Palestine is an autonomy, including adjoining territories of Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It shares its borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. The capital cities are Jerusalem and Ramallah.
The climate in the country is subtropical. In some regions, the climate is temperate and dry tropical. Wellness resorts on the coast of the Dead Sea except the tourists all the year round.
The Palestinians practice Islam. The official language is Arabic.
The lovers to spend time on a beach can visit the resorts on the coasts of the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. On the Mediterranean Sea, the touristic infrastructure is not very well developed, but the beaches in Gaza are clean. The Dead Sea is world-known as a spa resort because of its salts beneficial for health.
If you like out-of-town holidays, go to Bethlehem, the place of birth of Jesus Christ and King David. The tourists will find interesting a trip to Ramallah, where they can see the mausoleum of the former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. In Nablus, the tourists usually visit the tombs, cathedrals, and the Osman kasbah. In Hebron, everyone can see the ancient monuments of civilisation.
Those who like city entertainments should stay in Jerusalem. There is Haram al-Sharif or a Temple Mount, the third most important Islamic Holy Site in the world. Go to Ramallah for a good shopping.
In Palestine, there are no working airports and that is why, there are no direct flights from CIS and EU countries. The tourists can get to Palestine from Israel.
Transaero, Aeroflot, S7, El Al offer regular flights from Moscow to Tel Aviv. The tourists can also get to Israel from Saint Petersburg, Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don, Novosibirsk, and Yekaterinburg.
Air Baltic offers a transit flight from Moscow and Saint Petersburg to Tel Aviv with a transfer in Riga.
There are regular flights between European countries and Israel.
One can get to Palestine by land from Jordan (West Bank) and Egypt (Gaza Stripe).
We recommend the tourists taking a car to drive to the border crossing between Palestine and Israel.
Palestine does not have its own policy concerning the foreign tourists. The outer borders of the West Bank are under control of Israel. One can enter Palestine from Jordan or Israel.
The citizens of Russia do not have to obtain a visa to travel to Palestine. They can stay in the country visa-free for days. Other foreign tourists must obtain a special permission of the military administration.
Before coming to Palestine, we strongly recommend you consulting with the authorities of Israel.
If the foreigners are going to visit Bethlehem, Jericho and other pilgrimage places in Palestine as part of a touristic group, the permission is obtained by the company which arranges this tour.
Formally, in Palestine there is no Customs. The tourists are subject to the Customs rules of Israel. The import and export of any currency is not limited.
The tourists can import the following things duty-free:
- perfume (250 ml);
- gifts (the total cost must not exceed 200 US dollars);
- personal belongings;
- photo and motion picture camera (except video cameras);
- alcohol and tobacco;
- tape recorders, audio receivers;
- typing machines;
- sports equipment.
It is not allowed to take pets and plants without a special permission.
The objects of art and antiquities and data storage devices (computers and video gadgets) can be imported provided they are declared and upon the security.
If the weight of exported antiquities is less than 1.7 kilogrammes, it is considered a handmade item and it can be exported only with the written agreement of the authorities.
The Palestinian cuisine is typically Arabic. What is special about the dishes in this country is that they add locally grown herbs, greens, mint, olives, and lemons.
The Palestinians prefer poultry, mutton, and veal. Meat is usually served with potatoes or rice. In Palestine, you should try Shawarma (flatbread with greens and meat), Mansaf (mutton stew with fermented milk sauce), Laban (lentils with chicken, lime sauce and onion). Shish Kebab and Mashavi (local meat mix)are also very popular. The locals often serve Molokhia substantial thick soup with rice, garlic, and lemon juice.
The Palestinians like poultry. We recommend Maqluba (chicken and vegetables stew) and Musakhkhan (chicken roasted in olive oil).
Salads and vegetable ragouts are common side dishes. Try Hummus and Falafel (mashed peas with greens).
Tkhenia (pea paste with spices) and Moutabel (eggplant dip) gained popularity among the tourists.
