History of Ramallah, “la montagna di Dio”

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De facto capital of the West Bank despite being one of the most modern cities in Palestine, the history of Ramallah is full of contradictions since its foundation, implemented by Christians

Founded by Christian blacksmiths

Like Nablus, Ramallah does not have ancient Jewish origins, but rather Renaissance ones; it was founded in the mid-1500s by the Haddadin, a Ghassanid Christian clan, who had recently moved to that area. It must be said, however, that near the settlement, shards of vases dating back to the Crusader and Ayyubid era were found, as well as tombs carved into the rock of even more ancient origins; this would show how this place was already known in the past, without however ever being able to transform itself into a city, except with the arrival of the Haddadin.


Originating in the Jordanian area between Karak and Shoubak, Rashid el Haddadin and his lineage came so far attracted by the beauty of the places and the peaceful climate that was breathed in, elevating that area to the center of local Christianity. This allowed it to attract many faithful from all over the world, who chose Ramallah to build churches and schools, transforming it into one of the most “westernized” cities in all of Palestine; as a result of this, many inhabitants were facilitated to emigrate to the New World, leading to further prosperity and wealth. Attracted by the great well-being, many Muslims from Lod and Jaffa moved there, leading to a partial “balancing” of the population, which will become a Muslim majority only with the arrival of the British and the birth of Israel.

British and Zionists

With the arrival of the British, Ramallah experienced further development, managing in a short time to attract even more Palestinian nobles and merchants, growing even more in political and economic terms; Ramallah was even supplied with electricity in 1936 and the BBC founded Jerusalem Calling, one of the first Palestinian radio stations. Unfortunately, this climate of peace ended the following year with the beginning of the Great Arab revolt, by virtue of which the British attacked the city over and over again, even resorting to the use of air forces.


With the birth of Israel, it passed for about 20 years under Jordanian control and then, starting from the 6-day war, under the Zionist one that founded here, as in much of Palestine, several colonies still present today. Ramallah became particularly central in Israeli minds because of the residence of Yasser Arafat, a highly symbolic place and which was attacked “by the Operation Defensive Shield” of 2002. Given the difficulties in managing Jerusalem, it has for years become the de facto capital of the West Bank.

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