MembersThe Missionary Who Built Jerusalem’s Ultra-Orthodox Neighborhood

For 50 years, Christian missionary Konrad Schick worked selflessly for the good of Jerusalem and its citizens.

By David Lazarus |
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walks down a street in Mea Shearim, a religious neighborhood in Jerusalem. Photo: Uri Lenz/FLASH90

When Konrad Schick arrived in Jerusalem he never could have imagined that he would design the neighborhood that would become home to Jerusalem’s most exclusive and sequestered ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

Born in southern Germany, Schick was sent in 1846 at the age of 24 to Jerusalem by a Swiss Protestant Church organization to be a missionary in the Holy Land. The plan was to set up “brotherhoods” of Christian communities from Jerusalem all the way down to Ethiopia and across North Africa. 

Schick soon became more interested in the archeology and architecture of the Holy City, Jerusalem, than the mission. 

Without any formal education in archeology or architecture (he worked, like Jesus, as a carpenter), he roamed the streets and alleyways of the city investigating, uncovering and recording vast amount of details about Jerusalem. Among many other finds, his wanderings led him and two young Arab boys to discover the famous First Temple period inscription inside King Hezekiah’s tunnel that feeds water from the Pool of Siloam into the city. (See “Your Guide...

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