Ramallah is the capital city of Palestine (West Bank) located in Area A. Things to do in Ramallah Palestine include;
- Tomb of Yasser Arafat
- Photograph with a Palestinian Soldier
- Ramallah Market
- Al-Manara Square (Time Square of Ramallah)
- Various bars and restaurants including Star and Bucks
The most convenient way to visit Ramallah is on a day trip from Jerusalem. I recommend you book this online in advance as spaces are limited. Additionally, you’ll also visit Jericho and Bethlehem. If you do visit independently, Ramallah has a few budget places to stay but it’s recommended you check the current safety situation before visiting.
Tomb of Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat is an important figure in recent Palestine history. He died in 2004 aged 75 under mysterious circumstances. When he was alive his office was located at Mukataa. Mukataa is now a mausoleum in his honor which is 11 meters high by 11 meters wide. This signifies that he died in November, the 11th month of the year. Today, Mukataa is a mausoleum as well as the headquarters of the Palestinian authority. You’re welcome to enter the mausoleum and pay respect, additionally, you can take photos in here.
Photograph with a Palestinian Soldier
In Ramallah you’ll see Palestinian soldiers, they are very friendly towards foreigners therefore don’t be afraid to ask them for a photo. I did ask if I could have a picture holding his gun but he declined and laughed about it. This soldier (above) was guarding the Mukataa, the headquarters of the Palestinian authority. If you wish to take a photo with a Palestinian soldier I recommend you ask the ones at the Mukataa.
Al-Manara Square (Time Square of Ramallah)
Al-Manara Square is the center of the city of Ramallah, often referred to as Time Square. Whilst walking around Ramallah the locals will often shout ‘welcome’ or ‘welcome to the occupied territories’ they are very friendly. More importantly, you’ll find lots of traditional restaurants in the center, foodies will love the Palestinian food. For a fantastic view of the city of Ramallah and even Jerusalem, you can visit the top floor of Hostel D. This is also a recommended budget accommodation in Ramallah.
It’s worth taking a walk through Ramallah market, particularly the fruit market. Did some of this come from the fertile ground of Jericho Palestine? These have a blessed water supply from Elisha Spring. I strongly recommend you ask around for fruit from Jericho!
Star and Bucks Cafe
If you are a Starbucks fan then you must try the Palestinian version, Star and Bucks. You’ll find a few of these coffee shops throughout Ramallah and they have done their best to be as good as the original Starbucks. They sell their merchandise and their logo is very similar to the Starbucks logo. As you would expect, the Arabic coffee they serve here is very good too. One large difference with Star and Bucks is that most of the clientele are smoking shisha pipes. As a result, the coffee shop does not have a coffee aroma!
How to get from Ramallah to Bethlehem
The journey from Ramallah takes about 2 hours because you cannot drive directly. You have to drive around the separation wall between Israel and Palestine. For this reason, it’s a unique and interesting journey with the separation wall visible most of the way to Bethlehem.
As I mentioned, I was traveling on a day tour of the West Bank from Jerusalem. I strongly recommend you take this trip as you see a lot without the hassle of working out where you can and cannot go in Palestine.