Bir Zeit

Bir Zeit

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Birzeit (also written Bir Zeit) is a Palestinian
Palestinian territories
The Palestinian territories comprise the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, the region is today recognized by three-quarters of the world's countries as the State of Palestine or simply Palestine, although this status is not recognized by the...

 town near Ramallah
Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

 in the central West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

. Its population in the 2007 census was 4529. Birzeit a traditional Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 village, its history dates back to the Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 era and earlier.

The name Birzeit literally translates to "well of oil"; referring to the wells in which its inhabitants historically stored virgin-pressed olive oil. The topology of the town consists of hills and sloping terrains with its highest point known by locals as "Al-Khirbeh", or "the ruin". Much of the surrounding land consists of olive trees which historically was a source of sustenance for what was primarily an agrarian society.

Today, Birzeit is known for its flagship of Palestinian institutions, Birzeit University
Birzeit University
Birzeit University is a university located in Birzeit near Ramallah, Palestinian territories. BZU is among the foremost tertiary educational institutes in the Palestinian territories and has played a significant role in the Palestinian political dialogue.- History :The institution was originally...

. Much of its economy tied to the student population of the University. Several surrounding villages depend on Birzeit's economy; particularly during the latest round of road blocks and closures imposed by the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

. This has led to a business expansion within the town consisting of several restaurants, cafes, internet cafes and salons.

Everyday life in Birzeit town and university are described by Irish journalist David Lynch in his book, A Divided Paradise: An Irishman in the Holy Land. Lynch spent the summer of 2005 living in the town, and studying in the local university and writes about his experiences there.

Population


About 60% of Birzeit inhabitants are Palestinian Christians
Palestinian Christians
Palestinian Christians are Arabic-speaking Christians descended from the people of the geographical area of Palestine. Within Palestine, there are churches and believers from many Christian denominations, including Oriental Orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholic , Protestant, and others...

; the rest are Muslims. The Mayor of Birzeit, Yusef Nasser, is a Christian.

Christian Churches


There are three Christian churches in Birzeit. The oldest one is St George Orthodox Church; now the Orthodox Christian community is building another large Orthodox Church, and an Orthodox Christian school that is considered to be the largest in the West Bank.
The second church is the Our Lady Queen of Peace - Guadalupe (Roman Catholic), which also runs a high school. The Third church is St. Peter’s Episcopal
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

/Anglican Church.

See also

  • Birzeit University
    Birzeit University
    Birzeit University is a university located in Birzeit near Ramallah, Palestinian territories. BZU is among the foremost tertiary educational institutes in the Palestinian territories and has played a significant role in the Palestinian political dialogue.- History :The institution was originally...

  • Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate
    Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate
    The Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate is one of 16 Governorates of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It covers a large part of the central West Bank, on the northern border of the Jerusalem Governorate. Its district capital or muhfaza is the city of al-Bireh.According to the Palestinian Central...

  • Palestinian Christians
    Palestinian Christians
    Palestinian Christians are Arabic-speaking Christians descended from the people of the geographical area of Palestine. Within Palestine, there are churches and believers from many Christian denominations, including Oriental Orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholic , Protestant, and others...


External links