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Ramallah

293 bytes added, 23:45, 22 February 2013
added listing hostel in ramallah
'''Ramallah''' (Arabic رام الله ''Rāmallāh'') is a small city (population, approximately 57,000) in the Palestinian Territories, located within the West Bank region, some 15 km (10 miles) north of Jerusalem. Since the inception of the Palestinian National Authority, Ramallah has acted as the de facto capital city of the Palestinian administration.
 
Modern Ramallah was founded in the mid-16th century by the Haddadins, a Jordanian tribe of brothers descended from Ghassanid Christian Arabs. The Haddadins, led by Rashid Haddadin, arrived from east of the Jordan River near the Jordanian town of Shoubak. The Haddadin migration is attributed to fighting and unrest among clans in that area. According to modern living descendents of original Haddadin family members, Rahid's brother Sabra Haddadin was hosting Emir Ibn Kaysoom, head of a powerful Muslim clan in the region, when Sabra's wife gave birth to a baby girl. According to custom, the Emir proposed a betrothal to his own young son when they came of age. Sabra believed the proposal was in jest, as Muslim-Christian marriages were not customary, and gave his word. When the Emir later came to the Haddadins and demanded that they fulfill their promise, they refused. This set off bloody conflict between the two families. The Haddadins fled west and settled on the hilltops of Ramallah, where only a few Muslim families lived at the time. Today although town has a Muslim majority, Ramallah retains it's title as a historically Christian Palestinian town
 
Ramallah is known for its religiously relaxed atmosphere—alcohol flows freely and movie theaters are well attended—and the cafes along its main streets. Ramallah is, without question, the cultural capital of the West Bank, with a highly educated and fashionable population. It is also the hub of Palestinian feminist activity; the city’s women frequently attend university rather than marry early, and several cafes run exclusively by women are used to fund local feminist organizations.
 
 
==Understand==
Modern Ramallah was founded in the mid-16th century by the Haddadins, a Jordanian tribe of brothers descended from Ghassanid Christian Arabs. The Haddadins, led by Rashid Haddadin, arrived from east of the Jordan River near the Jordanian town of Shoubak. The Haddadin migration is attributed to fighting and unrest among clans in that area. According to modern living descendents of original Haddadin family members, Rahid's brother Sabra Haddadin was hosting Emir Ibn Kaysoom, head of a powerful Muslim clan in the region, when Sabra's wife gave birth to a baby girl. According to custom, the Emir proposed a betrothal to his own young son when they came of age. Sabra believed the proposal was in jest, as Muslim-Christian marriages were not customary, and gave his word. When the Emir later came to the Haddadins and demanded that they fulfill their promise, they refused. This set off bloody conflict between the two families. The Haddadins fled west and settled on the hilltops of Ramallah, where only a few Muslim families lived at the time. Today, although the town has a Muslim majority, Ramallah retains it's title as a historically Christian Palestinian town
==Get in==
Tourists with passports issued from outside the Middle East have no problem entering or exiting Ramallah. Make sure to have your passport and visa stamp with you. Even though you will probably not need your passport to enter, you will be required to show your passport and stamp in order to re-enter Israel. Once through the checkpoint, it is a short drive to downtown Ramallah. Bear in mind that , under Israeli law, it is illegal for Israelis to enter Ramallah, under Israeli law.
===By plane===
===By train===
There is no train service or train stations in Ramallah and nor the rest cities of the west bank.
===By car===
===By taxi===
From Jerusalem's Damascus Gate you can find taxis to Ramallah for approximately 80₪80-100NIS 100 depending on your bargaining skills. You can also take a taxi to Qalandia checkpoint and walk through, picking up another taxi on the other side. It costs about 30 NIS ₪30 from Qalandia to Ramallah centre.
===By bus===
The '''best connection from Jerusalem to Ramallah is the #18 Bus/Sherut/service taxi'''. It departs close to Damascus Gate on Nablus Rd. It is very cheap (7,₪7.30 NIS) and will take you all the way to Ramallah's central square of al-Manara.
