The village of Bani Naim lies south of Bethlehem and 8 km west of Hebron, surrounded by spectacular high desert landscapes. Here and among the hills and neighboring villages the eye is drawn to unexpected variations in landscape, astonishing vistas from mountain trails, and the colors of meadow and grape and wheat fields, interspersed with the familiar shapes and features of the traditional architecture of rural Palestine. Bani Naim and the villages of this CLC and its region are blessed with shrines, mosques, synagogues, villas and other remains left by the people, their leaders and prophets, who lived here earlier – Canaanite, Hebrew, Roman, Christian, and Muslim. These vary in size and antiquity, from the excavated remains of the early settlement of Hebron (Tel Rumeida) and the great Ibrahimi Mosque, burial site of Abraham and his family, sacred to Muslims, Jews and Christians, to the humble shrine to Abraham’s nephew Lut (Lot) in the center of Bani Naim.
Those passing through these villages will find ample signs of the activities of residents today in the museums and women’s associations which display traditional embroidery, works of local women artists, and carpets still made here for sale in international markets. The environmental museum in Bani Naim has taken as its mission the protection of wildlife and exhibition of endangered species of the animals and birds you might see on your walks.
Hebron, one of Palestine’s largest cities and an important economic center, proudly displays not only its historic buildings but sophisticated modern factories that produce food products and textiles. This Center of Local Culture will introduce this region, its history and people through hiking trails, horseback riding, dinner in a Bedouin tent, conversations with women from local associations, workshops where you will learn about– and perhaps participate in–traditional songs and dances.
Sights and treks include:
- The Tomb of Abraham and the Shrine of Lot
- Hike the “al-Qasrain”, a scenic mountain trail
- Modern factories producing dairy products and keffiyehs
- Traditional workplaces producing traditional carpets and glass
- Learn to dance the dabka
- A 4th century synagogue and a Russian church
- Swim in the Dead Sea and ride a horse in Bani Naim
- Wander the paths of a beautiful and bounteous landscape.