The Palestinian Museum in Birzeit

29 October 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Architecture, Museums, Exhibitions, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  8 minutes

The Palestinian Museum © I Love Falastin/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Palestinian Museum © I Love Falastin/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Palestinian Museum is a flagship project of the Welfare Association, a non-profit organization for developing humanitarian projects in Palestine. Representing the history and aspirations of the Palestinian people, the museum aims to discuss the past, present, and future of Palestine. The Museum in Birzeit (25 km north of Jerusalem) opened on 18 May 2016, despite not having any exhibits. The inaugural exhibition “Jerusalem Lives” was opened on 26 August 2017. On 29 August 2019, the museum received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.   read more…

Jenin in the West Bank

22 August 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  9 minutes

© Almonroth/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Almonroth/cc-by-sa-3.0

Jenin is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank. It serves as the administrative center of the Jenin Governorate of the State of Palestine and is a major center for the surrounding towns. In 2007, Jenin had a population of approximately 40,000 people, whilst the Jenin refugee camp had a population of 10,000. Jenin is under the administration of the Palestinian National Authority (as part of Area A of the West Bank). As in other areas of Palestine, the living conditions of the population have deteriorated significantly since the Al-Aqsa Intifada broke out in 2000. It suffers from the closure of the areas, many buildings are destroyed, unemployment is high (about 80%).   read more…

Ariel in Palestine

22 July 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  11 minutes

Ariel University Center © Ori~

Ariel University Center © Ori~

Ariel is an urban Israeli settlement organized as a city council in the central West Bank, Palestine, part of the Israeli-occupied territories, approximately situated between 17 kilometres (11 mi) and 22 kilometres (14 mi) east of the Green Line, and 34 kilometres (21 mi) west of the Jordan River, Jordan‘s western border. Ariel is adjacent to the Palestinian National Authority town of Salfit and southwest of Nablus. It is approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) east of Petah Tikva, and 42 kilometres (26 mi) east of Tel Aviv to which it is connected by the Highway 5 and 60 kilometres (37 mi) northwest of Jerusalem, to which it is connected by Highway 60. Ariel was first established in 1978 and its population was 20,540 in 2019, composed of veteran and young Israelis, English-speaking immigrants, and immigrants from the Former Soviet Union, with an additional influx of above 10,000 students from Ariel University. It is the fourth largest Jewish settlement in the West Bank, after Modi’in Illit, Beitar Illit, and Ma’ale Adumim. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this. Ariel’s jurisdiction spans 14,677 dunams (14.677 km²; 5.667 sq mi), and borders the Palestinian towns and villages Salfit, Marda and Iskaka. According to B’Tselem, within Ariel’s municipal area there are several enclaves of privately owned Palestinian land, whose owners are not allowed access to them.   read more…

Qalqilya in Palestine

14 March 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  9 minutes

Qalqilya from Hod HaSharon © iiiii/cc-by-sa-4.0

Qalqilya from Hod HaSharon © iiiii/cc-by-sa-4.0

Qalqilya or Qalqiliya is a Palestinian city in the West Bank which serves as the administrative center of the Qalqilya Governorate. In the 2007 census the city had a population of 41,739. Qalqilya is surrounded by the Israeli West Bank barrier with a narrow gap in the east controlled by the Israeli military and a tunnel to Hableh. Oranges are grown there.   read more…

Haram esh-Sharif or Temple Mount in East Jerusalem

3 September 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  10 minutes

© Andrew Shiva/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Andrew Shiva/cc-by-sa-4.0

Known to Muslims as the Haram esh-Sharif (“the Noble Sanctuary”, or “the Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem”) and the Al Aqsa Compound, and to Jews as Temple Mount (“Mount of the House [of God, i.e. the Temple in Jerusalem]”), is a hill in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Old City of Jerusalem that for thousands of years has been venerated as a holy site in Christianity, Islam and Islam, and Judaism alike.   read more…

Battir in the West Bank

2 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  8 minutes

© flickr.com - Labour Palestine/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Labour Palestine/cc-by-2.0

Battir is a Palestinian village in the West Bank, 6.4 km west of Bethlehem, and southwest of Jerusalem. It was inhabited during the Byzantine and Islamic periods, and in the Ottoman and British Mandate censuses its population was recorded as primarily Muslim. In former times, the city lay along the route from Jerusalem to Bayt Jibrin. Battir is situated just above the modern route of the Jaffa–Jerusalem railway, which served as the armistice line between Israel and Jordan from 1949 until the Six-Day War, when it was occupied by Israel. In 2007, Battir had a population of about 4,000. In 2014, Battir was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, as Land of Olives and Vines — Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir.   read more…

The origins of Jerusalem stone architecture in East Jerusalem

23 November 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  12 minutes

Old town Suq Aftimos © Rastaman3000/cc-by-sa-3.0

Old town Suq Aftimos © Rastaman3000/cc-by-sa-3.0

Jerusalem stone (Meleke) is a lithologic type of white, coarsely-crystalline, thickly bedded-limestone found in the Judean Hills in Israel and the West Bank. It has been used in the traditional architecture of Jerusalem since ancient times, especially in Herodian architecture. Though it is often popularly referred to as Jerusalem stone, that phrase can refer to a number of different types of stone found and used in or associated with Jerusalem. Jerusalem stone is a name applied to various types of pale limestone, dolomite and dolomitic limestone, common in and around Jerusalem that have been used in building since ancient times. One of these limestones has been used in many of the region’s most celebrated structures, including the Western Wall. Jerusalem stone continues to be used in construction and incorporated in Jewish ceremonial art such as menorahs and seder plates. Limestone is used all over the world. The unique selling point is the mining area, the origins of which lie in the Palestinian old town of East Jerusalem. This unique selling point naturally also applies to other mining areas, e.g. for the Austin Stone from Austin, Texas or the Cotswold Stone from the British Cotswolds.   read more…

Abu Dis in the West Bank

21 July 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  9 minutes

Dome of Rock in East Jerusalem as seen from Abu Dis © Padres Hana/cc-by-sa-3.0

Dome of Rock in East Jerusalem as seen from Abu Dis © Padres Hana/cc-by-sa-3.0

Abu Dis or Abu Deis is a Palestinian village in the Quds Governorate (Jerusalem) of the Palestinian National Authority bordering the Palestinian East Jerusalem. Since the 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Abu Dis land has been mostly part of “Area C“, under full Israeli control. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) census, Abu Dis had a population of 12,604 in 2016. Abu Dis is situated on an ancient site, surrounded by deep valleys. Ruins have been found of ancient buildings, cisterns, grape presses and caves, one with a columbarium. Ceramics from Late Roman and Byzantine period has also been found.   read more…

Nazareth, home town of Jesus

1 April 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  7 minutes

Grotto of Annunciation © Ramessos/cc-by-sa-3.0

Grotto of Annunciation © Ramessos/cc-by-sa-3.0

Nazareth is the largest city in the Northern District of Israel. Nazareth is known as “the Arab capital of Israel”. Nazareth Illit (lit. “Upper Nazareth”), declared a separate city in June 1974, is built alongside old Nazareth. In the New Testament, the town is described as the childhood home of Jesus, and as such is a center of Christian pilgrimage, with many shrines commemorating biblical events. With the exception of the Old City, the two Nazareths are architecturally uninspired, as are most of the other development towns of Israel, too. In March 2010, the Israeli government approved a $3 million plan to develop Nazareth’s tourism industry. New businesses receive start-up grants of up to 30 percent of their initial investment from the Ministry of Tourism.   read more…

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