Characteristics of Living in Ramallah

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Characteristics of Living in Ramallah

 

 The city of Ramallah is considered a unique civilized city. It is beautiful, green, safe, prosperous, and environmentally friendly. It preserves both the cultural andnatural heritage, while it is attractive for tourism and investment, and is nurturing of culture and the arts, in addition to being a city characterized by intellectual, political, and cultural pluralism and its respect for human rights.

Currently the city of Ramallah occupies a political position which makes it one of the most important Palestinian cities, as it is considered the interim administrative capital of the Palestinian state. In it are the seat of the President (Al-Muqata’a), the headquarters of the Prime Minister, the prime ministership, the Palestinian Legislative Council, the Ministries’ Complex, the main headquarters of the Palestinian security services in the West Bank, in addition to most of the PLO offices and its factions, and the ministries. It is also home to most, if not all, representative offices, consulates, and embassies operating within the State of Palestine or the Palestinian Authority, as well as the offices of the United Nations organizations, and many Palestinian, Arab, and foreign civil institutions, while the city of Ramallah has a symbolic status for being home to the tomb of the martyr President Yasser Arafat.
Ramallah is also considered the cultural capital not only due to the presence of a large number of Palestinian and foreign cultural centers that are active in the city, and not only because it has the first cultural palace in Palestine (the Ramallah Cultural Palace), or only because it is home to the tomb of the great poet Mahmoud Darwish and his museum, but also because its prevailing culture is based on respect for the other, and the sanctification of intellectual freedom and cultural pluralism.

In terms of the economy, the city of Ramallah reflects the image of a prosperous city that is seeing a feverish activity of business and a real estate flurry that has filled it hills with buildings, making it an exception in the economic landscape to the extent that some consider it the economic capital of the Palestinian state.
Located in the Ramallah are the headquarters of the Palestinian Telecommunications companies that provide the West Bank with this service (Jawwal and Al-Wataniya Mobile companies) The Palestinian Telecommunication Group was established in 1995 in Ramallah, and was the first telecommunications company owned by the private sector in the Arab world. It began its operations in January 1997 as an operator and provider for all types of telecommunications services in Palestine. The Jawwal Company was the first Palestinian provider for mobile telecommunication in Palestine before All-Wataniya Mobile company also started providing mobile communications services. It had launched its services commercially in 2009.

The city of Ramallah is characterized with its architectural opulence and social development, which is reflected through its buildings, neighborhoods, and resident congregations. Visitors notice a pleasant visual impression that give them a sense of being as humans due to its humanistic facets, and the sensing of time in both its past and futuristic dimensions of facades, roofs, blocks, and alleys. The city is considered the largest congregation in terms of the number of old buildings in the Ramallah governorate, as it contains 381 old buildings, and constitutes 5% of the total number of buildings in the governorate.

At the beginning of the 1990s, a center concerned with the preservation of the old Palestinian architectural identity in Ramallah and Palestine was established, under the name the Palestinian Centre for Architectural Conservation (Rawaq), which has prepared plans for the protection of buildings in communities, especially those that still maintain their positions and their old architectural weaves, as well as those that contain large numbers of old buildings. The goal is to protect the largest possible percentage of old buildings simply by protecting some communities. Hence approximately 35% of the number of old buildings can be protected by simply protecting the communities that contain more than 200 old buildings.

The planning unit at the Rawaq center has prepared a scheme to preserve the cultural heritage of the old town in Ramallah, where the s and all cultural heritage categories in the historic area (including historic buildings, backyards, alleys, etc) were determined, based on the field study that was conducted by a work team at the site. As a result, the old town has been divided into two areas: Historic District A, which is characterized by a traditional architectural weave and a large number of historic buildings, and Historic District B, which no longer maintains a traditional architectural weave, despite the existence of quite a sizeable number of historic buildings in it.

Individual historic buildings located outside these two districts were identified. Also, special provisions for the regulation of construction activity in those areas were drafted, which were discussed at length with the committee for the revival of the old town, comprised of members of the Ramallah Municipal Council. Part of these provisions was approved by the municipality building code committee as part of its quest to preserve the cultural heritage of the city.

The city of Ramallah also has a number of sports centers and active youth clubs, the establishment of some of which dates back to the beginnings of the twentieth century, while other are new, such as the Ramallah recreational complex, which is owned by the Ramallah Municipality. Some of these clubs include deep-rooted scout groups that have had their presence throughout Palestinian history.

Ramallah also has several charities, mostly women’s, the establishment of some of which dates back to the forties of the twentieth century. These charities, which had multiplied several times over the last two decades, aim to provide support for many societal segments, including women, children, the elderly, disabled persons, orphans, and others.

The city of Ramallah is considered one of the Palestinian cities that is frequented by tourists, and constitutes a major destination for them during their tours. Despite the fact that the city is not one of the ancient cities, yet it is considered one of the Palestinian areas that are most attractive to visitors on the global and Arab levels, in general, and the Palestinian level, in particular. This is due to the city being an important economic center, which has contributed actively to the development of this city in all respects, especially tourism. The crowding in the city means building large and modern tourist facilities that are capable of meeting the needs of its residents. This would lead to a significant increase in the national income. The city also has a center that is concerned with tourism, i.e., the Ramallah Municipality Ramallah Tourist Information Centre.

What distinguish the city of Ramallah are the harmony, variety, and diversity, all in the context of unity. That is why, since over ten years, one notices a remarkable increase in the numbers of those wishing to live in Ramallah, due to this general tendency to accept the other. This has caused Ramallah to become a place that attracts many people from various regions, environments, and religions, especially those who seek security and safety. It has also created a culturally unique diversity, in which everyone found what they sought, leading to the emergence of a diverse city in terms of its culture and tendencies, in the context of a unique framework in a city, which is considered the most open and liberal in the West Bank, prompting some to call it "the soul of Palestinian culture."