What to Do?
1.5. RAMALLAH (PALESTINE)
1.5.1. BASIC INFO
Palestinian territory is where the three largest Abrahamic religions were born: Judaism, Christianism and Islam. In the old city of Jerusalem, between Israel and Palestine, for example, it is possible to visit a few of the most sacred spots for the three religions with a five minutes walk from one to another: the Western Wall, Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock, al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
In late 19th century, with Zionism, the region of Palestine started to be the destination of Jews with the intention of creating the Jewish Nation at the promised land. In 1948, the movement culminated in the division of the land by UN and the foundation of the State of Israel.
Since then, Palestine has been involved in an endless and complex conflict against Israel. The original borders were changed in 1967, after Six-Day War, when Israel expanded its territory. The conflict involves issues of borders, recognition of the other side, natural resources (especially water), control of the city of Jerusalem, Israeli settlements and the right of movement of Palestinians.
The independence of Palestine was declared at November 15th 1988 and it is recognized by 136 UN members. Since Oslo II agreement, signed in 1995, Palestine was divided in three areas, called A, B and C: area A is ruled exclusively by Palestinian Authority and corresponds mainly to the big cities; area B is administered both by Palestinian Authority and Israel; and area C is totally under Israeli control and is it where has been installed several Jewish settlements. The Israeli army is allowed to get inside even in area A without any interference of Palestinian Authority.
Israeli army controls the movement of Palestinians and the access to Israel through many checkpoints installed along borders or even inside Palestine. Arabs need to show their ID and foreigners must present their passports.
Ramallah is in area A and it is the actual administrative capital of Palestine and is located 10km far from Jerusalem, a distance that can take up to two hours by bus, dependending of the flow at the checkpoint in Qalandia.
In my opinion, Ramallah does not offer too many attractions for tourists comparing to other cities around, as Jerusalem or Bethlehem, but is the perfect place to be based while travelling in Palestine: it is cheap and convenient. The access to other Palestinian cities is easy and there are a lot of stores and good restaurants there, both international and local food.
President: Mahmoud Abbas
Currency: Israeli New Shekel (NIS)
Time zone: UTC +2 (UTC +3 at summer time)
Weather: winter, between december and february, can reach low temperatures, getting close to 0°C, and it is usually when rain is more frequent. On Summer weather can be very warm during the day (reaching up to 30°C), but still nights can be a few cold.
Arafat’s Museum and Tomb
Direction: Al-Irsal St. - Ramallah
Price: free - 5 NIS (around U$1,50) for audioguide
Opening hours: daily 8 am to 6 pm
Suggested visit duration: half day
Directions: in Al-Manara Square, get the street on the right of Nahda St. It will be on your right, in front of MaxNar.
Opening hours: daily
Suggested visit duration: one hour
Saleh Khalaf Spice Shop
Direction: George Sa'a St., close to Al-Manara Square
Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday, from 8 am to 8 pm
Suggested visit duration: half an hour
Ramallah Old City
Directions: Rukab St.
Opening hours: all day
Suggested visit duration: two hours
Direction: OLd City, between Al Omary Mosque and Arab Bank
Dar Zahran Heritage Building
Direction: Rukab St., Old City, opposite to The Arab Bank, Ramallah
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, from 11 am to 7 pm
Suggested visit duration: 1 hour
Directions: Rukab St., Old City, opposite to The Arab Bank, Ramallah
Opening hours: Open daily, except friday and saturday - 9 a.m to 3 p.m
Suggest visit duration: 40 minutes
Museum located in the old city, that was renovated in 1996-1997. Inside it’s possible to see differents objects from periods of the history of Palestine, as Byzantine and Hellenistic. The museum have a collection of pottery, middle bronze, glass vassals, bracelet, pins, grave-stone, bottle, glasses, lamps, incense burner, animal figurine, decanter, bowls from iron age.
Mahmoud Darwish Foundation and Museum - Ramallah
Direction: Tokyo Street, Al Masyoun, Ramallah
Price: 5 NIS (around US$1,50)
Opening hours: Daily, from 9 am to 6 pm
Suggested visit duration: 1 hour
Telephone: 02 295 2808
The museum was builded in memoriam of the journalist and poet Mahmoud Darwish, who was born in Al-Birweh, 1942 and died in Houston, 9 of august 2008. He wrote books and served as an editor for several literary magazines.In the place it’s possible to visit the museum and the tombstone where he is buried. The museum and theatre tell the history and legacy of Darwish. Enjoyable to wait there, especially in a sunny day. The museum is well conserved but small and there's almost any information in English, but it worth a visit if you have time. The garden at the entrance and the view of Ramallah it is a good part of the visit.
Directions: The Mandela Square cross the Al Razi Street and Gabi Bramski Steet. Near from the Tira Street and Mustaqbal School.
Terra Fidea - “Land of Fidelity”
A historical important place to the palestinians with a nice landscape in Ramallah City to spend a day. It’s a ecological and historical tour. In Terra Fidea it’s possible to see a differents kinds of nature like olive tree, oak, figs, peaches,grapes wines, eucalyptus and the agriculture from Palestine. In the landscape you can see a site from the old roman village and old monuments that put in contact of the the old lifestyle from the palestinians.
Informations: The Dar Zahan used to do a tour to there every friday. Send a messanger in the website or facebook. (Dar Zahran Heritage Building)
Ramallah Cultural Palace was established in 2005 by support of japanese government and United Nations Development Program (UNDP). In a big space, the place have space for 740 people and usually receive differents kinds of cultural events with differents thematics: educational, political, artistics, dance, music and others.
Direction: Al-Masyoon, Ramallah
Price: Depends on the presentation or event in the day
Festival e Cultural Events