Ramallah covers an area of 19,000 square dunums. The population of Ramallah today is 35,000, and the city is surrounded by 80 towns and villages. The total population of the Ramallah district is 278,000. Ramallah is a Central City located near the city of Jerusalem, the capital of the state of Palestine. Ramallah has a distinguished geographical location and a heterogeneous population, which make it a focal point of attraction for many governmental and nongovernmental institutions and organizations. Due to the existence of official and nonofficial institutions in the city, Ramallah often hosts meetings between international representatives and Palestinian government officials.
In the middle of the 16th century, Rashed Hadadin, the founder of the city of Ramallah, led his small caravan across the arid hills of Jordan to a location not far from Jerusalem. At that time he was not aware that he was laying the foundations for a new, promising town in the heart of Palestine called Ramallah. The five sons of Hadadin made up their minds to stay in Ramallah, and they became the ancestors of today’s Ramallah population. In time Ramallah expanded and grew in various fields.
In 1807, the first Greek Orthodox Church was built, and in 1869, the Friends School for Girls opened.
In 1902 Ramallah was converted by the Turkish government into a district that included 30 towns. Dignitary Ahmad Murad from Jerusalem was appointed the first governor of Ramallah.
In 1908 Ramallah became a city, and dignitary Elias Odeh became its first mayor.
1910 Dr. Nicola Shehadeh opens a clinic in Ramallah upon his return from the United States.
1914 The Second World War breaks out, and about 30 people who were fighting with the Turkish army get killed in Ramallah.
1915 Locusts invade Ramallah and destroy crops.
1916 Typhoid plagues Ramallah and kills 30 percent of the population.
1917 The British forces have full control over the city of Ramallah. Like all other Palestinian cities, Ramallah gives in to the British Mandate from 1918–1948.
1927 a strong earthquake hits Palestine.
1932 a 3 percent education tax was imposed on all the revenues of residents in the city of Ramallah.
1936 Electricity to the city is provided by the Jerusalem Electricity Company
1945 Masayef Ramallah Water Company is established.
1948 Thousands of Palestinian refugees arrive in Ramallah.
1951 Water is brought to the city of Ramallah from Ein Fara water spring.
1952 The first journal of the Ramallah Youth Union is published in Detroit, Michigan.
1958 The Ramallah Youth Union is set up in Detroit, for the service of the residents of Ramallah.
1963 The New Ramallah Hospital opens on June 20.
1967 Ramallah and Palestinian cities fall under the Israeli occupation.
1972 The first municipal elections take place after the Israeli occupation.
1982 There is a failed attempt to assassinate Ramallah mayor, Karim Khalaf, by Israeli extremists. The same attempt also targeted the mayors of Al-Bireh and Nablus. The Israeli military authorities depose Ramallah mayor, Karim Khalaf, and the municipal council suspends its tasks in protest.
1987 The first Intifada, or uprising, against the Israeli military occupation breaks out.
The first open-heart surgery is performed in Ramallah Hospital by Dr. Shawqi Harb.
1996 The Israeli army withdraws from Ramallah, and the Palestinian National Authority assumes administrative responsibilities in the city. The first municipal council is appointed by the Palestinian National Authority. 1999 Engineer Ayoub Ya’coub Rabah is appointed as the Mayor of Ramallah
2000 Ramallah celebrates the third millennium in coordination with the Bethlehem 2000 Project.
2002 The Israeli army imposes a siege on the Muqata’a, where President Arafat resides, and raids the city of Ramallah.
2004 President Yasser Arafat dies and is buried in Ramallah.
2005 The first municipal council elections take place after an interruption of 29 years as a result of the Israeli occupation.
2006 Janet Michael becomes the first female mayor of Ramallah.
2008 The Ramallah Municipality celebrates its centennial and launches the Ramallah Municipality Centennial project.
Center of International Activity
Ramallah is considered the temporary headquarters of the Palestinian National Authority until a final status agreement is reached between the Palestinian National Authority and Israel concerning East Jerusalem.
A City that teems with Economic Activity
Ramallah and its sister city Al-Bireh have become a hub of economic activity. Both cities are witnessing an economic boom, and most company managers have designated Ramallah as the location for their company headquarters. The city of Ramallah hosts a number of annual economic and investment fairs sponsored by economic organizations and unions. These exhibitions are often held at the Ramallah Cultural Palace.
Center of Cultural Activity
Ramallah’s vibrant cultural life has led some to call it “the spirit of culture.” It is home to a number of cultural institutions centers. In addition, Ramallah hosts international cultural centers such as the German-French Cultural Center, the British Council, and the Greek Cultural Center. Embroidery in Ramallah has a special flavor. It is the abstract language of rectangular, square, and starry symbols that reflect the daily life of people.
Educational awareness in Ramallah began in 1706 when schools for boys were established and, in 1889, the Quakers built the Friends Schools for Boys and Girls. After the First World War, a true scientific enlightenment occurred in Ramallah, and the people in the city showed unmatched eagerness and desire for education. In 1918 the National School, the nucleus of government schools today, was set up to offer education for boys and girls in the city. There are a number of public, private, and UNRWA schools in Ramallah. The district of Ramallah and Al- Bireh takes pride in one of the most distinguished universities in Palestine: Birzeit University is well-known locally and internationally for its quality education and national role.
Tourism in Ramallah
Before 1967 the city of Ramallah was an important tourist attraction, and visitors from various Arab countries such as Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan, and the Gulf countries flocked there. They enjoyed the cool summer in the city and stayed in the comfortable Ramallah hotels, some of which were built in the 1930s, such as Al-Hambra Palace, Awdeh Hotel, and Harb Hotel. After the Israeli occupation in 1967, tourism in Ramallah was restricted to Palestinians in the diaspora, especially those residing in the United States.
Ramallah Children City Council
In its bid to support children’s human rights, Ramallah Municipality took the initiative to form a children’s city council that not only would empower the children, but also give them the opportunity to express themselves as well as their needs.
The Relationship with International Municipalities
The Ramallah Municipality is privileged to have wide and profound relationships with various international municipalities (twin ships and cooperation agreements).
The Ramallah Municipality Centennial Project
The Ramallah Municipality Centennial Project seeks to develop the Ramallah Municipality through various spheres with the aim of providing high quality services for the general community and overall economic, social, political and cultural development.
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