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8 September 2017

The Old City, Star Street and Banksy's Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, Palestine

Three weeks ago I travelled with my mum to visit the Palestinian side of my family. Although most of the holiday was devoted to catching up with my aunts, uncles and cousins, I made sure to document the cities I visited in order to share the journey on the blog. For most of the time, I stayed in Bethlehem where the largest part of my family lives. Bethlehem is a small city and a very popular one among tourists who come to Palestine, mainly because of the Nativity Church and more recently because of Banksy's Walled Off Hotel onto the Israeli wall. I took these pictures in the old city centre, mainly around Manger Square and Star street both of which I love for their history and atmosphere. 

The Mosque of Omar (Masjid Umar)

I came to the centre on a warm August afternoon for some shopping and sightseeing of the city. Even though I've been here thousands of times, I always love to go back to see the main points of the town. This is one of the main streets where shops and market stands are. Because its so hot in summer, we came here in late afternoon before sunset, hence the nice lighting. 

There are lots of street vendors like this one. My favourite ones are old ladies selling grapes or other fruits and vegetables as they remind me of my grandma! In this picture, cakes (helwyaat) - specifically harisah I'm guessing - are being sold on round trays, which is how most cakes are baked. 
This is one of the streets leading to the Manger Square; it's also where I buy most of my Palestinian souvenirs from, mainly blue and white ceramics that you'll know if you've visited me in Italy :) 

The view from the Manger Square (Midan Almahd)

Bethlehem has lots of small, ancient streets like this one. Buildings are made of old stones and metal doors are painted in light blue which I think is a very cool contrast!
Star Street (Shara'a al najma)



Another view from the top!
For the first time, we visited Banksy's Walled Off Hotel, a hotel and museum next to the Israeli Wall. The hall offers a  unique style typical of Banksy's artworks, and so does the museum which I thought wouldn't be appropriate to take pictures of. There is also a section dedicated to the artworks of Palestinian artists which I really liked. We then had tea at the hotel's cafe, which had a very strong British taste to it.



 A part of the Israeli wall

Some graffitis on the wall

Although my opinion on Bethlehem is obviously biased, I recommend you visit it if you ever go to Palestine. These are some of its landmarks but there are many other things you can do there and areas you can visit. Salam!

See more pictures of Bethlehem on my Instagram

2 comments:

  1. Bethlehem looks so interesting! It's so cool that it's where the Nativity Scene took place. I bet it must get great tourism solely for that! Glad you had a good time! :)

    -Lor
    acozyspace.com

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    1. Hi Lor, thanks for your comment! It does, this year I came across a big group of Japanese tourists and some American ones :)

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