Barqa (Arabic: برقة‎) was a Palestinian Arab village located 37 km north of Gaza near the modern-day Israeli city of Ashdod. It was referred to as Barka by the Greeks and Bareca by the Romans during their rule over the ancient Philistine city. In 1945, the village had a population of 890 and total land area of 5,206 dunums.



Maqam (shrine) of Neby Burk, in 1898[1]
Maqam (shrine) of Neby Burk, in 1898[1]
Etymology: sandy ground covered with flint[2]
Barqa is located in Mandatory Palestine
Coordinates: 31°46′39″N 34°41′59″E / 31.77750°N 34.69972°E / 31.77750; 34.69972Coordinates: 31°46′39″N 34°41′59″E / 31.77750°N 34.69972°E / 31.77750; 34.69972
Palestine grid121/131
Geopolitical entityMandatory Palestine
Date of depopulationMay 13, 1948[5]
 • Total5,206 dunams (5.206 km2 or 2.010 sq mi)
 • Total890[3][4]
Cause(s) of depopulationMilitary assault by Yishuv forces
Current LocalitiesNone

It was occupied and depopulated on May 13, 1948 during Operation Barak, a Yishuv offensive in southern Palestine just prior to the outbreak of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.


It is likely that Barqa was built on the site of the Greek town of Barka, which the Romans called Baraca. The villagers were Muslim, and around the village mosque were a number of tombs that they referred to as the tombs of Shaykh Muhammad, Shaykh Zarruq, and the prophet (al-nabi) Barq.[6]

A burial chamber with four arcosolia have been uncovered at Barqa. It contained three pottery lamps, dated to the late Roman or Byzantine era, and two Byzantine glass vessels, dated to fifth century CE.[7] The village was a major centre in the Byzantine era. In 511 CE a richly decorated basilica church was built, with a mosaic floor. It was in use until the seventh century.[8]

Ottoman eraEdit

Barqa, like the rest of Palestine, was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, and in the census of 1596, the village was located in the nahiya of Gazza in the liwa of Gazza. It had a population of 12 households, all Muslim. They paid a fixed tax-rate of 25% on agricultural products, including wheat, barley, summer crops, fruit trees and sesame; the taxes totalled 2,100 akçe.[9]

In 1838, Robinson noted Burka as a Muslim village located in the Gaza district.[10]

In 1863 Victor Guérin visited and noted, lying beside a well, several trunks of greyish marble. A kubbeh was here, dedicated to Neby Barak, and surrounded by tombs.[11] An Ottoman village list from about 1870 showed that Burka had a population of 202, with a total of 80 houses, though the population count included men, only.[12][13]

In 1882 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Barqa as an "ordinary" village, with the tomb of Neby Burk.[14]

British Mandate of PalestineEdit

Barqa, Gaza District, 1930
Barqa, Gaza District,1945

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Burqa had a population of 448 inhabitants, all Muslims,[15] which had increased in the 1931 census to 600, 593 Muslim, 6 Jews and 1 Christian, in a total of in 123 houses.[16]

In the 1945 statistics the population of Barqa consisted of 890, all Muslims,[3] and the land area was 5,206 dunams, according to an official land and population survey.[4] Of this, 667 dunams were designated for citrus and bananas, 47 for plantations and irrigable land, 4,031 for cereals,[17] while 26 dunams were built-up areas.[18]

1948 and aftermathEdit

Barqa became depopulated on May 13, 1948, after a military assault by the Yishuv's Giv'ati forces.[5][19][20] The area was subsequently incorporated into the State of Israel. In 1992, the village remaining structures on the village land were described:

"Two houses remain standing on the site. One serves as a warehouse; it is made of concrete and has a covered portico on two sides. The other, a stone house with rectangular doors and windows and a flat roof, stands deserted in the midst of wild vegetation. The site is overgrown with weeds interspersed with cactuses and eucalyptus and palm trees. Israelis cultivate the land around the site"[21]


  1. ^ Gautier, 1898, p. 95
  2. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 267
  3. ^ a b Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 31
  4. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 45
  5. ^ a b Morris, 2004, p. xix, village #280.Also gives cause of depopulation
  6. ^ Khalidi, 1992, pp. 82-83
  7. ^ Volynsky, 2010, Barqa (North)
  8. ^ Sion, Rapuano, Habas and Di Segni, 2010, Barqa
  9. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 147
  10. ^ Robinson and Smith, vol 3, 2nd appendix, p. 118
  11. ^ Guérin, 1869, pp. 68-70; as given by Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 420
  12. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 149 Also noted in the Gaza district
  13. ^ Hartmann, 1883, p. 134 also noted 80 houses
  14. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 409. Cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 84
  15. ^ Barron, 1923, Table V, Sub-district of Gaza, p. 9
  16. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 2
  17. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 86
  18. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 136
  19. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 179, note #112, p. 271
  20. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 256 note #759, p 305
  21. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 83


External linksEdit