The Dome of the Rock tiling project 1919

Renovating the Dome of the Rock blue ceramic tiles

About Us / Dome of the Rock tile renovation

How Armenian pottery was established in Jerusalem, starting 1919

My grandfather, Megerditch Karakashian

In 1919 during the British mandate, the British governor of Jerusalem, Sir Ronald Storrs, as part of reviving the arts & crafts activities in Jerusalem, came up with the project of renovating the ceramic tiles of the Dome of the Rock. Mr. David Ohanessian, an accomplished professional Armenian ceramic artist, was placed in charge of recruiting a group of Armenian ceramic artists and potters, to come and work on the Dome of the Rock renovation. My grandfather, Megerditch Karakashian, a master painter, was among the artists recruited, from the city of Kutahya in Turkey.

Megerditch arrived in Jerusalem in the Autumn of 1919, as part of a team of ceramic artisans, to renovate the ceramic tiles of the Dome of the Rock

Happy to leave Turkey because of persecutions, my grandfather opted to travel to Jerusalem to work, slowly bringing his family members to Jerusalem. This group of Armenian ceramic artists and potters, made sample tiles for the Dome of the Rock project. However, for various reasons, the project was scrapped. But my grandfather and his partner, Mr. Nshan Balian the potter, decided to stay in Jerusalem and open a workshop on Nablus road, in 1922. There, they produced some of the first Armenian pottery wares, introducing this art to Jerusalem. David Ohanessian also opened his own workshop and produced wares.

These are the individuals responsible for the introduction of Armenian pottery to Jerusalem, Sir Ronald Storrs, David Ohanessian, Megerditch Karakashian the master painter, and Nshan Balian the master potter.

The Master painter, Megerditch Karakashian