Humans of Ramallah continues Palestine Square‘s new photographic focus on Palestinian cities and villages in historic Palestine. Every focus will be made up of readers’ photographs submitted to Palestine Square. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram to learn about our next selection and how to send us your photographs!
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For our Humans of series, Palestine Square is teaming up with paltrips.ps.
paltrips.ps is an online travel and urban guide to Palestine, aiming at breaking stereotypes and promoting an alternative experience of Palestinian cities by mixing texts, pictures and sounds.
Similar to tourist guides, paltrips.ps offers practical information and advice (such as whether to rent a car, taxi or walk), maps and contacts for travelers. It also presents a cultural and literary dimension. Prospective visitors to Palestine will find plenty of insider information on where to sleep, eat and drink, monuments and museums, exciting trails off the beaten path, the latest on local artists and musicians, and even local recipes.
Ramallah – “God’s Hill” – is the heart of the West Bank, loud, charming, and replete with contradictions. Ramallah is home to the official residence of president Mahmoud Abbas as well as to numerous start-ups, whose scene is flourishing. More and more young Palestinians launch their own high-tech enterprises in defiance of the weak economy. And in the evening, numerous bars and cafés lure young people to celebrate in the Capital of the West – for example, to smoke a Shisha or to drink a Taybeh beer.
The main goal of paltrips.ps is to create a collaborative platform that gathers young professionals from different nationalities who can illustrate the reality of Palestine and the Palestinians. You can always contribute to paltrips.ps by contacting their team.
The following photographs and video of Ramallah along with accompanying text have been provided by paltrips.ps (unless otherwise attributed):
A new social venture called Wadi Climbing has been leading the initiative of rock climbing in Palestine. Wadi Climbing is building the first indoor rock climbing gym in Palestine and addressing the huge lack of recreational opportunity. Wadi Climbing is filling a void in the recreational market by creating an energetic, community-driven facility that will be a positive outlet for its customers. The gym is set to open in Ramallah in the winter of 2016! In addition to the gym, Wadi Climbing has developed two outdoor climbing locations less than 15 minutes from Ramallah and offers guided climbing trips.
In the narrow streets of the old town of Birzeit, West Bank, in the Palestinian Territories, you’ll come across a wooden sign with the words ‘Falafel Republic’ etched into it. No lover of good falafel can resist going in, especially when falafel is teamed with the word ‘Republic’. Little did I know that not only the falafel was going to be epic at this hidden gem but that the people behind the restaurant would be nothing short of legendary – by Mayya Papaya.
Ramallah is ambitious. Located 900 meters above sea level and only fifteen kilometers away from Jerusalem, Ramallah has the status of administrative capital of Palestine. This feature gives it a cosmopolitan atmosphere, emphasized by the presence of many NGOs and a constant flow of foreigners.
The urbanization of Ramallah seems chaotic and fragmented. Following the reunification of several villages, Ramallah was born.
This collage of a great number of Ramallah street signs – most of them are from shop markets around al-Manara square – and typical Ramallah sounds is the perfect illustration of the city’s confusing and exciting hustle and bustle.
The first thing you smell when you enter Adel’s shop, a few feet from the Qalandyia checkpoint, is the typical sweet and sour smell of organic shops.
On the central table, cartons of pastries are crammed together and serve as a reminder that the religious feast is the priority. The boxes are full of little cakes filled with dates, homemade by some thirty women of the An-Naqoura village north of Nablus. A total of 650 boxes were made from Palestinian ingredients. The dates come from families in Jericho; the flour was bought at a co-op in Jenin.
Adel is a fair-trade organization founded in 2009, which opened its first shop in 2012. Its goal is to support Palestinian agriculture, while offering the buyers fresh produce from organic or sensible agriculture, guaranteed traceability, and with full transparency. On Adel’s shelves, you can find peppers, eggplants, zucchini, oranges, and all kinds of spices, bags of lentils – red, white, black – chickpeas, boulgour, condiments, sundried tomatoes, juices, honey, jam, olive oil… You will also find eggs, milk, cheese, and fermented yoghurt.
“After the second Intifada and the building of the wall, a lot of Palestinians lost a great part of their income. We created this system to offer work to marginalized families”, explained Rima Younes, 33, co-founder of Adel. “We also wanted to offer quality products, which emphasize local and traditional know-how and with little to no additives.”
The co-op offers, in the fall of 2014, a selection of 102 products made in all the cities of the West Bank. Demand is soaring. The Gaza War in the summer of 2014 reinforced the boycott of Israeli products and brought in new clients.
Adel holds a market in Ramallah every Saturday and occasionally in Bethlehem.
Lawain is a bar/nightclub hybrid, a unique place in Ramallah and probably the most alternative space in Palestine for music. It is near Manara Square. Between its hip-hop/funk, electro or house parties, Lawain also hosts acoustic rock concerts: it became the place to go for the party-going youth of Ramallah. Closed on Mondays, Lawain often offers DJ-sets, with varying quality although most of them are good.
UPDATE: Lawain has since shut its doors.
Learn more about Ramallah – including the best places to sleep, eat and drink – at paltrips.ps.
See Humans of Bethlehem.
See Humans of Nablus.