A visual commemoration of Palestine’s sixteen districts

Guest contribution by Jumana Al-Qawasmi

A couple weeks ago, I whipped together a quick cover photo commemorating my Palestinian hometown of Al-Khalil (I am a proud Khaliliyya and will always be). To my surprise, this quick project was really popular. So, I embellished on this idea and began a mini project, creating similar images for cities throughout the Middle East, like Cairo, Muscat, and Damascus. I liked the idea of remembering towns as they were, are, and will be (another ‘reclamation project’, really).

I was then asked to create these images for all sixteen districts of Palestine. When compiling the photographs necessary for this mini project, I quickly grew astonished at how little I knew about each district. Could I rally off some unique features of Safad, of Beersheba, of Jenin with relative ease? Unfortunately, I could not.

One could chalk this up to the egregious aftermath of the Nakba: I, as a Palestinian, am so estranged from Palestine that I do not know the culture, geography, and rich narrative of my homeland as well as I otherwise could.

But to do so would be to rid myself (and you) of all blame. It’s easy to get on the internet and research the distinguishing features of each district. You’ll learn about the White Tower of Ramleh, of Napoleon’s defeat at Akka, of the railroad systems linking various districts to the rest of the Middle East. The plethora of images — ranging from the late 1800s to present day — is alone enough to acquaint yourself with Palestine from afar. I recommend searching with the Arabic form of the district name; you come up on more Palestinian sources that way, rather than tiresome Israeli ones.

Of course, researching will make you miss (or yearn for, if you have not yet been there) Palestine that much more. My profuse apologies.

As for me, I have definitely learned so many surprising little things about Palestine (and found a number of hilarious photographs in the process!).



Al-Quds (Jerusalem)


Bi’r As-Sab’ (Beersheba)

Ghazza (Gaza)




An-Nasirah (Nazareth)




Tabariyyah (Tiberias)


Yaffa (Jaffa)

Want more? Check out our collection of beautiful sunsets from all over Palestine. Scroll through these images while listening to Jumana’s carefully crafted playlist of must-hear Palestinian songs.

Jumana Al-Qawasmi

Jumana Al-Qawasmi is a recent graduate of Loyola University Chicago. She authors the personal blog {re}narrativize.

There are 4 comments

  1. El B

    It looks like Israel to me… In fact, I’m pretty sure Jerusalm, not El-Kutz is the capital since the days of king Solomon. Beer Sheva is mentioned in the bible in the tail of Abrham, and Nazerth was and other cities you’ve mentioned were always scholar center of Judaism.

  2. El B

    Yes. Thought so. Denial. This is why you are where you are. Enough with the fantasies. Open an history book and learn a little bit about who the “enemy” is, and where you fit in. There were never Palestinian people, as such. Just an historical accident. So holding hold to these “magical” sites is really more of a make-believe AKA wishful thinking.

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