Take a walk in the Old City of Bethlehem – experience the past of the town while visiting its historical quarters and enjoy its unique architecture full of beautiful ornaments and decorations.
The Old City of Bethlehem is situated just in its center. The main area consists of seven quarters, laid out in a mosaic style around the Manger Square. The quarters include six Christian and one Muslim quarter. The total population of the old city is about 5,000.
Al-Najajreh is the oldest of the town quarters, located west of Manger Square. The is named after one of the Arab Ghassanid clans that settled in the area. The Ghassanids were a group of South Arabian Christian tribes that emigrated in the early 3rd century from Yemen to Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine.
Al-Farahiyeh is located along the Star Street. The quarter itself was named after a Patriarch named Farah (joy in Arabic), who was a descendant of the first Christian Arabs. His family migrated from the Wadi Musa area in what is contemporary Jordan and settled in Bethlehem after performing a pilgrimage.
Al-Tarajmeh (quarter of translators) is the third quarter established on the time of the Crusaders. The quarter was founded by the families formed when the mostly French, Italian, and Spanish men working as translators for the Franciscan friars married Arab women from Bethlehem and the area.
Al-Anatreh quarter, situated just south of the Church of Nativity, was established during the 400-year Ottoman era. It was begun by a tribe which came from the village of Antar (meaning brave) near Herodium.
Al-Qawawsa formed by Arab Christian emigrants from the nearby town of Tuqu in the 18th century. (Also at the time of the Ottomans).
Hreizat quarter was established north of Manger Square by a tribe from Um Tuba, a village just south of Jerusalem.
After making an alliance with the tribes of Bethlehem not to pay taxes to the Ottomans in 1780, clans from the village of Fagur established their own city quarter on a hill west of the city. Their Harat Al-Fawagreh (Fawagreh quarter) was the last historic Bethlehem quarter to be established in the historical city, and the first of the town’s Muslim quarters.
There is also a Syriac quarter outside of the Old City, whose inhabitants originate from Midyat and Masarte in Turkey.
Nowadays, Bethlehem is grown and the families of the city belong to clans which consist of group of families who have originally came from the same ancestors named after the historical quarters of the Old City.
Visitor Information Center wishes you a great time in Bethlehem! Enjoy 🙂