Akir, Akkur
Palestinian house in Aqir, post 1948
Palestinian house in Aqir, post 1948
Etymology: Barren[1]
Historical map series for the area of Aqir (1870s).jpg 1870s map
Historical map series for the area of Aqir (1940s).jpg 1940s map
Historical map series for the area of Aqir (modern).jpg modern map
Historical map series for the area of Aqir (1940s with modern overlay).jpg 1940s with modern overlay map
A series of historical maps of the area around Aqir (click the buttons)
Aqir is located in Mandatory Palestine
Location within Mandatory Palestine
Coordinates: 31°51′34″N 34°49′15″E / 31.85944°N 34.82083°E / 31.85944; 34.82083Coordinates: 31°51′34″N 34°49′15″E / 31.85944°N 34.82083°E / 31.85944; 34.82083
Palestine grid133/140
Geopolitical entityMandatory Palestine
Date of depopulation6 (??) May 1948[4]
 • Total11,322 dunams (11.322 km2 or 4.371 sq mi)
 • Total2,480[2][3]
Cause(s) of depopulationMilitary assault by Yishuv forces
Current LocalitiesKiryat Ekron,[5] Mazkeret Batya[5] Ganei Yohanan[5]

Aqir, also spelt Akir and Akkur, was a Palestinian Arab village in the Ramle Subdistrict, located 9 km southwest of Ramla and 1 km north of Wadi al-Nasufiyya[6] (today called Nahal Ekron). It was depopulated and demolished and replaced by Kiryat Ekron.


Until the early 20th century, Aqir was thought to lie at the site of the ancient Philistine city of Ekron, that has now been identified as Tel Mikne, 9 km to the south.[7] The error seems rooted in antiquity; The Romans referred to the village as Accaron.[6]

Archeological excavations indicate that a pottery workshop operated there during the Roman era, and a glass workshop was there during the Byzantine era. Buildings from the Abbasid era have also been excavated.[8]

In the 10th century, Al-Muqaddasi writes of Aqir (Ekron) as "A large village with a mosque. Its inhabitants are much given to good works. The bread here is not to be surpassed for quality. The village lies on the high road from Ar-Ramlah to Makka."[9][10] Yakut called it Al Akir, and said it belonged to Ar Ramlah.[11]

The village mosque had a construction text, made in naskhi script, and dating it to 1296–7.[12]

Ottoman era[]

In 1596, Aqir (Amir) appeared in Ottoman tax registers as being in the Nahiya of Ramla of the Liwa of Gaza. It had a population of 31 Muslim households and paid taxes on wheat, barley, and other produce.[13]

The mihrab in the mosque had an inscription above it dating it to 1701-1702 CE.[14]

The scholar Edward Robinson passed by the village in 1838, and described it as being surrounded by "well-tilled gardens and fields of the richest soil". The village itself was described as being of "considerable size", built of bricks or adobe.[15] It was further noted that it was a Muslim village, located in the Ramleh region.[16]

In 1863 Victor Guérin noted Aqir as a large village, with 800 inhabitants.[17] An Ottoman village list from about 1870 counted 155 houses and a population of 512, though the population count included men only.[18][19]

In 1882, the PEF's Survey of Western Palestine described it as "an adobe village on low rising ground, with cactus hedges surrounding its gardens, and a well to the north."[20]

British Mandate era[]

Aqir 1920

At the time of the 1922 census of Palestine, Aqir had a population of 1155 inhabitants, all Muslims.[21] This had increased to 1689 Muslims and 2 Christians by the 1931 census.[22]

Between 1941 and 1948, the RAF Aqir airfield was located nearby. In 1945, the village had a population of 2,480 Muslims[3] with two elementary schools: one for boys, founded in 1921 which had an enrollment of 391 boys in 1945 and a second for girls, which had an enrollment of 46 girls in 1945. There were two mosques in the village.[5]

In the 1945 statistics, the village had 1,300 dunums of land used for citrus and banana cultivation, 8,968 dunums were used for cereals, 914 dunums irrigated or used for orchards,[5][23] while 46 dunams were classified as built-up public areas.[24]

Aqir 1945 1:250,000
Aqir 1948 1:20,000

1948 and afterward[]

The village was depopulated during the 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine on 6 May 1948 during Operation Barak by the Givati Brigade. The remaining village houses were taken over by Kiryat Ekron soon after.[25]

According to the Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, the village's remaining structures on the village land were, in 1992:

A number of small houses remain, several of which are occupied by Jewish families. One is a cement house with a gabled roof and rectangular doors and windows, another is similar in its features, but its roof is flat. Cypresses, cycamores and cactuses grow on the site. The surrounding lands are cultivated by Israelis.[5]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 265
  2. ^ a b Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 66 Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 29
  4. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xix, village #252. Also gives cause of depopulation.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Khalidi, 1992, p. 360
  6. ^ a b Khalidi, 1990, p. 359
  7. ^ Seymour Gitin and Trude Dothan (1987). "The Rise and Fall of Ekron of the Philistines: Recent Excavations at an Urban Border Site". The Biblical Archaeologist. 50 (4): 197–222. doi:10.2307/3210048. JSTOR 3210048. S2CID 165410578.
  8. ^ Marmelstein, 2016, ‘Aqir
  9. ^ Al-Mukaddasi, translated by Le Strange, 1884, p.60
  10. ^ Al-Mukaddasi, translated by le Strange, 1890, p.389
  11. ^ Yakut, iii. 697, translated by le Strange, 1890, p.390
  12. ^ Sharon, 1997, pp. 107-109
  13. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 153
  14. ^ The inscription was noted in 1950 by Mayer, but has since "disappeared" according to Sharon, 1997, p. 109
  15. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, pp. 21-25. Cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 360.
  16. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, Appendix 2, p. 120
  17. ^ Guérin, 1869, pp. 36-44
  18. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 143
  19. ^ Hartmann, 1883, p. 140
  20. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 408. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 521
  21. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, p. 21
  22. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 19
  23. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 114
  24. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 164
  25. ^ אודות קרית עקרון [About Kiryat Ekron] (in Hebrew). Kiryat Ekron local council. Retrieved 2010-06-29.


External links[]