Theme Week Palestine – Al-Bireh

Friday, 29 December 2017 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Union for the Mediterranean

Manara Square, border between Ramallah (left) and Al-Bireh (right) © Abutoum

Manara Square, border between Ramallah (left) and Al-Bireh (right) © Abutoum

Al-Bireh is a city in the central West Bank, 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) north of Jerusalem. The city borders Ramallah to the west. To the north is the Israeli settlement Beit El, to the east another Israeli settlement called Psagot and to the south al-Am’ari Refugee Camp and Kalandia. It is situated on the central ridge running through the West Bank and is 860 meters (2,820 ft) above sea level, covering an area of 22.4 square kilometers (8.6 sq mi). Because of its location Al-Bireh served as an economic crossroad between the north and south, along the caravan route between Jerusalem and Nablus. The city has a population of approximately 40,000. Al-Bireh is the second largest center of Palestinian administration after Gaza. Besides the governor’s headquarters, it also hosts a considerable number of governmental, non-governmental, and private organizations, including the Ministries of Transportation, Supply, Information, Public Works and Higher Education, as well as the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. Due to its proximity with Ramallah, the cities form a single constituency for elections to the Palestinian National Authority.

Edward Robinson in the early 19th century thought Al-Bireh was the biblical Be’eroth, but modern scholars believe Be’eroth was located at Kh. el-Burj near Beit Iksa. Claude Reignier Conder and others identified it with Beirothah of the Samaritan chronicles. The Crusaders captured and named the town Birra. It was also called Castrum Mahomeria, Magna Mahomeria or Mahomeria Major. It was one of 21 villages given by King Godfrey as a fief to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In 1114, the gift was re-confirmed by Baldwin I of Jerusalem. In 1156, 92 people from Mahomeria pledged their allegiance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and a further 50 names were added in the next three decades. Hence, it has been estimated that the total Frankish population at this time was 500-700. The Crusaders built a castle, church and hospice there. The latter two buildings were built by the Knights Templar in 1146 and belonged to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Ayyubids under Saladin drove away the Crusaders from Birra when they reconquered interior Palestine after the Battle of Hattin in 1187, and completely demolished the town. Yaqut al-Hamawi mentions seeing the ruins a few times during his travels in the area. Nearing the end of Ayyubid rule, in 1280, the modern town of al-Bireh was an inhabited village. The Ayyubids built a mosque in the town dedicated to Umar ibn al-Khattab adjacent to the church ruins. Potsherds from the Crusader/Ayyubid era have been found.

Manara Square, border between Ramallah (left) and Al-Bireh (right) © Abutoum © Mohammad Hijjawi/cc-by-sa-4.0 Great Mosque/Jamal Abdel Nasser Mosque © Abutoum Town hall © Abutoum
<
>
Manara Square, border between Ramallah (left) and Al-Bireh (right) © Abutoum
Al-Bireh, like the rest of Palestine, was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, and in the census of 1596 the village, called Bira al-Kubra, was a part of the nahiya (“subdistrict”) of Al-Quds which was under the administration of the liwa (“district”) of Al-Quds. It had a population of 45 households, all Muslim, and paid taxes on wheat, barley, olive trees, fruit trees, occasional revenues, beehives and/or goats. In the spring of 1697, Henry Maundrell noted at Al Bireh, which he called Beer, the remains of a Church, which he wrote was built by Empress Helena. After the 1834 Arab revolt in Palestine, the Ottoman authorities conscripted many men from Al-Bireh as soldiers. In 1838, when Robinson visited, 60 had been taken away to be soldiers, out of a total population of 700. When French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village in 1863, he found it to have 800 inhabitants. Albert Socin, citing an official Ottoman village list compiled around 1870, noted that Al-Bireh had a population of 399 Muslims in 142 houses, and 20 “Greeks” in 5 houses, though that population count included men, only. It was further noted that the name meant “The cistern”. Martin Hartmann found that Al-Bireh had 142 houses. In 1883, the Palestine Exploration Fund‘s Survey of Western Palestine described Bireh as a good-sized village, with “fairly well built” houses. In 1896 the population of Bireh was estimated to be about 1,080 persons. Until 1917, the city served as a political and administrative center for the Ottoman Empire.

Al-Bireh established a city council headed by mayor Eid Musa in 1928 under the British Mandate. Eight other mayors took office either through elections or government appointments. The city had some well known mayors, including Abudul Jawad Saleh who was mayor in the 1970s until exiled by the Israelis. He later went on to become a member of the PLO executive committee and then minister of agriculture in the Palestinian Authority. In 1982, Israel instated a civil administration, but later appointed an Arab mayor, Hassan al-Tawil. In 1988, after two years in office, he was stabbed and critically wounded outside his office. In 1996, a 12-member municipal council was established by the Palestinian National Authority with Sheikh Jamal al-Tawil as mayor. In the Palestinian municipal elections in 2005, the Hamas-backed Reform and Change List won 9 of the 15 seats, while independent lists won the remaining 6. The current mayor is Omar Hammayil. Al-Bireh, located in Area A, is under the complete control of the Palestinian National Authority. In 2010, the Jerusalem Fund, and the National Arab American Medical Association Foundation and Physicians for Peace dedicated the Palestine Diabetes Institute in al-Bireh. Al-Quds University maintains a campus in al-Bireh.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Wikipedia Al-Bireh. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




