Banksy in Bethlehem! Banksy Street Art, Bethlehem, Palestine

by | Aug 24, 2014 | Israel, Latest Posts, Palestine | 36 comments

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We were on our way to the West Bank to check out Bethlehem and the excitement levels were fever pitch in The Whole World is a Playground house! Not only were we getting to see the Little Town of Bethlehem there was the small matter of some iconic Banksy street art along the way!

There are a million reasons to visit the West Bank but, if you need one more, Banksy in Bethlehem might just be it! Check out the rest of our day in Bethlehem here!

We booked a day trip tour from Jerusalem to Bethlehem which took us through all the border patrols without any extra work on our part.

Book your tour now!

Banksy Bethlehem ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Where to stay when visiting Bethlehem

Most visitors will take a day trip into Bethlehem from Jerusalem city in Israel. Most of the tours will do a hotel pickup, however the best hotels will be the ones closest to the old city of Jerusalem as they allow you to explore the Old City easily and are located close to the bus stations. The best hotels we recommend are:

  • Harmony Hotel: Where we stayed and a short 5 minute walk from the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City. This stunning boutique hotel really made our stay in Jerusalem special. A delicious breakfast each morning, afternoon drinks on the sun filled terrace and a perfect location make this our top pick for staying beside the Old City of Jerusalem. The local area is lively with a great atmosphere and lots of great restaurants and bars. The hotel also has free parking which was great when we rented a car for a day trip to Massada – Click here for best prices!
  • Sephardic House Hotel: located within the Old City itself in the Jewish Quarter (close to the Zion Gate), this hotel is a short walking distance from all of the sights, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Temple Mount and the Western Wall to name a few nearby). Perfect if you want to stay in the Old City itself – Click here for best prices!
  • Bezalel Hotel:  A fantastic value hotel located 10 minutes walk from the Jaffa Gate. A sister hotel of the Harmony hotel, the Bezalel is a great alternative if the Harmony Hotel is booked out! – Click here for best prices!

Click here for the best Jerusalem hotel prices

The Girl Frisking the Soldier

Our first stop was the incredible image of the young girl frisking a soldier which Banksy did as part of his 2007 stint in Palestine. I was blown away by the prospect of standing in front of a real life Banksy creation, especially one as iconic as the Girl Frisking the Soldier.

Banksy Bethlehem ©thewholeworldisaplayground

A close up:Banksy Bethlehem ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Getting our poses on with a Banksy! 
Banksy Bethlehem ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Location: The girl frisking the solider is located across the street from the Intercontinental Bethlehem (Jacir Palace) Hotel, close to the Gilo 300 checkpoint, which marks the border between Israel and Palestine.

The Armoured Dove

The peace dove with a bullet proof vest and a target welcomes visitors to Bethlehem and Palestine. The irony being that the posters hide the bullet holes in the wall.
Banksy Bethlehem ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Location: The Armoured Dove is located outside the Palestine Heritage Centre.

The Angel Sprinkling Hearts

I love hearts and I love angels so it’s no surprise that the Angel Sprinkling Hearts was the highlight of my Banksy spotting! The hearts may have faded to yellow but it’s still a strong and beautiful image.

Banksy Bethlehem ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Location: The Angel Sprinkling Hearts is located close to the Ararat Hotel in Bethlehem. It is on the way to Manger Square and on the opposite side of the road to the hotel.

The Flower Thrower

Our next stop was The Flower Thrower, another iconic Banksy stencil which depicts a masked Palestinian throwing a bouquet of flowers.

Banksy Bethlehem ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundHappy Banksy smiles! 
Banksy Bethlehem ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Location: The Flower Thrower is on a wall on the side of a garage on the main road from Beit Sahour opposite a Peugot/Citroen car dealership. 

The Girl with the Balloons

The Balloon Girl is a replica stencil of an original Bansky and is said to have been recreated to mark the opening of a Banksy souvenir stop in the West Bank. It might not be an actual Banksy but I love the idea of the girl with the balloons floating over the Separation Wall to freedom.

