Emek Refaim (Valley of Refaim) is mentioned in the books of Joshua and Samuel. This name is derived from a legendary race of giants who lived in the region during biblical times.
In 1873, after establishing colonies in Haifa and Jaffa, members of the German Templer sect settled on a large tract of land in the Refaim Valley, southwest of Jerusalem’s Old City. They had purchased the land from the Arabs of Beit Zafafa. The Templers were Christians who encouraged their members to settle in the Holy Land to prepare for Messianic salvation.
They built their homes in the style to which they were accustomed in Germany – farmhouses of one or two stories, with slanting tiled roofs and shuttered windows – but using local materials such as Jerusalem stone, instead of wood and bricks.