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Liftah (Mey Naftoah) – Traditional mountain village

Date of Submission: 05/02/2015
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(v)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Permanent Delegation of Israel to UNESCO
State, Province or Region:
within Jerusalem's municipal boundaries
Coordinates: 16879/13380
Ref.: 6061
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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party


An abandoned Palestinian village, with numerous original dwellings, spring, agricultural terraces and partly preserved landscape. It includes unexcavated archaeological remains of earlier periods.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

The only historic, intact Palestinian village. Due to its abandonment in 1948, as result of historic events, it has never been re-occupied, or demolished, thus preserving in the most authentic way all the elements of a hilly, East Mediterranean village. All other similar villages were whether destroyed or continued to be inhabited thus evolved and changed losing most of their authenticity and integrity. The typology of houses in this village presents a variety of traditional housing with no parallels in their state of conservation, authenticity, integrity and variety.

Criterion (ii): Lifta (Mey Naftoah) represents an important interchange of human values, over a period covering several hundreds of years, within the East Mediterranean region, covering at least Israel, Palestine, Syria and Jordan. The interchange of values covers traditional Arab mountain village dwellings and agriculture, including a village pattern.

Criterion (iii): Lifta (Mey Naftoah), due to its perfect authenticity and state of preservation, as a village, bears unique testimony of the traditional village life, which has practically disappeared, due to modernization and changes in other similar villages.

Criterion (v): Lifta (Mey Naftoah) is certainly an outstanding example of traditional settlement, in this part of the world and in the specific hilly formation. It is an outstanding example of agricultural and housing land use, interacting perfectly with the environment and topography. It has become vulnerable under historic circumstances and due to recent development pressures.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

The site retained full authenticity. Except for damages, due to long neglect and abandonment, the core of the village is as it was almost 70 years ago.
No significant elements of the village' nor of its individual houses were lost or altered. All building materials and techniques are retained – with no later additions. This includes the agricultural built features.

Comparison with other similar properties

The can be compared with other East Mediterranean traditional mountain villages. In Israel and in the Palestinian territories it is certainly the only one which has not been altered nor evolved since 1940's. No new infrastructure, no added construction and no traces of modern life.