Jifna Preserves the Presence of Ancient Christianity

By Bassam Almohor

In the middle of the valley to the north of Ramallah is a small evergreen, quiet, and peaceful village called Jifna. Its history goes back to a millennium before Christ when it was first mentioned in the Old Testament as “Ophni” and “Gophna,”* although the village was renamed Jifna, which means “the vines,” as it is known for its grapevines. Later on, Jifna appeared in the renown Madaba mosaic map as a town with two towers and a gate. Jifna is also mentioned in a tenth-century inscription on a stone above the gate of St. George’s Monastery in Wadi Qelt near Jericho. Continue reading “Jifna Preserves the Presence of Ancient Christianity”

Mazari al-Nubani

In the middle of the village lies a clean, recently renovated piazza called As-Saha that contains a large fortified Ottoman-style building. A quiet neighborhood attracts visitors to explore the five-acre old town of Mazari al-Nubani, a village located in the heart of the middle mountain range of Palestine, rising 510 meters above the Mediterranean Sea. (Lat.: 32.04919833, Long.: 35.16583333)

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The Iraqi Army Martyrs Graveyard

Every time I think of our history, I become nauseated. I cannot finish even one history book about the loss of modern Palestine and how it was occupied, suppressed, taken, blockaded, divided, mined, and stolen. But something powerful drags us towards remembering tragedy, death, and loss. Here, we remember the Iraqi Army Martyrs Graveyard in Nablus (32.2171, 35.295).

Hidden among cypress trees inside the campus of Nablus Secondary Industrial School and protected by a low wall with an arched cement gate is a cemetery of forgotten Iraqi soldiers who were killed by the Zionist forces in the battle of Palestine in 1948. The cemetery contains the remains of around 200 mainly Iraqi soldiers, in addition to some other Arab soldiers from neighboring countries, including Lebanon and Jordan. Continue reading “The Iraqi Army Martyrs Graveyard”

The Old Town of Der Istya

By Bassam Almohor

In the heart of the central Palestinian heights lies Deir Istya in the midst of a sea of evergreen olive groves. Deir Istya lies 440 meters above sea level and is located some 15 kilometers southwest of Nablus and about 25 kilometers north of Ramallah as the crow flies. Deir Istya was part of the Nablus governorate until 1995, when the Palestinian cabinet named Salfit a governorate and included Deir Istya within its boundaries.
(Location: 32.1307667, 35.1402191)

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Faqu’a Iris (Prickly Pear) Trail

By Bassam Almohor

Trail: Faqu’a Iris (Prickly Pear) Trail (circular)
Grade: Easy
Surface: Dirt road and part paved
Marked: Partially
Distance and duration: 2.5 km/1.5 mile; 2 hours
Elevation change: 79m ascent / 68m descent
Start coordinates: 32.49361111, 35.40194444

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The Palestinian Sports Museum

By Bassam Almohor

Next to Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium in the town of Ar-Ram, on the northern outskirts of Jerusalem, stands the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), surrounded by the apartheid wall from the west and the south. Within this spacious building and through support from the president of the Palestinian Football Association, Major General Jibril Rajoub, a first-of-its-kind museum was recently established to document major Palestinian sports activities and sports collectibles. The museum director, Daoud Metwalli, took on the responsibility of collecting, maintaining, classifying, and presenting items of Palestinian sports heritage since 1900.


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