Palestine is a region rich in history, culture, tradition, and holds treasures of great importance for three major world religions: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. The landscape has seen a dynamic history, which today, draws interest from people around the world. The Palestinian people are known for their hospitality, fascinating cultural traditions, and warm welcoming of visitors. Read below to learn more about this incredible place!
- Based on numerous hieroglyphs in Egyptian documents, Palestine’s original name has been transliterated as “Peleset.”
- “Palestine” has its origins from the word “Philista”, created by Greek writers to the region of the Philistines.
- Palestine’s government is a Parliamentary democracy with a bicameral legislature. The President is elected every four years and is currently Mahmoud Abbas. The Prime Minister is considered the Head of Government.
- Several currencies are commonly used in Palestine: the US dollar, Jordanian dinars, and Israeli new shekels. The Egyptian pound is also accepted in Gaza.
- The current population of Palestine is about 4.5 million people, with the majority living in the West Bank.
- The Dead Sea, which is Earth’s lowest natural point of elevation, is found in Palestine.
- Tourism as a large part of the Palestinian economy. Other predominant sectors include quarrying and the building stone industry, cement production, textiles, soap, olive-wood carvings and olive-related industries, and mother of pearl souvenirs.
- The stone industry is the largest sector of the Palestinian economy. There are over 650 stone production sites in the West Bank, 138 of which are in Beit Fajjar. Quarried stones are cut int a range of pink, golden, sand, and off-white tiles and bricks which are known as Jerusalem stone. A significant portion of these stones are exported to Jordan, Europe, and North America.
- For many centuries, olives have been a central part of Palestinian life, culture, and tradition. With over 45% of land in the country dedicated to olive trees, it is no surprise that they are a highly revered and treasured aspect of Palestine’s identity.
- The majority of the population is Muslim, although there is also a large population of Christians as well.
- Christmas is celebrated 3 times each year. The first of which is December 25th, per western tradition, followed by January 6th per Greek Orthodox tradition, and finally on January 18th, as per Armenian tradition.
- The Church of Nativity, which is considered the birthplace of Jesus Christ is regarded as a sacred place by both Christians and Muslims alike. It is also one of the world’s oldest churches!
- Ramadan is a holy month in Islam which includes fasting from sunrise to sunset. Because the majority of Palestinians are Muslim, Palestinian businesses adjust accordingly. Most all shops close before sunset. Most restaurants are also closed during the day, with the exception of some hotels catering to tourists. It can be considered offensive to those who are fasting to eat, drink, or smoke out in public during this holy month.
- Palestine is known for some of the most beautiful wildflowers in the world, popping into the existence mostly in April and May. These include irises, jonquils, wild poppies, and other vibrant species of flowers which paint the colorful hillsides during a short spring season.
- There are several species of large wild animals in Palestine as well! These include foxes, mountain gazelles, Nubian Ibex (a desert-dwelling species of goat), wild boar, wolves, jackals, leopards, hyenas, and many types of migratory birds as well!
Palestine is a magical place that truly draws attention and love from people all around the world! If you would like to learn more, be sure to read our previous blogs, and you can also check out http://travelpalestine.ps/ for more information, the official site for tourism in Palestine.