Facts and Data
Official Unesco Page
Unesco World heritage since: 2014
Size of heritage: 349 ha
- Buffer zone: 624 ha
This site is located a few kilometres south-west of Jerusalem, in the Central Highlands between Nablus and Hebron. The Battir hill landscape comprises a series of farmed valleys, known as widian, with characteristic stone terraces, some of which are irrigated for market garden production, while others are dry and planted with grapevines and olive trees. The development of terrace farming in such a mountainous region is supported by a network of irrigation channels fed by underground sources. A traditional system of distribution is then used to share the water collected through this network between families from the nearby village of Battir.
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Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir
The UNESCO World Heritage site "Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir" is located in the Palestinian Territory, specifically at coordinates N31 43 11 E35 7 50. This cultural landscape holds immense historical and cultural significance, representing the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature for centuries.
The history of this heritage site dates back thousands of years, with evidence of human settlement in the area since the Canaanite period. Battir, the village at the heart of this landscape, has witnessed the rise and fall of various civilizations, including the Romans, Byzantines, and Crusaders.
One of the most remarkable features of this site is its ancient agricultural terraces, which were built by the inhabitants of Battir over centuries. These terraces, supported by stone walls, allowed the cultivation of olives, grapes, and other crops on the steep slopes of the landscape. The irrigation system, known as "qanats," was developed to efficiently distribute water throughout the terraces.
During the Ottoman period, Battir became an important agricultural center, supplying Jerusalem and other nearby cities with its renowned olive oil and grapes. The village's economy thrived, and its cultural landscape flourished.
Today, the cultural landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir, faces numerous challenges due to political conflicts and urbanization. The construction of the Israeli separation barrier threatened the integrity of the site, as it would have divided the landscape and disrupted the traditional agricultural practices.
However, through the efforts of local communities, international organizations, and UNESCO, the site has been successfully preserved and recognized as a World Heritage site. The inscription in 2014 highlighted the importance of safeguarding the cultural and natural heritage of this unique landscape.
The cultural landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir, continues to be a living testimony to the sustainable practices of traditional agriculture. The terraces are still cultivated by local farmers, who maintain the ancient techniques passed down through generations. The olive groves and vineyards produce high-quality products, contributing to the local economy and preserving the cultural identity of the community.
Visitors to the site can explore the terraces, walk along the ancient irrigation channels, and witness the breathtaking beauty of the landscape. The site also offers a glimpse into the rich history and cultural heritage of the region, with archaeological remains and historical landmarks scattered throughout the area.
Efforts are ongoing to raise awareness about the importance of preserving this unique cultural landscape. Local communities, together with international organizations, are working towards sustainable development and promoting responsible tourism to ensure the long-term conservation of this World Heritage site.
The cultural landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir, stands as a testament to the harmonious relationship between humans and nature, showcasing the resilience and ingenuity of the people who have shaped this land for centuries.
Hotels and places to stay
BEIT YEHUDAH GUEST HOUSE
Ein Kerem Hotel
Alegra Boutique Hotel
Royal Wing Hotel
Videos from the area
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Large airport - 25 mi (40 km) Bar Yehuda Airfield
Medium airport - 31 mi (50 km) Sde Dov Airport
Medium airport - 34 mi (55 km) Be'er Sheva (Teyman) Airport
Small airport - 38 mi (62 km) Queen Alia International Airport
Large airport - 51 mi (82 km) Amman-Marka International Airport
Medium airport - 53 mi (87 km) Haifa International Airport
Medium airport - 75 mi (122 km) Ein Yahav Airfield
Small airport - 76 mi (123 km) Ovda International Airport
Large airport - 123 mi (199 km) Damascus International Airport
Large airport - 142 mi (229 km) Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport
Large airport - 147 mi (237 km)
Bigger and popular cities in the wider vicinity are these:
- Al Faysaliyah
- Al Fuhays
- Al Mughayyir
- Al Qasr
- Al `Arid
- As Salt
- As Subayhi
- Ash Shunah al Janubiyah
- Dayr `Alla
- Ghawr al Mazra`ah
- Karney Shomron
- Tel Aviv
- Umm al Basatin
- Wadi as Sir
- `Ayn al Basha
These are some smaller cities that might be interesting. They are all rather close.
- Ad Dawhah
- Al Khadir
- Al Walajah
- Bar Giyyora
- Bayt Jala
- Bi'r `Awnah
- Even Sappir
- Giv`ot Mordekhay
- Khalayel Allouz
- Khallat Hamamah
- Khallat Sakarya
- Khallat al Ballutah
- Khirbat `Abd Allah Ibrahim
- Khirbat an Nahlah
- Mevo Beiter
- Qiryat HaYovel
- Qiryat Menahem
- Wadi Fukin
- Wadi Rahhal
- Zur Hadassa
- `Ir Gannim