< Last Photo   << Last Chapter                Notes on the Geography of Places: The West Bank: Northern Countryside         Next Chapter >>   Next Photo > 
 

Notes on the Geography of The West Bank: Northern Countryside

We'll start with the rural north.

Make default image size larger

The West Bank: Northern Countryside picture 1

North of Nablus, the mountainous West Bank has a few places level enough for cultivation without terraces. The typical crop is wheat or barley, seeded in the winter and planted in strips marking an ancient pattern of land tenure.

The West Bank: Northern Countryside picture 2

A more typical agricultural landscape--indeed, the paradigm of the western slope of the northern West Bank--is olive terraces on the flanks of deep wadis. The terraces have been built on natural benches created by the limestone strata. This particular picture is east of Salfit, one of the premier olive-growing areas of the West Bank.

The West Bank: Northern Countryside picture 3

The relationship between natural and artificial terrace is shown well here.

The West Bank: Northern Countryside picture 4

Freshly repaired terracing west of Jiljilya. Economically rational behavior? Almost certainly not. But then neither are suburban gardens.

The West Bank: Northern Countryside picture 5

Abandoned olive terraces near Birzeit University, on the right. The name Birzeit means "olive spring."

The West Bank: Northern Countryside picture 6

Some of the oldest buildings in the rural West Bank are tombs like this one, freshly rehabilitated by the Palestinian archaeological department. It's just north of the town of Birzeit.

The West Bank: Northern Countryside picture 7

The hilltop location was once the site of a Crusader signalling station.

The West Bank: Northern Countryside picture 8

Security has always been a concern in this part of the world, and it explains the hilltop location of the sheikh's stronghold at Ras Karkar, a village west of Ramalla. An uppermost room gives a panoramic view in all directions. Restored by the Palestinian Authority, it's one of the best preserved structures of its kind on the West Bank.

The West Bank: Northern Countryside picture 9

Industrial civilization arrived on the West Bank during the late Ottoman period with works like this. Spot it?

The West Bank: Northern Countryside picture 10

Any clearer?

The West Bank: Northern Countryside picture 11

We're just north of Sebastiya--or a bit farther north of Nablus.

The West Bank: Northern Countryside picture 12

It's a railway grade, of course, and the grove shown two pictures back hides Nasrudieh Junction, a Y on the old Turkish railway from Damascus. One branch extended behind the camera to Nablus. The other went to the coast.

The West Bank: Northern Countryside picture 13

A closer look at the station building.

The West Bank: Northern Countryside picture 14

Another view.

The West Bank: Northern Countryside picture 15

It's sometimes said that steel construction--roofs of I-beams and concrete--came to Palestine during the British Mandate. Here's proof, however, that such construction technology antedated 1917, for the decaying roof of the station clearly shows the use of steel beams, along with concrete filler.

The West Bank: Northern Countryside picture 16

The same method of roof construction soon appeared in houses (as in this house between Birzeit and Jifna), even though the walls continued to be stone-faced and rubble-filled.

The West Bank: Northern Countryside picture 17

Apartment buildings pop up in the middle of olive groves, in this case a few miles north of Ramalla.


www.greatmirror.com Web   
 

* Australia * Austria * Bangladesh * Belgium * Botswana * Brazil * Burma / Myanmar * Cambodia (Angkor) * Canada (B.C.) * China * The Czech Republic * Egypt * Fiji * France * Germany * Ghana * Greece * Hungary * India: Themes * Northern India * Peninsular India * Indonesia * Israel * Italy * Japan * Jerusalem * Jordan * Kenya * Laos * Kosovo * Malawi * Malaysia * Mauritius * Mexico * Morocco * Mozambique * Namibia * The Netherlands * New Zealand * Nigeria * Norway * Oman * Pakistan * The Philippines * Poland * Portugal * Senegal * Singapore * South Africa * Spain * Sri Lanka * Sudan * Syria (Aleppo) * Tanzania * Thailand * Trinidad * Turkey (Istanbul) * Uganda * The U.A.E. (Dubai) * The United Kingdom * The Eastern United States * The Western United States * Oklahoma * Uzbekistan * Vietnam * The West Bank * Yemen * Zambia * Zimbabwe *
go back to previous picture go to next chapter go to next picture go to previous chapter page