The Israeli occupation targeted many archaeological and historical sites and religious sanctities in the Gaza Strip, during its aggression against the Strip that it began immediately after the “Al-Aqsa Flood” operation launched by the Palestinian resistance at dawn on October 7, 2023.
Among the most prominent landmarks that were completely or partially destroyed are the following:
Church of Saint Priverius
It is located in the Al-Zaytoun neighborhood, east of Gaza City. It is considered the third oldest church in the world. It was built at the beginning of the fifth century AD. It was named after Saint Priverius, who spread the Christian religion in Gaza strip.
Saint Priverius died in Gaza, and the church holds his grave, but his body was transported to his birthplace, the city of Thessaloniki in Greece.
The church has an area of 216 square metres, was built with stones 1.8 meters thick, and consists of two main parts. The first is the worshipers’ gallery, which can accommodate approximately 500 worshipers, and the second is the structure designated for performing religious rituals.
The church was built in the Byzantine style, and its walls and domed ceiling raised on marble columns are decorated with pictures and drawings of Christian figures who had an important impact on history, such as Queen Helena, in addition to inscriptions and hymns narrating Saint Porphyrios’ fight against the pagans in Gaza and his spread of the Christian religion in the Gaza Strip on orders from the Byzantine Empire. Its tower is connected to the minaret of the historic Mosque of Kateb Velayat.
Parts of the church have eroded over time and were damaged as a result of historical wars in the region, including the Mongol attack in 1260, and the earthquake that struck the region at the end of the 13th century AD.
It was not possible to restore the church to its initial design during its extensive restoration in 1895 at the end of the Ottoman era, so it took the shape of a ship and the stones used in the restoration were brought from Istanbul.
On October 19, 2023, the church was bombed by Israeli occupation aircraft during the aggression against the Gaza Strip, which led to severe damage to its halls. More than 20 martyrs and many others were wounded in the raid.
It is located in the Al-Zaytoun neighborhood, the heart of the historic city of Gaza. It is considered the second oldest landmark after the Al-Omari Mosque, and it is the only remaining historical bath in the Gaza Strip. It was established in the Ottoman era on an area of 500 square meters, then it was restored and renovated in the Mamluk era, during the reign of King Sanjar bin Abdullah Al-Muaydi, and it was given this name after the Samaritans who worked in it for a period of time.
The Samra Bath is a medical and tourist attraction, as its floor is characterized by its warmth throughout the day, and marble stone was used in its construction, to resist water humidity. The bath is distinguished by the splendor of urban planning and construction, which is embodied in the temperature gradient when moving from one room to another, as it begins with the cold room, then the warm, then the hot.
The bathroom consists of several sections. Its entrance – which is relatively low compared to the buildings surrounding it – begins with a staircase downward that ends at the main hall, which has an octagonal water fountain in the middle, topped with a dome dotted with stained glass openings that allow sunlight to pass through. The hall is connected to corridors that lead to changing rooms. And a warm water bathtub and a steam bath, then a staircase to the top overlooking the domes and woods that are used as fuel to heat the water.
This historical landmark was bombed by Israeli occupation missiles during the aggression on the Gaza Strip in 2023, which led to its almost complete destruction.
It is located north of Gaza City in the Jabalia Governorate. Its construction dates back to 444 AD, and it was given this name because it was built during the era of the Byzantine Empire. Historians say that the main reason for its demolition was that it was exposed to a devastating earthquake.
It was discovered in 1998 when Salah al-Din Street was paved, but it was then filled in with sand to protect it until the capabilities to restore and preserve it arrived. Its restoration began in 2017, and the Ministry of Culture and Antiquities opened the church site as a historical tourist attraction in 2022 after the completion of the restoration work.
The church lived with 24 Byzantine emperors and 14 Muslim caliphs, and is distinguished from the rest of the churches of the Levant by containing 16 texts in ancient Greek writing, and by its location on the ancient trade route.
It has an area of about 800 square metres, and consists of 3 corridors: the main corridor, the middle corridor (for prayer), and the baptismal corridor. Its floor contains mosaic panels containing inscriptions and geometric decorations that tell stories of life in ancient times, but most of them were lost as a result of the wars that took place in the region.
Israeli occupation aircraft targeted the Byzantine Church during the aggression on the Gaza Strip in 2023, which led to severe damage and cracks that threaten its infrastructure.
