Typography in Palestine and Jerusalem

There are so many articles written about the Old City Jerusalem. Some political and some religious. And while I was traveling there primarily for the Christian pilgrimage with my family, I was more fascinated by the type treatment in different languages more than anything else. This post is a combination of the different cities in Palestine and Jerusalem that I explored with a typography focus. And bits of food photos thrown in as well.

Beit Jala

My family and I stayed in Beit Jala, a Palestinian Christian town in the Bethlehem. Every morning I’d wake up at dawn and watch the sunrise with my dad who was just as jet-lagged as I was. In the morning we’d drink coffee and I would draw and journal about my everyday experience.

A drawing on the main street where we stayed at in Beit Jala.

A drawing on the main street where we stayed at in Beit Jala.

Journaling and drawing in the morning over a cup of tea or coffee.

Journaling and drawing in the morning over a cup of tea or coffee.

I loved waking up to the sunrise.

I loved waking up to the sunrise.


Jericho

Jericho is the oldest city in the world. It’s based in Palestine in the West Bank. On the way to the Dead Sea, we stopped there for a quick visit to The Monastery of the Temptation. But first falafel…

Traditional breakfast: vegetables, hummus, and falafel.

Traditional breakfast: vegetables, hummus, and falafel.

Date stand.

Date stand.

I loved this broken sign and the type.

I loved this broken sign and the type.


The Monastery of the Temptation

Visiting The Monastery of the Temptation was an unexpected stop. One tip I’d advise is to always be modestly dressed in long skirts or pants and shirts that cover the shoulders.

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Luckily the church had cover ups so I wore these garments before entering the old church.


Dead Sea

After climbing the mountain in Jericho to see The Monastery of the Temptation, we stopped a the Dead Sea to cool off.

Actual salt found on the Dead Sea.

Actual salt found on the Dead Sea.

Reading my feminist pop-culture magazine in the Dead Sea.

Reading my feminist pop-culture magazine in the Dead Sea.

If you have a scare or bites from mosquitos, this water will burn like death. Also don’t shave for a day or two before going in this water.


Bethlehem

One of the most special moments on this trip was attending mass at The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. This location holds a religious significance to Christians because it was the birthplace of Jesus.

The original entryway to the church.

The original entryway to the church.

This little door is connected to the courtyard.

This little door is connected to the courtyard.

I was fascinated by the hand-painted typography on the paintings. Some of the original textiles were covered in wood but there were some that were exposed.


Old City Jerusalem

We booked a Trip Advisor tour guide to take us through the Old City in Jerusalem. This was very helpful because we would have easily missed the 14 stops of The Via Delorosa-each marked by a bronze number. My tip is to have water on you and to wear comfortable shoes. The Via Delorosa is not to be confused with a road, as it is more like an alley way. It’s very busy and there is a lot of hustle and bustle. There won’t be a lot of time for peace and contemplation. But do make stops for freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice and Za'atar Manaqish.

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wayfinding signs

I found that it was very common to see signs in English, Arabic and Hebrew.

The majority of the type was either chiseled or hand-painted.

My sister, mom and I ended the pilgrimage at Razzouk Tattoo-a shop that’s been open since 1300. My grandparents had one and we decided to continue the tradition.

Graphic DesignMarina Murad