==Get around==
It is easy to find a taxi to get around Ramallah (for 10 NIS ₪10 fixed charge, or the amount specified by the fare-meter). Car rentals are also available, but seldom needed. As the city center is relatively small, it is not hard to walk to most destinations downtown (including the old city.) Service shuttles (shared taxis) are also available from downtown to most suburbs and to the outskirts of the city at relatively low prices (2,5 NIS ₪2.50 inside the city and up to 6 NIS ₪6 to nearby towns and villages). Make sure to confirm a price before getting into a taxi. Ramallah is a good location for visitors to get to other Northern West Bank cities such as [[Nablus]] and [[Jenin]]
==See==
 
The city is one of the most vibrant ones in the West Bank. In Ramallah, a few historic and religious sites are present. However, the downtown streets are a must see during the day, as the city is often really congested. The 'hisbeh' produce market is also a great place to visit, where fresh fruits and vegetables can be found at reasonable prices.
During the night, a good number of shops are still open, especially during the summer. A common habit of the citizens of the city is going out for a drink, dinner, or a 'Argila' (flavoured tobacco waterpipe.) The cities various coffee shops, bars, and restaurants are a must see/visit. The nicer ones are often available closer the older city, and on the road going to Betunia, while some good ones can also be found outside the city center.
There is a turkish Turkish bath in the twin-city of El-Bireh, a good destination for foreigners wanting to relax for the day.
The West Bank headquarters of the Palestinian Authority is also worth a visit. The Mukata'a is a two-block compound with a white tower that is lit up at night and visible from most parts of the city. It contains some government offices and conference rooms, as well as Yasser Arafat's mausoleum next to the building where he was held under seige siege by the Israeli Army in 2002.
==Do==
Tourism, in the traditional sense, is almost non-existent in Ramallah compared to other cities in the region. If you are visting Ramallah, it is probable that you are doing so for political, business, and/or humanitarian reasons - expect to have lots of staring, curious (but '''always''' friendly) eyes looking at you as you walk though town. Many international visitors to Ramallah come to get taxi rides to see the protests in the neighbouring villages (like Nabi Saleh and the world famous Bil'in protests) against Israel's separation barrier. The city's active nightlife and its relatively liberal culture makes it a hot destination for visitors from other cities including Jersualem during the weeknights and weekends.
Tourism, in the traditional sense, is almost non-existant in Ramallah compared to other cities in the region. If you are visting Ramallah, it is probable that you are doing so for political, business, and/or humanitarian reasons - expect to have lots of staring, curious (but '''always''' friendly) eyes looking at you as you walk though town. Many international visitors to Ramallah come to get taxi rides to see the protests in the neighbouring villages (like Nabi Saleh and the world famous Bil'in protests) against Israel's seperation barrier. The city's active nightlife and its relatively liberal culture makes it a hot destination for visitors from other cities including Jersualem during the weeknights and weekends. While there, it is easy to make small talk with the locals. Unless you are firmly anti-Israeli occupation, it is advisable that you do more listening than actual talking yourself, however. For the most part, Palestinians are glad to share their problems and plight to with any western visitors. However, do not force any topic.
==Learn==
Ramallah is the home of the Friends School in the Palestinian Territories. The school has two campuses, one for grades 1-6 and is located near the old city. The other is for grades 7-12 and is located near the old police station destroyed by an Israeli air strike. The schools are famous for their international learning environment, intensive english English language focus, and liberal learning atmosphere. The schools are private and have a number of notable Palestinian alumni.
The city also has a number of public and private schools that serve a good number of the West Bank youth population. Private schools with specific religious affiliations can also be found.
For foreigners, work opportunities tend to include consultancies in certain private sector markets - IT is most common. The vast majority of foreigners working in Ramallah are doing development or humanitarian work. A significant number are focused on human rights and advocacy. A number of UN agencies work directly in the West Bank and many, such as the UNDP, maintain office in Ramallah.
Volunteering opportunities are common in small and medium sized Palestinian NGOs as well as some international NGOs. Volunteering is an excellent way to get to understand an organisation and the field they operate in. Most local NGOs will appreciate foreign volunteers, particularly if they have good written English skills, enabling them to support fundraising fund raising work. Volunteers are often paid small sums to cover basic travel costs but this varies. If you are planning to volunteer, have enough money to support yourself as Ramallah is not a cheap place to live.
==Buy==
Butchers - Meat / Chicken
Butchers in Ramallah normally sell meat (Beef/Lamb) or chicken. If they sell both, they are separated and attended by different people. One of the best butchers is on Tireh Street about 1km from Al-Manara. The butcher will cut the meat to your specification and will mince it for you while you wait for no extra charge. If you ask for barbeque meat, you will also get a mix of coriandarcoriander, garlic and spices ready for BBQ.
