| Palestinian women dress in traditional costumes of the regions of Palestine. The traditional dress, the Thoub, is decorated in complex tatreez embroidery. The colour of the embroidery, the background fabric and the style of the thoub, denote the area that is home to a costume. Headwear differs from area to area with the tall flower-pot style most common in the Bethlehem region and the head-hugging coin-ringed scarf most common in the Ramallah area.
Palestine is a place where modern life and ancient culture and traditions live side by side. This deep contrast between ancient and modern and the warm welcome and sharing of the Palestinian people, create the uniqueness that distinguishes a visit to Palestine.
Jericho with its cooler, milder climate, is steeped in history. As the oldest continually inhabited city in the world, it is also home to a modern resort and casino which attracts visitors from Europe and the Middle East.
Taybeh is home to Palestine’s only brewery. The brewery exports to European markets and holds an Oktoberfest celebration each year attracting visitors from around the world who come to enjoy the beer and the local musical and dance acts.
Ramallah, the centre of government, is a bustling commercial centre. Restaurants serve local cuisine based on local produce while the jewellery shops of Ramallah are particularly stunning, catering to local and traditional demands and also producing world-class contemporary designs.
To wander through East Jerusalem is to experience another world. Beautiful local crafts such as red and black tatreez embroideries, blue glazed pottery and hand made glass, compete with open-fronted shops selling spices, dried fruits, sweets, fresh bread, fruit and vegetables and other everyday items. As a centre for Christianity, Islam and Judaism, visitors can see the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Haram Al Sharif which is the second most holy site within Islam, and the Western Wall which is a site of prayer and reflection for Jewish tradition.
Bethlehem and its neighbouring village of Beit Sahour, is a must in any visit to Palestine. Visitors can see the spot where tradition says Jesus was born and where the angels appeared to the shepherds. Afterwards, Manger Square which is ringed with café’s, provides a place to sit and drink in the rich diversity of Palestinian life.
Often perceived as a place of uncertainty, the Israeli occupation does not present a problem for visitors to Palestine. Where travel for Palestinians is difficult and often impossible, holders of non-Palestinian passports can travel easily and with minimal delay. Visas are issued by Israel at the point of entry with the most common points of entry being from Jordan through the Sheik Hussein/Allenby Bridge, or the King Hussein Bridge.
Mahmoud Darwish named two aspects of Palestine that make life worth living. The experiences he wrote about are the final days of autumn and the aroma of freshly baked bread at dawn. However there are two more experiences Darwish forgot and these are to gaze across the valleys at the soft grey-green shades of the olive groves, growing since Roman times and to be welcomed by warm and caring Palestinian people, make a visit to Palestine unforgettable.