Here are the top 10 places to visit during your time in Palestine. These places are highly recommended if you want to know about the history, landmarks and heritage of Palestine, which will make your trip more enjoyable and provide you with valuable information you need to gain a greater understanding of this land and its people.
- Al-Aqsa Mosque
Jerusalem has the third holiest site for all Muslims in the world. This is the Al-aqsa Mosque or “the Farthest Mosque” which is located in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Jews also sanctify the same place, and they claim that the mosque is built on the rubble of the Prophet Solomon’s Temple. Many of the extremist Jewish organizations used this argument to re-build the temple, as they believed it was in earlier times.
- The Dom of the rock
The Dom of the rock is an octagonal building having four doors. It is part of Al-Aqsa Mosque and one of the holiest places for Muslims.
It is the only ancient Islamic building that is preserved its shape and decoration. The name of the place comes from the Muslim belief that Muhammad was transported using the rock inside from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia to al-Aqsa during the Night Journey. This rock rises one meter and a half from the earth’s surface.
- The Nativity Church
The Nativity church is the place where Jesus Christ was born. It is located in Bethlehem city, south of the West Bank. Emperor Constantine built it in 335.
The Nativity church is one of the oldest churches in Palestine and in fact, in the whole world. The most important aspect is that religious rites are still held regularly and have been since the beginning of the sixth century AD, when the Roman Emperor Justinian built the church in its current form.
In 2012, the church was listed on the World Heritage Sites, and thus it is the first Palestinian site included in the World Heritage list of UNESCO.
- Old city in Jerusalem
The old city of Jerusalem is comprised of a number of quarters, such as the Christian quarter, which is located in the northwest of the city. Here you will find the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Mamilla Pool, the Via Dolorosa, and a Herodian Cistern.
Armenian Christians are found in the Armenian Quarter, which is located in the southwest corner of the Old City. This quarter contains the Zion Gate and, to the south of this gate, you will find the historic Mount Zion. In addition, it is home to the Tower of David, a late First Century temple fortification, a monastery, and an Armenian Orthodox cathedral, plus a museum.
The Jewish Quarter is located in the southeast of the Old City. Here you will find the Mount of Olives where it is believed that Jesus often delivered sermons. There are a number of Christian churches in this quarter.
The Muslim Quarter is located in the northeast of the Old City. This quarter, apart from its name, contains number of Christian attractions such as Ecce Homo and half of the Via Dolorosa. It is the biggest quarter in the Old City. It also includes historical sites, such as the Bethesda Pools, which were built between 800 and 200 BCE.
- Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is located from Jericho city, which is believed to be one of the oldest inhabited cities on earth. The Dead Sea is considered the top tourist attraction. It spans 50 km in length, and 15 km in width. It is the most saline sea on earth, and its salt concentration is seven times higher than the concentration of salt in the earth’s oceans. The sea contains mud filled with minerals and salts, which is renowned for its beneficial effects on the skin. It is also one of the richest types of clay.
- Ibrahim Mosque
The Ibrahim Mosque is located in the old city of Hebron in the southern part of the West Bank of Palestine. It is similar in construction to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and is surrounded by a great wall that was built of large stones. The length of each of these stones is about seven meters.
It is considered the oldest sacred building that is still being used till today and amazingly, almost without interruption throughout the ages. In addition, the Mosque is the fourth most holy places for Muslims, and the second most holy place for Jews after the Temple Mount.
The Ibrahimi Mosque is divided into two places of worship that will accommodate both Muslims and Jewish worshipers: the Mosque and the Synagogue. The Ibrahimi Mosque site is under very tight security.
Visitors and tourists must present passports and visas, or identity papers in order to pass through the Israeli checkpoints to gain entry to the site. Once through the checkpoint visitors are able to walk freely about.
- Mar Saba
Mar Saba is a Greek Orthodox monastery that located in the east of the city of Bethlehem, in the town called Al-Ubaydi. It was built between 478 AD and 484 AD by the monk Saba with the help of 5000 monks. It is now considered one of the oldest inhabited monasteries in the world.
- Hisham Palace
Hisham’s Palace is located 5 kilometers to the north of the city of Jericho and one of the most important tourist attractions in Palestine. The Umayyad caliph Hisham bin Abdul Malik between 724 and 743 AD built the palace. The palace includes a collection of buildings, bathtubs, mosques and large halls.
Old city in Hebron
Hebron’s old City is located adjacent to the Ibrahimi Mosque. The place is about winding alleys; old houses; shops, and markets which make it worth visiting. Unfortunately Israeli Authorities have shut down large parts of it and deploy Israeli troops to protect the presence of the Jews who seek to control the real estate in that area.
- Old City in Nablus
The Old City in Nablus has important sites going back from the 1st to 15th centuries. The Old City includes six major quarters: Yasmina; Gharb; Qaryun; Aqaba; Qaysariyya; and Habala. These quarters all have historical sites. In addition, the Old City has six hamaams (Turkish baths). Al-Shifa Hamaam was built 1624, and Al Hana Hamaam, located in the Yasmina quarter, was built in the 19th century.
In the old city you will find shops that produce the olive oil soap and some agricultural products such as cheese and thyme. As well there is one of the most old, famous and delicious sweet shops in Palestine that offers knafeh, which is the most famous oriental sweet in the Levant.