Jenin is a 4,000-year-old city in the north West Bank now populated by Palestinians.
The name of Jenin is derived from the biblical Ein Ganim and means the spring of gardens. Surprisingly many people in Jenin speak German, which is probably due to the Cinema Jenin.
Further information can be acquired from:
- 1 Jenin Visitor's Centre, Jenin Municipality, Nablus street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. not open Saturdays. The visitor's centre has many suggestions for activities and things to see. Also acquire missing information about the sites listed below.
The 1 Jenin Bus Station is right in the centre.
The most logical way to enter would be to fly into Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel, take a taxi or mini-bus to Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, from there at one of Arab bus stations take bus 18 to Ramallah (₪6.50, less than an hour), cross into Ramallah and take a shared taxi from the central bus station to Jenin (₪35, 1.5-2 h).
From Nablus one can take a service (shared) taxi for ₪15 or a bus for ₪10.
To the Israeli side of the border, taxis from Nazareth cost ₪150 and from Afula ₪40-50. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Nazareth to Afula for ₪10.90. From Afula there another bus (#52) to the border for ₪7.40. You then cross on foot and take a (shared) taxi or hitchhike the rest of the distance.
Walking is a practical mode of getting around, taxis can be hired as needed, especially when visiting the interesting sights of the West Bank around.
- 1 The Saray (Fatima Khatun Schoold) (opposite the Great Mosque). it is unclear whether this building is open to the public. Built in 1882 and used as administrative headquarter during Ottoman and British times, the building was renamed and converted into a school in 1987. Plans are to create a museum here, but the realisation has not yet begun.
- 2 The Latin Patriarchate (right next to the bus station). A Latin church built in 1956 and base for the various Christian branches of faith in Jenin.
- 3 Jenin Refugee Camp (in the western part of Jenin). Established by the UNRWA in 1953, now holds about 15,000 inhabitants and became a "symbol of resistance" to Israeli occupation in 2002 during the battle of Jenin. The Refugee Camp is not a refugee camp in the sense of western imagination but a packed part of town with palestinians displaced from the rest of the country. The 4 UNRWA Jenin Relief Office is in the middle of the northern road.
- 5 Ottoman Railway Station (at the northern border of the Refugee Camp). Built by the Turks in 1908 with the help of the German allies. Used until 1932 for civilian purposes and afterwards, until 1941, for military ones. Unfortunately, the building is slowly falling apart and not taken care of.
- 6 German Memorial. Since Germans were stationed here to construct an airport north of Jenin to help the Turkish troops, this memorial is in honour of the German pilots who died in air battles with England and France in World War I.
- 7 Belameh tunnels (Bal'amah), Nablus street (2 km south of Jenin). sometimes closed and unavailable to visit, ask your accommodation. The tunnels date back to the Bronze age. In 1996, MOTA began excavations on a tunnel shaft, the most elaborate feature in Belameh. Through support from the UNDP, around 150 meters of tunnel is being transformed into an archeological park which will feature an educational sound and light show.
The following popular sights of the West Bank (read here) can conveniently be visited along the road south to/from Jenin when arriving/leaving (even when hitch-hiking): St. George Church (Burqin), Tel Dothan and Arraba village. Furthermore, Umm Al Rihan forest and Zababdeh village of the West Bank are close by and worth a visit.
- 1 Freedom Theatre, School Street, Jenin Refugee Camp, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A theatre in the refugee camp hosting a large variety of plays and productions, many concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. With its dedication to bringing art to the community the Freedom Theatre is a visible and well-known institution in Jenin. The theatre is also accepts volunteers from the artistic community. For visitors, there's a small café within the theatre complex.
Be sure to take advantage of the great bargains that can be found in the many shops. These are great places to find souvenirs!
There is plenty of Middle Eastern cuisine available; falafel, shawarma, hummus, the works. There are a couple of excellent places near the bus station where the food is made on the spot.
- 1 Hummus, Shawarma, etc., corner of Almalek Fysal St. / Haifa St. (just north of the "W" sign). Has various dishes available, including a multitude of meat dishes. ₪10 for hummus & salad.
- 2 Kumpir (5 min north of Jenin along the road towards the Israeli checkpoint/Afula). Delicious potato filled with yogurt and salad.
There are many coffee vendors and you can find alcoholic drinks in Zababdeh village near the city.
- 1 Cinema Jenin Guesthouse, Azzaytoon Street No. 1 (central bus station), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. One of the best and interesting guest houses/hostels in the West Bank. It is cosy and clean, and has an interesting history due to its related cinema. Five dormitories of 8-10 beds each, including 2 women-only dormitories. ₪75/175/250 dorm/single/double.
- 2 North Gate Hotel, Palestine Street, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: before 18:00, check-out: before 12:00. Has air conditioning, free internet, restaurant and meeting rooms. From ₪200.
- 3 Haddad Tourism Village (3km south-east of Jenin), ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. This tourist village has a hotel, gardens, a pool, and even a large amusement park located on the hotel's grounds.
Similar to how to #Get in to Jenin, it is also possible to leave. From the central taxi station, it is easy to travel to many locations within the West Bank.
- Nablus – One of the oldest cities in the world and famous for its kunafa/kenafeh. If you are on a tight schedule and planning to go to Ramallah, you might want to skip the latter for this more exciting Palestinian city.
- Nazareth – The largest Arab city in Israel and best known as the home of Joseph and Mary.
- Tiberias – A large Israeli town northeast and great starting point for Galilee and Golan. Easy to reach from Afula.