Juice
Palestinians seem to love fresh fruit-juice. For under 10 NIS ₪10 you can get a large juice with a mixture of anything from Pomegranate to Orange juice. On Al-Manara square, Silwadi juice shop is the most famous and has been around for decades. Silwadi's something of a purist - if you want a 'cocktail' which includes ice-cream, nuts and dried fruit as well as chocolate sauce (10 NIS₪10) head to the other side of the square.
Other Shopping
The '''Arabic variety of ice-cream''' in many places in Ramallah is worth trying - a very different and more gooey and sticky version of what is available in the west. Regular ice cream can be found everywhere also. Try "Rukab's" and "Baladna" ice cream shops on the main street.
You can also have a delicious dish of fresh fish or other seafood dishes at "Fish and Chips" resturanet restaurant located in the old city. You can choose your favourite fresh fish from Palestine Fishery and ask the chef to prepare that fish for you in the way you like. They also prepare very delicious fish sandwiches at resonable reasonable prices.
For those who want more American/Western food, there is a "Checkers" fast-food joint in the mini-mall and on the main street. There is also "Chicago Cheese Steak" on Manara Square. Try "Tomasso's" pizza for a nice pizza dine-in or take-out.
Ramallah offers a wide variety of coffeeshops coffee shops ranging from the local low-scale ones serving Arabic Coffee for 2 NIS₪2, to those fancy places serving the same item for 10 ₪10- 15 NIS. Try the Arabic drinks (arabic coffee, mint tea, sahleb, etc ), cappucinos and lattes, and fresh juices and cocktails at the numerous cafes around downtown and in the suburbs. Also try "European" and "Karameh" on main street.
===Budget===
A filling falafel or hummous pita sandwich with a drink should run you around 4₪4-6 NIS (1.5 U$D) from any of the common downtown restaurants. At nicer restaurants, such a combination will run you a bit more. Saba, Nazareth, and Abu Khalil in al Tireh Street are the best Falafel shops in Ramallah.
===Mid-range===
A large Shawerma, Kebab, or Chicken sandwich goes for around 10₪10-15 (2.5 U$D) in most restaurants. A hamburger, fries, and a drink go for around 15₪15-25 NIS depending on the restaurant. Abu Alabed is an excellent Shawerma place located in the old city next to fish and chips restaurant. "Big Bite" located at the end of the main street offers a wide range of hot and cold sandwiches.
*<eat name="Ziryab" alt="" address="Main Street" directions="just past the Jawwal office" phone="" url="http://www.ziryab-restaurant.com" hours="12-midnight" price="50₪50-100 NIS" lat="" long="">Ziryab is great in winter with a large open fireplace and good food. The prices are average. Alcohol is available.</eat>
===Splurge===
The city has a number of upscale restaurants. A nice steak or seafood dish will cost around 80 NIS (20 U$D)₪80. "Darna", "Angelo's", "Azure" are all nice options for upscale dining.
* <eat name="Tropicana" alt="" address="" directions="Massyoun, behind the Quds Bank" phone="" email="" fax="" url="http://tropicana.ps/" hours="" price="">A moderately-priced gourmet restaurant. Especially in summer, you can sit in the garden, and apart from the traditional Arabic food, they also serve European and Armenian dishes.</eat>
Most neighborhoods, particularly traditionally Christian ones have a couple of stores that sell beer, wine and spirits.