It is impossible to imagine the Palestinian table without white bread Ragyf and flatbread Kmazh. They use it instead of spoons.
Palestine is a gastronomical paradise for those who have a sweet tooth. Palestinian sweets, just like Jordan desserts, are considered to be the best in Arabic cuisine. Cookies with sesame, cheese pastry Kanafah, and pies Gatef. You can try it all in Palestine.
Traditional drinks are tea and coffee. The locals drink tea with sugar and mint. Coffee is served with cardamom and without sugar. The taste of any dessert is better revealed if you drink it with brown coffee Wasat or black coffee Qahwa Arabia.
In Palestine, they produce traditional for the Middle East beverage Arack. It is a low alcohol anise-based drink.
Palestine does not have its own currency.
On the territory of the country, the tourists can pay with Israeli shekels, Jordan dinars, Euros, and US dollars. In Gaza Stripe, they use Egyptian pounds.
The tourists can exchange the currency at banks and in licensed exchange offices. Hotels and large malls accept freely convertible currencies. Be aware that the change is commonly given in shekels. On the markets, in public transport, and in small shops only shekels are accepted.
One can pay with credit cards in malls and hotels in large cities. There are ATMs in the capital city.
Because of the escalation of the conflict between Palestine and Israel, the international tourism has been virtually completely terminated. The tourists can feel relatively safe in the hotels in large cities where the United Nations and humanitarian funds staff live.
Details of interest
You have found your travel companions and settled all the formalities. Now it is time to decide what sights to see, what places to visit and what souvenirs to buy.
Customs and Traditions in Palestine
On the territory of Palestine, rules of behaviour are applied that are generally accepted in all Arabic countries. Avoid wearing provocative and revealing clothes, choose clothes covering your legs and arms. In Palestine, people hold a negative opinion of drinking alcohol in public places.
Sightseeing in Palestine
- Bethlehem is the largest pilgrimage centre in the world. According to the New Testament, it was here that Jesus Christ and King David were born. The main places of pilgrimage are the Church of Nativity with Grotto, Beit Sahour, and the St. Elias Monastery.
- Hebron is the oldest populated city in the world. The city is situated 1.000 meters above the sea. The tourists can see the main Holy Places here such as Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi which is above the Cave of Machpelah and the Abraham’s Oak Holy Trinity Monastery. Hebron is a commercial and cultural centre of the southern Jewish zone.
- The Herodion Fortress. The ruins of the old fortified palace of Herod are a must-see. It opens an amazing view over the Dead Sea. The palace is a large city with gardens and fountains.
- The Solomon’s Pools. To the south of Bethlehem, one can see the ruins of ancient hydraulic structures. There are three huge stone reservoirs. The project was carried out under a strict control of Pontius Pilate. Near the Pools, there is the Ottoman Fortress erected in the 17th century.
- Jeriho is believed to be the most ancient city in the world. It is situated 260 meters below the sea. The first settlement appeared there 10.000 years ago. The tourists can visit the Mount of Temptation Monastery with the oldest stairs in the world and ancient fortifications.
- The Cave of St. Jerome and the Monument to St. Jerome in Bethlehem.
- The palace Hishiama near Jeriho. This amazing winter palace consists of administrative buildings, pools, a mosque, the courtyard of the guard, and the private rooms of khalifah.
- The Holy Lavra of St. Sabbas the Sanctified. This monastery is the most colossal historical and architectural monument in Judea.
- The Monastery of the Temptation was built in the 6th century. This monastery was erected on the place where there was a cave. As the legend says, Jesus Christ lived in this cave. The Monastery opens a view over the valley of the Jordan river.
- The Mosque Nabi Musa is a place where the pilgrims gather every year. This is a well-preserved example of the medieval Islamic architecture.
Souvenirs in Palestine
- Olive tree crafts, Oriental sweets, pilgrim’s cross, wooden and precious metal jewellery. You can buy it all in Bethlehem.
- In Nablus, the tourists can buy traditional olive soap and essential oils.
- Hebron is the place where you can buy unique Hebron glass.