Al-Saqqa Archaeological House
located in Al-Shuja'iya neighborhood East of Gaza City, built in the 17th century AD in 1661, during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed IV. It was built by Ahmed Al-Saqqa, who was one of the major merchants at the time and whose origins go back to the Arabian Peninsula from Mecca.
Its area is about 700 square metres. It has a main door two meters long, a courtyard without a marble-tiled roof, an addition, and some other rooms. It contains a staircase that is divided into two parts, each of which leads to living rooms decorated with stone arches.
It is distinguished by its arched domes from which hang chandeliers of an ancient antique character. It is distinguished by its marble stones and Roman columns. It was considered a meeting place for Gaza merchants at that time.
Sandstone, Jerusalem stone, and Karkar stone were used in its construction. Its roof contains sand filled with pottery, which makes it cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
In 1948, it was exposed to a shell and was restored. After that, it remained abandoned for a long time until the Palestinian Authority registered it as an archaeological site in the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in 1994.
The house turned into a cultural center after its restoration in 2014, then the occupation destroyed it again on November 9, 2023, during the aggression on the Gaza Strip, in an attempt to destroy and obliterate the Palestinian identity.
Al-Sayyid Hashem Mosque
One of the most prominent historical mosques in the Gaza Strip. It is located in the Daraj neighborhood, the heart of the Old City. It has an area of 2,400 square meters and is far from Great Omari Mosque One kilometer distance.
It was given this name because of the grave of the Prophet’s grandfather, may God bless him and grant him peace, Hashim bin Abd Manaf, in the northwestern side of the mosque. He used to come to Gaza every summer until he died and was buried there, and his name was linked to the name of the city, as Gaza is called Hashim.
The Hashem Mosque was established during the Mamluk era, and was renewed during the Ottoman Empire in 1930 AD. It remained in its Mamluk style. It previously included a large library filled with many valuable books and a school for teaching religious sciences established by the Supreme Islamic Council.
The mosque includes an open, square-shaped central courtyard surrounded by 3 iwans, and a main hall that is semi-square in shape, roofed with intersecting arches, and contains a mihrab facing towards the Qiblah. Its pulpit was renewed in 1850 AD during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Majeed I.
The mosque was built from old stones, and the main hall was restored in 1903 AD, due to cracks and fissures that threatened the mosque with collapse. Large parts of the mosque were demolished after a bomb hit it First World War In 1917 AD, but it was renewed in 1926 AD.
The Ministries of Endowments and Religious Affairs and Antiquities in Palestine The mosque in 2009, and the minaret was supported due to the cracks it sustained.
The mosque survived an attempted destruction during 2014 war On the Gaza Strip, it received a bombing warning that preceded the final ceasefire decision by a few hours, but numerous contacts were made with the Kingdom of Jordan due to its royal Jordanian dynasty’s connection to Bani Hashem, which promised urgent intervention and stopping the Israeli threat.
It was subjected to bombing by Israeli occupation aircraft, which led to its partial destruction, during the aggression against the Gaza Strip in 2023.
Great Omari Mosque
It is considered one of the oldest and most prestigious mosques in the Gaza Strip, located in the heart of Old Gaza in the Al-Daraj neighborhood. Founded during the era Caliph Omar bin Al-KhattabIt is considered the third largest mosque in Palestine. It was a temple in the Roman era and then turned into a church. After the Islamic conquest, it became the largest mosque in the Strip.
It was named Al-Omari after Caliph Omar bin Al-Khattab, and Al-Kabir because it is the largest mosque in the sector, with an area of about 4,100 square metres. It contains a library containing many historical books and manuscripts.
The Al-Omari Mosque was built from Karaki sandstone, and its outer courtyard is decorated with decorations in addition to its circular arches.
Its structure reflects the style of ancient architecture, as it is surrounded by circular arches, with high domes in the middle, and has 5 doors that lead to ancient streets and alleys that emit the history of the civilizations that settled Gaza City.
It is distinguished by a tall minaret with various decorations bearing the Mamluk architectural style. It was built in a square shape in its lower half and an octagonal shape in the upper half, consisting of 4 levels.
The mosque was bombed by Israeli occupation aircraft on December 8, 2023, which led to its almost complete destruction during the aggression against the Gaza Strip. Israel had previously destroyed parts of it in its war on Gaza in 2014.