Recommended posts:

Share this post: (Please note data protection regulations before using buttons)

The European Union: The Budget

The European Union: The Budget

[responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Now it's back to business: The European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Günther Oettinger has presented the draft of the new EU budget and as we already know: Money can end friendships. This is no different between EU member states than between companies and private persons. However, this is not just an annual plan, but a five-year plan, this time with significantly changed circumstances to the previous plans, so that the negotiations until the unanimous decision-making will be infinitely long. ...

[ read more/mehr lesen ]

2018 Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics

2018 Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics

[caption id="attachment_172056" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © pyeongchang2018.com[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Winter Olympics The 2018 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXIII Olympic Winter Games, and commonly known as PyeongChang 2018, is a major international multi-sport event scheduled to take place from 9 to 25 February 2018 in Pyeongchang County, South Korea. These will be South Korea's second Olympic Games and its first Winter Games; Seoul hosted the Summer Games in 1988. Pyeongchang will be the third Asian cit...

[ read more/mehr lesen ]

Theme Week Amsterdam - The Van Gogh Museum

Theme Week Amsterdam - The Van Gogh Museum

[caption id="attachment_27817" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Van Gogh Museum © Taxiarchos228/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Van Gogh Museum is an art museum in Amsterdam in the Netherlands dedicated to the works of Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries. It is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, close to the Stedelijk Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the Concertgebouw. The museum opened on 3 June 1973. It located in buildings designed by Gerrit Rietveld and Kisho Kurokawa. The museum's colle...

[ read more/mehr lesen ]

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

[caption id="attachment_26842" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine © National Park Service Digital Image Archives[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Fort McHenry, in Baltimore in Maryland, is a coastal star-shaped fort best known for its role in the War of 1812, when it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British navy in Chesapeake Bay September 13–14, 1814. It was during the bombardment of the fort that Francis Scott Key was inspired to write The Star-Spangled B...

[ read more/mehr lesen ]

The Müritz in Mecklenburg Lake District

The Müritz in Mecklenburg Lake District

[caption id="attachment_151326" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Boathouses on Binnensee © Beyer/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Müritz is a lake in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, northern Germany. Its area is 117 km², which makes it the second largest lake in Germany (after Lake Constance) and the largest lake entirely within Germany. Its maximum depth is 31 metres. It is fed and drained by the river Elde. Part of the Müritz and adjacent forests and wetlands are protected by the Müritz National Park. Th...

[ read more/mehr lesen ]

Lake of Bays in Ontario

Lake of Bays in Ontario

[caption id="attachment_151122" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © lakeofbaysbrewing.ca[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Lake of Bays is a large lake in the District Municipality of Muskoka in Central Ontario, Canada. It is located in the Township of Lake of Bays, which is named after the lake. Ontario Highway 35 runs north and east of the lake. Port Cunnington is a community established on a peninsula reaching out deep inside the lake. Other settlements on the lake shore include Dwight, South Portage, Baysville and Dorset. The lake i...

[ read more/mehr lesen ]

The Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail

[caption id="attachment_148982" align="aligncenter" width="303"] © Appalachian Trail Conservancy[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Each year, the year has come again. One has just completed the plans and preparations for the coming year, but then there are the plans which you can’t squeeze into business plans, budgets or profit expectations. Before Christmas I saw a documentary on television about the Appalachian Trail in America and there was the plan again, "Just get out and find time for yourself for a few months.". Well, between ...

[ read more/mehr lesen ]

The Norwegian Sky

The Norwegian Sky

[caption id="attachment_168186" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Norwegian Sky in Freeport, Bahamas © Blackfist/cc-by-sa-4.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Norwegian Sky is a Sun-class cruise ship owned and operated by Norwegian Cruise Line. She was originally ordered by Costa Cruises as Costa Olympia from the Bremer Vulkan shipyard in Germany, but she was completed in 1999 by the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany for the Norwegian Cruise Line under the name Norwegian Sky. Between 2004 and 2008 she sailed as Pride of Aloh...

[ read more/mehr lesen ]

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲
© flickr.com - debs-eye/cc-by-2.0
The Nice Côte d’Azur Opera House

The Opéra de Nice is the principal opera venue in Nice on the French Riviera. It offers three types of...

Saint Nicholas Church © SalibaQ/cc-by-sa-3.0
Theme Week Palestine – Beit Jala

Beit Jala is a Palestinian Christian town in the Bethlehem Governorate of the West Bank. Beit Jala is located 10...

© Lencer/cc-by-sa-3.0
Theme Week Palestine – Beit Hanoun

Beit Hanoun is a city on the northeast edge of the Gaza Strip with a population of 49,000. It is...

Schließen