Unfortunately for the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), civil unrest has plagued its international reputation. However, if tourists look past the conflicts, they will see a region that is dotted with some of the world’s most amazing ancient landmarks. With attractions that date back to before biblical times, the PNA will not disappoint travelers. The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is among the world’s most recognizable religious buildings. In addition, King Herod’s palace and temple atop Herodion shouldn’t be missed.

Tomb of the Patriarch

Also known as the Cave of the Patriarch, this magnificent site is one of the most important landmarks in Palestine and in the spiritual world. The Tomb of the Patriarch is a series of underground caves in the city of Hebron. It is strongly believed that many of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs are buried here, including Jacob, Isaac, and Rebecca. Since the first Intifada, the site has been heavily guarded by Israeli security forces. Nevertheless, the tomb sees a large influx of tourists almost every day. Address: Hebron, West Bank, Palestinian National Authority Phone: n/a Website: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/machpelah.html

Church of the Nativity

The most famous site in the PNA, and certainly in Bethlehem, is the Church of the Nativity. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, this spectacular church is often considered the oldest on the planet. It is located within the city of Bethlehem, and holds significance for both the Islamic and Christian faiths. The grotto cave is believed to be the site of Jesus Christ’s birth. Visitors can explore the church and the cave; although a manger no longer exists, but a star has been placed there instead. Address: Manger Square, Bethlehem, West Bank, Palestinian National Authority Phone: +972-2274-2425 Website: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/israel/bethlehem-church-of-the-nativity

Rachel’s Tomb

One of the only Matriarch’s not resting in Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs is Rachel. However, her grave is found near the city of Bethlehem in a small religious site known as Rachel’s Tomb. Although the landmark may not be as large and glamorous as others found across the Holy Land, it is regarded as a significant site for the Jewish faith. Despite resting in Palestinian territory, Rachel’s Tomb is heavily guarded by Israeli armed forces. However, tourists are still able to visit the site on most days of the year. Address: Derech-Hevron, Bethlehem, West Bank, Palestinian National Authority Phone: n/a Website: http://www.rachelstomb.org


King Herod left numerous lasting legacies during his time as ruler of the Holy Land. One of his most famous sites still stands outside the city of Bethlehem. Herodion is an artificial cone-shaped hill, standing 758 meters above the ground, atop of which is Herod’s Palace. Despite excavations revealing plenty of fascinating remnants of the palace and fortress every year, it is Herod’s Tomb, within the artificial hill beneath the palace, which still lures the biggest crowds. Address: Bethlehem, West Bank, Palestinian National Authority Phone: n/a Website: n/a

Hisham’s Palace

Resting outside the city of Jericho, Hisham’s Palace is a magnificent site that tourists must visit if exploring the Holy Land. Although it is an ancient Islamic landmark, all tourists are welcome. The palace contains three distinct areas: the royal buildings, the intricate bath area, and the agricultural plains. In addition, there is a simply breathtaking religious building onsite. Almost 50,000 visitors flock to Hashim’s Palace every year, making it one of the PNA’s most important religious and tourism sites. Address: Jericho, West Bank, Palestinian National Authority Phone: n/a Website: n/a

Tell es-Sultan

Found within the ancient city of Jericho, Tell es-Sultan is the site of an ancient settlement. Tourists interested in historical wonders should not miss seeing this landmark. It is located a few kilometers to the northwest of downtown Jericho, and is easy to reach by van. Even though there is a small fee to enter, the cost is worthwhile. The landmark is one of the most important archeological excavation sites in the country. The word tell actually means ‘mound’ in Hebrew, which explains the build-up of settlements over the original one that existed here thousands of years ago. Address: Tell es-Sultan, Jericho, West Bank, Palestinian National Authority Phone: n/a Website: n/a

Qumaran Caves

Famous for being the site of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Qumaran Caves are one of the PNA’s most popular tourist destinations. These caves are found within some magnificent limestone cliffs outside the city of Jericho, near the settlement of Qumaran. Although they lie within the jurisdictions of the PNA, Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority controls the landmark. The site was not of interest until the year 1947, when a small boy stumbled across the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls. Address: Jericho, West Bank, Palestinian National Authority Phone: n/a Website: http://www.bibleplaces.com/qumrancaves.htm

Tell Balata Archeological Park

Located in the town of Nablus, the Tell Balata Archeological Park is a fascinating destination. It is the site of an excavation that found remnants of a Middle Bronze Age city. The main landmarks found to date include a massive fortress temple, gates, and a fortified wall. The Tell Balata Archeological Park is earmarked to become the next UNESCO World Heritage site of the PNA. It is open 365 days a year, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. A new visitors’ center will be built here in 2013. Address: Balata, West Bank, Palestinian National Authority Phone: +970-2240-9891 Website: http://www.tellbalata.com/