The AwāKīR of Nazareth: The History and Contemporary Face of A Cultural Ecological Institution

Nisreen Mazzawi, Amalia Sa'Ar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article documents the hawakar of Nazareth. Once widespread in the city, these traditional domestic gardens were integral to households of all economic backgrounds. They served as a space for work and socializing, constituted a center of collective (extended family) life, and provided a wide diversity of crops. However, in recent decades hawakar have disappeared rapidly as new houses were built overtop them and residents' tastes changed. Today people prefer gardens with green lawns and flowers. Intended strictly for recreation and ornament, this new kind of garden acts as a marker of privacy and economic success. We use ethnographic data to provide detailed descriptions of historical and contemporary examples of the traditional garden. The analysis dwells on the resonances between changing practices around and meanings of hawakar and the changing character of the urban landscape, on the value of hawakar as sites of attachment and identity, and on the potential of their revival to generate urban sustainability.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)537-556
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Middle East Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Anthropology
  • Ecology
  • Environment
  • Gardens
  • Israel/Palestine
  • Urban studies

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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