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Templers in Israel

April 27, 2020

Nineteenth century Israel (or Palestine as it was called at the time) was part of the Ottoman Empire with a predominantly Moslem population. At that time became home to a Christian protestant sect from Germany that believed in the coming of change and whose aim was to realize the prophecies of the bible. They wanted to fulfill the concept of the Christian Community as described in the New testament, which regarded each person as temple in which dwells the spirit of God, hence their being called Templers. 

All in all the Templers established seven colonies in Israel, and the majority of their houses and buildings still remain intact and for the most part inhabited to this day.


Sharona Tel Aviv

Sharona Tel Aviv


The Templers brought with them knowledge of architecture and introduced European style houses with red tiled roofs to the region. Their colonies were built with wide main streets lined with trees. They established agriculture – growing citrus fruits and vineyards, paved roads, introduced new industries – such as tool making, hotels, a newspaper and even a bank, and in general are considered the founders of many of the basic activities that were necessary for the development of Israel. At their peak, the Templer population numbered 2000.

The first settlement established by the Templers was in Haifa, and it is known to this day as the German Colony. At the foot of the amazing Bahai gardens (which were created to spill out into the wonderful avenue created by the Templers), the beautifully designed buildings serve as charming boutique hotels, restaurants or shops, because of their quality and European essence. 

The houses of Templer settlement Sarona, the second colony they established, and which can be considered the origins of Tel Aviv, served for many years as army headquarters in the city because of their location and quality. In recent years the buildings have been restored and moved in their entirety to recreate the original settlement, which has now become the very trendy and popular Sarona recreational and entertainment center. A visit to this historical modern complex provides a glimpse into their lives. 


Typical Templer House - Sharona Tel Aviv

Typical Templer House – Sharona Tel Aviv


The sect also established a colony in the Refaim valley of Jerusalem, with the same characteristic European style houses and buildings, serving today as one of Jerusalem’s trendy neighborhoods, retaining its original charm and a setting for many cafes, boutiques and hotels.

Other Templer settlements have become picturesque villages and agricultural settlements, such as Bethlehem of the Galilee, which is also renowned for its spices farm, and where some of the original houses and buildings are opened to the public for visits by their modern day inhabitants. 


Bethlehem of the Galilee one of the Templers houses

Bethlehem of the Galilee one of the Templers houses


Unfortunately the Templers themselves are no longer in Israel. Around the time of WWII, due to their German origins and later due to some of their members being affiliated with the Nazi party, they were considered “hostile citizens” and deported, with many settling in Australia.

To our delight, around two years ago, our company had the pleasure of hosting a couple from Australia, who are ancestors of the Templers, on a tour, which of course included visiting their many settlements, as well as other sites. We were interested to learn from them that the Templers hold an annual get together in Israel, thereby retaining their ties to the country.


The Templers structures at Bethlehem of the Galilee

The Templers structures at Bethlehem of the Galilee

We will make sure you see at first hand this wonderful legacy on your next trip to Israel. 


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