We are missing you. I don’t know if you are missing us or how many of you planned to visit in the last four months. Perhaps you have barely left your home, and you are desperate to travel.
We know you can’t come to us at the moment, so we thought we would bring a little bit of Bethlehem to your screens. We are planning to film six short virtual tours to give you some insight into life in the West Bank, or jog your memory of your visit here and perhaps to remind you to come and visit again, as soon as possible.
Our first virtual tour focusses on Star Street, the ancient roadway along which Mary and Joseph are thought to have walked as they journeyed to Bethlehem looking for somewhere to stay, somewhere for the baby Jesus to be born in warmth and safety. Now it’s the base for all sorts of homes and businesses, including the Holy Land Trust offices and our friendly café, Jivana’s.
The short film starts with a warm welcome from Said Zarzar, our creative manager, followed by some stunning shots of the city of Bethlehem, captured in the incredible evening light.
Palestinian researcher and historian George Al Ama will then take you on a journey through the centuries, explaining how geopolitics and culture have shaped this unique street over the last 2,000 years.
You’ll hear about the Ottoman occupation of Palestine and the rules and regulations that controlled Bethlehem for hundreds of years. You can see old photographs that show how this street looked when it was the only route to the Nativity Church, and you can almost experience the bustle and smells of the street in those times. You’ll hear about ancient gateways, walls, and architecture, be introduced to some famous residents and learn why Star Street began to fall into decline.
George will explain how the street has been restored in recent years and the significance of its listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The film concludes with a reminder from Said that Star Street has been the venue for the annual Bet Lahem live festival. People from all over the world come together to enjoy music, arts, and culture despite the shadow of occupation.
We hope you enjoy our first film. We’d love to hear your experiences of Star Street – drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we look forward to having a drink with you soon at Jivana’s.
Jessica Foster - Amos Trust
Jessica is a tutor in Interfaith Engagement at the Queen's Foundation, a theological college in Birmingham and is an ordained Anglican deacon Jessica volunteers for Holy Land Trust a regular basis.