MUKHMAS AND THE POINTS OF INTEREST


MUKHMAS is a Palestinian town with a population of 2,500. It is located 11 km northeast of Jerusalem and is adjacent to Jaba’ and Deir Dibwan in the central West Bank.

The town is in good order and clean. Most of the population migrated abroad and visit periodically, usually during summer. The good economic status of the town’s inhabitants and their preference to live in closely knitted families has somewhat limited the increase of attractions for tourists, yet it surely has many points of cultural interest, such as Al Dweir shrine, Sultan Ibrahim mosque, and Saleh al-Barghouti palace.

This is a great starting point for hiking towards al-Swaneet valley or visit one of the Bedouin camps of Abu Shusha or Mukhmas. It is an eye-opening journey to the lifestyle of the oldest and last representatives of the free life in nature.

The families of this town will be pleased to welcome visitors (with their local guide) and host them as guests in their houses. We also recommend meeting with the refugees in the Jalazone refugee camp near Jifna and get to know their history and reality.


How to reach it

You can get to Mukhmas by car, a reserved taxi, or by taking buses or multiple taxis from the bus stations of Ramallah and Jerusalem.


The Main Points Of Interest




For local support

Along the itinerary, we recommend visiting or contacting Mrs. Nehaya Abu Khater (from Pyalara) for advice on the best and cheapest ways to visit the Centre-South West Bani area. Jaba’ IC, Mrs. Nehaya Abu Khater: +972 (0) 599817012 Email: [email protected]


For local guides

Mohammed Al-Dali

Mobile: +970595197560
Email:[email protected]

Mohammad Abu Ali

Mobile:+970592848056
Email: [email protected]

AL DWEIR SHRINE AND LANDSCAPE

The largest and likely the most beautiful mosque in Mukhmas.

Aside from admiring the different parts of the building, it will be a good idea to meet the Imam. He will be pleased to explain about the growth of Islam in the territory up to the moment and describe the mosque’s characteristics and evolution of the modern Islamic architecture.

? Location: Al Aqaba Street. Open 4 a.m. – 10 p.m

MOSQUE OF SULTAN IBRAHIM

The old mosque was built around the end of the 7th century at the height of Islamic proselytism in Palestine. It was restored many times and rebuilt in 1114 AD.

In the middle of the last century, a new larger mosque was built near the old one, to hold the increased number of believers.

? Location: Mosque Street. Open approximately from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m.

AL SWANEET VALLEY

This is a great hiking tour that takes you from eastern Mukhmas (on al-Swaneet road) to al-Swaneet valley. It is best to do this hike with a guide, as the maps are plain. Visitors can walk about 8 km to the oval cave and then back to Mukhmas.

A well-marked path leads the walkers to witness the early signs of life. You will see the different roles that caves had once upon a time: As shelters to protect communities from invasions and attacks, as temporary refuge for migrants, and as sanctuaries for personal ascetic spirituality.

The valley is 20 km long. It crosses ever-changing landscapes, leading to the Fara valley and the beginning of al-Qulat valley. Beyond that, the path goes as far as Jericho with a ten-hour walk.

The walk in the valley is rich and full of unexpected surprises. You will find animals (falcons, deer, foxes, goats leading flocks of sheep), flowers (daffodils, irises, daisies), and shelters (caves, catacombs, tunnels, formerly inhabited grottos). Mainly, you will witness the profound sense of contemplation as experienced by the hermits who inhabited the valley’s grottos for hundreds of years.

Hermitage (living in seclusion as a form of spirituality) first began in Egypt during the 3rd century. It expanded firstly in Palestine, mainly in the Judean desert, by religious persons seeking to follow the monastic path. They were inspired by the ascetic rules of Saint Basil of Caesarea, whose fundamental text spread in the monasteries of the East and all over the growing Christian world, mostly among the hermits of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The hermits followed both a solitary and communal life. We find similar examples of high spiritual life in different contexts among Sufis (Islamic), Essenes (Jewish), and oriental religions.

This walk will have you contemplating about what life far from worldly comforts and leisure looks like and reflect on what drew ascetics towards spiritual growth and connection with God.

Archaeological finds show a long history in the area from the Canaanite days until the first Islamic era. The most significant periods were the Roman/Byzantine times, according to paleologists who excavated and explored the valley and named the caves and silos of the monks. The oval cave, on the northern side in the middle of the valley, is in an arid but fascinating landscape populated mainly by sheep, goats, and their shepherds. Accessible only with guides, this is the most famous cave in the area, intersecting with other caves, rooms, and catacombs.

BEDOUIN COMMUNITY OF ABU SHUSHA AND MUKHMAS

Near the village, there are two camps. The local guide will open the way for visitors to meet with some of the Bedouins. This interaction will open the way to understanding one of the most traditional ways of living, maintained through the millenniums.

Visitors will find themselves reflecting on their own lives and examining their stories, cultural structures, principles, governance, and the impact or meaning of “civilization”.

The Bedouins will be glad to show visitors how they live, display their products and traditions, and even welcome you to taste their meals and sleep in their tents.

THE HOMESTAY

GASTRONOMY AND EXPERIENCE

Mukhmas does not have structured guest houses or homestays, but in the nearby village of Jifna (20 km), there is a very well-organized guesthouse which is very similar to a homestay. The hosting family is friendly and will be pleased to share knowledge about Palestine. They also provide delicious local food, an autonomous night stay, and a warm welcoming.

Costs:
B&B $35 per night/person, additional $10 per main meal
Services: WIFI, self-contained top floor apartment, large view of the valley, laundry service, transport to/from bus station in Jifna, touristic and educational trips in the surrounding area.

Contact in Jifna (Ramallah):
Khouriya homestay
Rawda Khouriya: +972 599587476
Issa Khouriya: +972599673817
Email: [email protected]

STREET FOOD AND TAKEAWAY

SHOPPING POINT

Along the main street and its roundabout, you can find good street food for takeaways. There are also a number of bakeries and small restaurants for dining. Most of them are open also in the morning.

? Location: In the main street, near the roundabout.

JALAZOUNE REFUGEE CAMP

Jalazoune Refugee Camp came into being in 1948 upon the Nakba. Initially, it had 3,500 people. Nowadays, it houses around 15,000 refugees, partially coming from villages located in central Palestine and partially new-born generations in the camp.

The local guide will introduce the visitors to the camp and its representatives. The meeting with the communities will shed light on the many challenge, caused mainly by the increasing number of refugees. Conversations will point out to the possibilities of limiting negative effects on livelihoods while ensuring better conditions for the generations who are still paying the price of the historic and political realities on the ground.

? Location: 1.5 km on the south of Jifna, along the road 466 to Ramallah. Another nearby refugee camp to visit is: Qalandia (see: Jaba’)

SUPERMARKET & Mini-market

SHOPPING POINT

  • SUPERMARKET SIAM

    Supermarket

    601 Food and household goods. Main local specialties ? Address: Siam str Hours: open all days 8 AM – 12 PM Contact: Phone +970 (2) 2351119 – Mob +970 569 999194

  • MINIMARKET NADIL

    Supermarket

    602 Food and household goods.Main local specialties. Hours: Open all days 9 AM – 11 PM – Contact: Phone +970 (2) 2351343 | Mob +970 59 5239185

  • MINIMARKET ABU-SADALLAH

    Supermarket

    603 Food and household goods Hours: open all days 9 AM – 11 PM Contact: Phone +9702(2)2351179 | Mob +970597124558