Due to the ongoing tensions that have been present in the area for decades, Palestine typically doesn’t sit atop most people’s travel bucket lists. When you think of Palestine, you might initially think of a Gaza Appeal that you donated to, rather than an interesting tourist destination. Despite this, as a traveler, Palestine certainly has a lot to offer, whether it be a cultural experience or stunning views. Upon visiting Palestine, you’re sure to gain a new perspective as you’re exposed to the struggles of others, as well as their undying desperation for peace. Read on to discover the top things to do in Palestine.
Go to the Israeli West Bank Barrier in Bethlehem
Paying a visit to the Israeli West Bank Barrier in Bethlehem is one of the best ways to gain an understanding of what life in Palestine is really like. Similarly, it sits just around the corner from the Jacir Palace Hotel. The West Bank Barrier is a large, grainy block of concrete and is just one section of the wall that separates Palestine from Israel. In some areas, it’s as tall as 25 feet and barbed wire lines the top. Most of the wall is a plain gray; however, in Bethlehem, it has been transformed into public artwork as a mode of protest. Anyone is welcome to pick up a spray can and make their mark on the wall.
Wander a Monastery
The Kidron Valle was once known as a space inhabited by monks, which is why anyone who visits the region should wander a monastery. Renowned for its fields of wildflowers and open skies, the valley offers a hike with unmatched views. Perched dramatically in the hillside is the Mar Saba Monastery, which was named after Saint Saba, who lived in seclusion in a cave across from the site. The monastery itself abides by traditional rules, such as that women aren’t permitted to enter the space. Similarly, no visitors are allowed at all on Wednesdays or Fridays, as these are fasting days.
Witness a Traditional Dabke Dance
The tradition of Dabke Dance is one that dates back centuries, and not just in Palestinian culture. The dance is also a staple of Jordanian, Syrian, and Lebanese culture, and typically occurs during happy occasions, including festivals and weddings. “Dabke” translates to “stamping of the feet” in Arabic and the choreography can vary. Despite this, it usually involves a high-energy combination of circle and line dancing, including twirls and half kicks.
Explore the Old City of Jerusalem
Although it’s small in size, the Old City of Jerusalem is home to some of the oldest stories in the world. The town is walled and marked by 37 towers and seven strong gates, creating a truly enchanting atmosphere. This is especially true of the night-time, as the streetlamps create glowing passageways.
The Old City is home to around 15,000 people, and is divided into Armenian, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish quarters. It’s due to this diversity that the area is a great place to wander. From authentic markets to sizzling grills, there’s much to experience in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Meet the Palestinian People
What makes Palestine special is the people, which is why anyone paying a visit to the region must meet the Palestinian people. They are renowned for being hospitable, kind, and proud of their heritage; as a result, starting up a conversation with just about anyone is incredibly easy. Furthermore, you might book a homestay to truly experience the day-to-day life of the average Palestinian. This also makes it possible for you to have traditional lunches and dinners.