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Facts

Gaza City
Gaza is one of the oldest cities in the world. The city is strategically situated between two continents, Asia and Africa. This geographical location made the city acquire a strategic and extraordinary military status. It is the southern front defense line not only of Palestine but of all Sham area (Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan) as well. It is also, the east northern advanced defense line of the Egyptian depth. Consequently, the city had been a battlefield for most of the ancient and recent empires, the Pharaonic, the Assyrian, the Persian, the Greek, the Roman, and the Crusades. Situated at the climate division line and the latitude 31.3 degree north to the Equator, Gaza has occupied a dividing position between the desert in the south and the Mediterranean climate in the north. This location, as such, had made the city acquire the role of a prosperous trading market for world products, both tropical, and cold. This importance was reinforced by its distinguished position on a hill, 45m above sea level and within a range of 3 Km. away from the sea.

 

About Gaza City:

  • The area of the city is 45 km2.
  • The number of inhabitants is about 400,000 people.
  • The city has three universities with a total of 28.500 students.
  • Three different currencies are used: US dollar, Jordanian dinar and new Israeli shekel.
  • The gross domestic product per capita is (US$, 1997)1,76.
  • The highest temperature is in summer and reaches 32 °C.
  • The lowest temperature is in winter and reaches 6 °C.
  • The annual average wind speed is 19 knots.
  • The highest wind speed is in winter and reaches 60 knots.
  • The annual average rainfall is 350 - 400 mm.
  • The prevailing wind is from the southwest.

 

Economy

The economy in the Gaza Strip depended on agriculture and small-scale industries. Major agricultural products include citrus, olives, dates, flowers, strawberries and other kinds of vegetables and fruit. The city contains some small industry, including furniture, food products, plastics, construction materials, and textiles. A variety of wares are sold in Gaza's street bazaars, including pottery, wicker furniture, cotton clothing, carpets, stained glass (bamboo), embroidery, and fishing. The economy of Gaza City depends on trade, agriculture, tourism, and industry.

1. Trade

Gaza played a prominent role as a trade-based port, which began to wilt at the end of the Ottoman Empire. It should be noted that Gaza exported 1.5 million dollars of wheat, barley, corn, dates, sesame, leather and poultry in 1905. Also, it imported various goods, amounting to 750 thousand dollars thus achieving trade balance in its favor in that year alone. Gaza's port seemed to be eclipsed by the ports of Jaffa and Haifa.

After Israel occupied Gaza, Gaza's port remained inactive. The people of Gaza were concerned with trade markets, which they used to set up to display their wares. One of the most important of these markets was kaysariya, which still exists until now in Daraaj district.

Now Gaza relies on Egypt and Israel, importing and exporting certain industries and agricultural products. It has exported citrus fruits and flowers to the world several times in spite of Israel's harassment and attempts to sabotage the export business. Israel destroyed the Gaza International Airport, which was important for the recovery of trade.

The economy of Gaza also depends primarily on fishing. In addition, some residents of Gaza are currently grazing sheep and cattle to take advantage of their milk, meat, wool, and skins, which are used in some local industries. It should also be noted the existence of modern and health markets, which have been designed to promote trade, including Yarmouk public market, which is considered the first central market in the city.

2. Agriculture
Gaza was famous for growing and exporting wheat, barley, and cotton to the world.  But growing different types of citrus, such as lemon and orange, has spread in the Gaza Strip. In addition, hives to produce honey were established and potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers and fruit, mainly grapes, strawberries, figs, melons and cantaloupe were grown.  And irrigation in Gaza City depends on wells. Generally, the economy in Gaza depends largely on the cultivation and export of flowers to many countries around the world.

3. Tourism

Tourism in Gaza depends mainly on the sea whose beaches are famous for the golden bright sand. Several precautionary measures were taken to protect the beaches from pollution. Tourism also depends on archaeological sites, some of which are currently being discovered. Gaza is also famous for its moderate weather in the summer and winter, which encourages the people, to go to the beaches, parks, and gardens. People also spend their leisure time on farms, orchards, and at touristic facilities. The most beautiful sights in Gaza are the sea, the beaches, the coast, and the sky.

Archeological Sites
On the other hand, Gaza city and its surroundings are considered a museum of history and painting on which time records a glorious and precious heritage. Gaza is one of the cities of the world that has historic heritage; many monuments were found after the spread of exploration in the nineteenth century. The current city of Gaza hides historic treasures under its sand. The City needs to be exploited to highlight the ancient Arab identity, as we confront an enemy intruder of no history but excelled in the falsification of history. It is not surprising that the Greek historian Herodotus, called the Father of History, called Gaza the Great City, and that it was praised by the Roman historian Pliny . Unfortunately, many of these magnificent monuments were stolen, destroyed or disappeared over time.

 

The Most important archaeological sites in Gaza City:

Mosque of Sayed Hashem,

It houses the tomb of Mr. Hashem Bin Abd Manaf in its dome, which was established by the Mamluks. Gaza city was named "Gaza Hashem" after the grandfather of Prophet Muhammad. The Sultan Abdul Hamid renewed its construction in 1850 (1,268 Hijri).

 

Mosque of Ibn Marwan

In it there is the tomb of the crown, Sheikh Ali bin Marwan

Great Omari Mosque

It was built in the First Islamic Covenant "conquest age."

Welayat Mosque

It is Adjacent to the Roman Orthodox Church, known as the "Church of Saint Borvirios." It was established in 735 Hijri of the Mamluk period. After being destroyed, it was renewed by Sir Ahmed, the writer of the state, in 995 Hijri during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Selim II. There are currently 23 archaeological mosques in Gaza City.

Castle Al Radwan

The remaining of it still exists and it is situated where Al-Zahra School is. It is a crusader castle, which was built to replace an extinct Arab castle and renewed in 1149 during the reign of Baldwin III.

Roman Orthodox Church -  St. Borvirios

St. Parvirios was born in the city of Thessaloniki, Greece, 347. He visited Gaza in 21/3/395 accompanied by a "Deacon Mark" who wrote the life history of this Saint. It took five years to build this church and it was built in14/4/407 AD.

4. Industry
Gaza City was famous for many industries, including olives and soap, which depends on oil as a raw material. There are also small-scale industries in the city, including textiles, carpets, embroidery, pottery, wicker furniture, and stained glass (bamboo).

Some crafts were also inherited and are still used by the people of the city. Such professions are pottery, furniture, bamboo, embroidery, carpet, copperware, and decorative tiles. Many of these industries are found in public areas: pottery in Daraj district, carpet in Sheja'aia, and iron and steel in Feras market. In order to revive such traditional crafts, Arts and Crafts Village was established and which was built of mud, old architectural style. A number of craftsmen in the Village produce and sell stained glass, carpets, pottery, embroidery and copper. And there is an art exhibit that displays the work of Palestinian and foreigner artists.


An old photo of the Fadous Band
Music plays an important role in Gaza daily life. The visitor, especially in the summer, can hear the different music of traditional "Fadous" bands. These bands accompany wedding celebrations in the streets. Gaza City is also famous for many traditional dishes, in addition to fish and seafood whether is grilled or fried. Other dishes contain meat and rice.

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