Hebron is a Palestinian city located in the southern West Bank, 30 km south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judaean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank, and the second largest in the Palestinian territories after Gaza, and home to approximately 250,000 Palestinians, and between 500 and 850 Jewish settlers concentrated in Otniel settlement and around the old quarter. The city is divided into two sectors: H1, controlled by the Palestinian Authority and H2, roughly 20% of the city, administered by Israel. The settlers are governed by their own municipal body, the Committee of the Jewish Community of Hebron. The city is most notable for containing the traditional burial site of the biblical Patriarchs and Matriarchs, within the Cave of the Patriarchs. It is therefore considered the second-holiest city in Judaism after Jerusalem.The city is venerated by Jews, Christians, and Muslims for its association with Abraham. It is viewed as a holy city in Islam and Judaism.
Hebron is a busy hub of West Bank trade, responsible for roughly a third of the area's gross domestic product, largely due to the sale of marble from quarries. It is locally well known for its grapes, figs, limestone, pottery workshops and glassblowing factories, and is the location of the major dairy product manufacturer, al-Junaidi. The old city of Hebron is characterized by narrow, winding streets, flat-roofed stone houses, and old bazaars. The city is home to Hebron University and the Palestine Polytechnic University and notably has no cinemas or places of entertainment. Hebron is detached to cities of ad-Dhahiriya, Dura, Yatta, the surrounding villages with no borders.
The Old Town of Hebron
One of the oldest towns in Palestine, its market, (souq) has striking arched roofs and a maze of alleys that are definitely worth exploring. The shops and stalls sell everything from pottery, olivewood, blown glass, to a wide array of aromatic spices and dried fruits.
Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi (The Ibrahimi Mosque)
Known locally as Al-Haram (the sanctuary), the mosque and its surroundings house the tombs of the monotheistic patriarchs and their wives, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their wives Sarah, Leah and Rebecca.
Oak of Abraham
An oak tree 2km west of Hebron marks the legendary site where Abraham (Ibrahim) pitched his tent. Excavations in 1926-28 revealed a Herodian enclosure with a well in its south-western corner. Until recently, pilgrims would peel pieces of the trunk for good luck. Now, however, the Russian Orthodox Church that owns the site and the nearby monastery has wrapped the trunk with steel braces for protection.
Haram al-Rama (Mamre)
It lies halfway between Halhoul and Hebron. The site was discovered during archaeological excavations in 1920s and 1980s. According to religious traditions the site might be the place where Abraham received the three Angles who informed him that his barren wife Sarah would give birth to his son Isaac. Christian traditions also identify this place as a resting place of Joseph and Mary on their way to Egypt. In the Roman period, Herod the Great built an impressive enclosure complex (49X65m) with statues to Edomite deities. After the first century AD, the site became one of the main market fairs in Palestine. In the fourth century AD, a church was built inside the enclosure, which is depicted on the Madaba Map, the site was reused during the medieval period. The site was rehabilitated by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities as an archaeological park.
A beautiful and fertile village, Halhoul lies 5km north of Hebron. Abundant vineyards dot the area, producing Hebron’s renowned grapes. The Mosque of Nabi Yunis lies just outside the town. According to Muslim tradition, the mosque was built over the grave of the Prophet Jonah.