Local Community

The village of Bethany, called in Arabic Al-Azaria, “Place of Lazarus” is today a small Arab city located three kilometers from East Jerusalem, of which it represented, until a few years ago, a suburb. The location on the eastern slopes of the Mount of Olives has made it an important stop in the past for travelers from Jericho to Jerusalem.

The project that pro Terra Sancta together with the Palestinian association Mosaic Centre is carrying out in Bethany supportsĀ  local women associations in the creation of tourism services, including the identification of new market opportunities and the marketing of quality products. related to the place. We continue the tradition that binds Bethany to female figures, hoping to be able to give some relief to the poor condition of the local population.

The production of soaps, creams and essential oils produced with natural ingredients has started, and refers to the tradition that links Mary’s anointing of Jesus to Bethany. Thanks to the agreements with traders in the surroundings of the Tomb of Lazarus, the tourist area par excellence of Bethany, some stands have been set up for the sale of products made by the women.

To involve the local population and to make them aware of the value of their heritage, the project partners have created an annual Festival with activities aimed at the population. The Festival takes the name “Taht al Qanatir”, in English “Under the Tower”, to underline the importance of the Tower of Bethany, the most prominent remain of the medieval convent. During the Festival, the local population visit and appreciate the old city of Bethany and know how to preserve the ancient remains around the Tomb of Lazarus, which have been saved from the huge construction and degradation of recent years.

To involve local boys and girls, the project organizes awareness-raising activities in collaboration with schools, both guided tours and artistic mosaic and drawing workshops.