier was finally revealed.

Dozens of miniatures depicting Turkish warplanes bombing British planes or dead and wounded Turkish soldiers being carried on stretchers were found. Below the painting was the signature of the painter, “Edip Kemal,” and the words “Hotel Zahara Syria.” 

‘Building is the same’

Speaking about the issue, Liran said: “We have examined a Hebrew newspaper from this era and found out that Edip Kemal was an Ottoman officer of Transcaucasian origin. He went to Damascus with the Ottoman army, which lost the war and withdrew to Damascus, but he returned to Jerusalem in 1933 and then to Haifa. He operated this nuts store as a boxing club. We couldn’t really understand why he used the expression ‘Hotel Zahara Syria.’ But then we realized that the building was used as a hotel in this era and it was a branch of the Hotel Zahara chain. We saw that the pictures of the hotel in Damascus and this building were exactly the same.” 

Liran said they needed $10,000 to reveal the whole painting. “The painting has not been entirely revealed yet. We can only see two-thirds of the painting. When the work is done, the painting should be removed from the wall and moved to another place. I hope that Turks will support us because it belongs to them. The Haifa Municipality showed no concern for it. Maybe the Turkish General Staff can inform us about the painter, Edip Kemal. They may confirm to us whether he worked here or not.” 

Haifa was a port city where the Ottoman army set up a base for sea transportation until the end of World War I. After the war, the region was mentioned as a “Turkish region” by locals. Later on, the barracks of the Turkish army and other structures were demolished systematically to remove the traces of Turks in the region.


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12/24/2013 9:03:18 PM

No, grandpa served under Cemal Pasha. He was posted in Jerusalem and then the terrible retreat all the way to our current borders. He was the last officer to escape the British pincer in Damascus, rode his horse for days with official sensitive Ottoman documents and last cash. Witnessed his fellow Arab officers get rid of their Ottoman uniforms. Had to conceal his uniform since British had offered gold for Ottoman officer heads. Not all Arabs were bought, some helped him.

Wewomen kennedy

12/24/2013 6:21:47 PM

It would be nice to see the painting more clearly, to enlarge it.

cezer "çapulcu" skonore

12/24/2013 4:20:10 PM

Murat: My grandpa served in Yemen for five years. My father was pretty much sure that he had siblings in Yemen. Maybe you have your family members in Palestine.

Turk Uzan

12/24/2013 4:17:51 PM

P.s. It would be nice if HDN could try to contact the relevant gov institutions for a response and do a follow up story, I am extremely interested in any further information on this article. Again, I sincerely hope that the government takes action!

Turk Uzan

12/24/2013 4:15:02 PM

This should definitely be supported and the students should be helped out by the government with financial aid if needed professionals should be send and much thanks and gratitude to the student. If he hadn't noticed this historical treasure would have been lost. Seriously, give him a student grant/pay for his education as a thanks and give any money he needs remove the plaster, secure the painting etc. 10 000$ is nothing compared to what we spend on other projects, I REALLY hope the TR gov help


12/24/2013 6:10:09 AM

Grandpa was there.
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