*<drink name="Silwadi Juice Shop" alt="" address="al-Manara Square" directions="Right on the central square in Ramallah" phone="" url="" hours="7am to midnight" price="Under 10NIS₪10" lat="" long="">Silwadi juice shop is the most famous juice shop in Ramallah. It has been in the same place for decades. They only serve fresh juice. Choose from a variety of seasonal fruits (and vegetables).</drink>*<drink name="Snobar" alt="" address="Masaif (al-Irsal)" directions="10 minutes from the centre off the left from al-Irsal street)" phone="" url="" hours="Evenings" price="20 NIS ₪20 for a beer" lat="" long="">Snobar is an open-air summer bar about 5 minutes in a taxi from the centre of the city. Snobar means pine tree in Arabic and the area is enclosed by tall pines. There is an outdoor swimming pool which is open in the afternoons. Food and alcohol available.</drink>*<drink name="Beit Anisa" alt="" address="Al-Masyoun Area" directions="Turn left at the lights next to the HSBC on Beitunya Road" phone="" url="" hours="" price="25 NIS ₪25 for a Beerbeer" lat="" long="">Beit Anisa is Ramallah's latest addition to the nightlife and feels more like a bar in London's Soho. It attracts a mixture of locals, foreigners and others. Alcohol available.</drink>*<drink name="Orjwan" alt="" address="Al-Masyoun Area" directions="Near the Sakakini Centre" phone="" url="" hours="Evenings" price="20₪20-30 NIS for a Beerbeer" lat="" long="">Orjwan is Ramallah's premium nightspot attracting the higher echelons. Holiday-snaps from Orjwan might not look out of place with those from New York or London.</drink>*<drink name="Taybeh Beer Brewery" alt="" address="" directions="Taybeh village, negotiate a wage for taxi ride from Ramallah's bus station or catch a serveese to Taybeh" phone="" url="http://www.taybehbeer.com/Home.html" hours="" price="5 NIS ₪5 per beer" lat="" long="">Run and operated by the Palestinian-American Khoury family, this is the only micro-brewery in the Middle East. It creates the famous Palestinian beer called "Taybeh" and gets it's name from the village that it is made in (the only 100% Palestinian Christian village in Palestine). They offer a tour of their factory and have a gift shop and fresh and very, very, very cheap beer on sale. The village of Taybeh also hosts it's very own Oktoberfest-style festival on the first week of October in Taybeh village</drink>
===Coffee shops===
You can order normal ('aadi') or fresh ('fresh'). Fresh means the tobacco is placed in a piece of fruit like an orange (or even a watermelon). It has a smoother flavour but is more expensive. You should also choose your flavour. Common flavours are double-apple ('tufateen') and lemon and mint ('limun-w-nana').
Depending on the location and type of restaurant of cafe, the price of smoking a nice and soothing tobacco waterpipe costs anywhere between 8₪8-30 NIS (2-8 U$D). The cheapest places do have an unwritten men-only rule, however.
* Baladna (next to Rukab icecream) is a cheap 'Coffee Shop' with an un-written men-only rule. It is packed every day for most of the evening. A normal Arghila is about 8 NIS₪8.
* Tarwee'a (Main Street/Tireh Street near the Arab Bank) is a midrange 'Coffee Shop' which accepts men and women.
Cigarettes can be bought from most grocery shops and supermarkets. Most international brands can be found, in addition to locally produced ones. A pack of imported cigarettes costs around 15 NIS (4 U$D₪15.)
==Sleep==
{{style|Prices should be listed in shekels (₪), not foreign currencies, as dictated by the guidelines at [[Wikitravel:Currency]].}}
*<sleep name="hostel in ramallah" alt="" address="city center" directions="from the bus station first ally right " phone="0569636963" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="60" lat="" long="">its the only hostel in ramallah </sleep>
===Budget===
Some older downtown hotel go for around 100₪100-150 NIS (US$20-35).
*<sleep name="Al Wehdeh Hotel" alt="" address="Al Nahdah Street" directions="" phone="972 02 298 0412" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="single 100 NIS₪100" lat="sch" long="">Great Hotel, but a little run down but by far the cheapest and nicest owners in town. Nice garden and good hot water. </sleep>
*<sleep name="Merryland Hostel" alt="" address="3rd floor of Al Ramoni building" directions="" phone="972 2 298 7176" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Single 100 NIS₪100, Double 120 NISdouble ₪120" lat="" long="">No dormitories, so not really a hostel.</sleep>
* '''Al-Hajjal''' +972 02 298 7858 located on Jaffa Road
==Stay safe==
 Generally speaking, Ramallah is safe for non-Israeli foreigners. The Palestinian residents are usually quite happy to have foreign nationals visit them. Theft is relatively rare, although do not interpret that statement as an OK to let your guard down.
Bear in mind that although Ramallah has been under military occupation since 1967, the city is relatively stable. However, very rarely the Israeli military enters the city to arrest wanted Palestinians. This usually only happens in the dead of night, and they disappear before anyone realizes that they were there. However, the Israeli military can enter Ramallah bluntly, and in large numbers. If this should happen while you are staying in Ramallah, do what the majority of Palestinians do, and stay inside until they leave and away from any soldiers or military vehicles. Do not assume that just because you are a foreign national that you will be safe.
That said, Ramallah hasn't seen any widespread violence since 2006 and it is highly unlikely to happen (unless there are escalations with Israel, which will be very apparent via international media). In the cases where When the Israelis enter, it is usually to arrest a wanted Palestinian in an outskirts a refugee camp in the middle of the nighton the outskirts. They will rarely enter the city centre, so as to avoid an unnecessary confrontation with large crowds of civilians.
[[de:Ramallah]]
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