Banksy Bethlehem ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Location: The Girl with the Balloons is located opposite the Banksy shop in Bethlehem. The store is well signposted on the main road along the Separation Wall.

Window on the West Bank

Only part of The Window on the West Bank remains along the Separation Wall in Bethlehem. Banksy used stickers, which unfortunately didn’t stand the test of time,  in some of his West Bank images. Two sofas and the outline of a window remain from a stencil which gave Palestinians a glimpse at life through the Separation Wall.

Banksy Bethlehem ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Location: The Window on the West Bank is located in the car park at the Gilo 300 checkpoint marking the border between Israel and Palestine.

 

Overall

Our Banksy tour of Bethlehem was amazing and we were totally blown away by the Banksy creations found in Bethlehem. Bethlehem is an incredible destination in its own right and the Bansky images are just one more reason to make the trip to the West Bank. As the artist himself reportedly said ‘if it is safe enough for a bunch of sissy artists, it’s safe enough for anyone!’

Check out the rest of our day in Bethlehem here!

If you love adventures remember to follow on Facebook and Twitter. If you found the post useful please do share!

Banksy travelled to Bethlehem in both 2005 and 2007 where he expressed his views on the Israel/Palestine conflict through his art. Some of his images have been removed or painted over but the images above still remain intact as of the Summer 2014. All images are publicly accessible and are free to visit.

Getting around Bethlehem:

  • Tour:  Day tours are available to Bethlehem from Jerusalem.
  • Bus and Taxi: Bus 21 leaves from the Bus Station at Damascus Gate to Bab ez-Zqaq.  There are plenty of taxis at the checkpoint whose drivers are well versed on the locations of the Banksy images.

Banksy locations:

Bethlehem is not well mapped and the locations listed above are based on our best guess of the tour locations and their position on Google maps.

36 Comments

  1. Katie Featherstone

    Clever street-art from Banksy as usual. I’d love to see these pieces! Thank-you for sharing.

    Reply
    • Elaine

      Thanks Katie! I love how thought provoking his images are.

      Reply
  2. Axelle

    I love Banksy’s work. I first saw it in Paris, a couple of years ago. Impressive that you can make a statement with art 🙂

    Reply
    • Elaine

      That was my first Banksy spotting, hopefully the first of many!

      Reply
  3. Dave Cole

    Very cool street art! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything by Banksy in person, but have always been impressed by the creativity in the work. I especially like the dove with the bullet-proof vest. Thanks for supplying the maps – this could be a really fun tour of Bethlehem.

    Reply
    • Elaine

      It was amazing to see some of it up close. The armoured dove was very cool, such a big statement.

      Reply
  4. Karen Warren

    Some great pictures here. I had no idea that there were any of Banksy’s works in Palestine – thanks for bringing them to my attention.

    Reply
    • Elaine

      Cheers Karen!

      Reply
  5. Bente Vold Klausen

    I loved this posts, Thank you! Banksy is such a great artist and I did not know he had anything in Bethlehem, gives me a reason to go there!

    Reply
    • Elaine

      Banksy is definitely a reason to visit Bethlehem and there are many others!

      Reply
  6. Sandra @ Tripper

    Such powerful messages in these images. Thank you for sharing your perspective of them with us.

    Reply
    • Elaine

      Thanks Sandra! Banksys work definitely offers an interesting perspective on things!

      Reply
  7. Emma Brisdion

    Beautiful photos, glad you had such a nice time. I do love Banksy!

    Emma x

    Thebrisdionblog.com

    Reply
    • Elaine

      Thanks Emma, glad you liked the pics!

      Reply
  8. Anne Klien

    I love wall art…. theres lots of Banksy in Bristol Uk

    Reply
    • Elaine

      Excellent, we have a Bristol trip planned in a few months! Banksy has been added to the list!

      Reply
  9. Revati

    We’re absolute fans of Banksy! So thrilled that you got to see the girl with the balloons. On our recent trip to Melbourne, we’d heard that there was a Banksy hidden in their laneways, but couldn’t find it (so kudos on the maps) then we read it was rumoured to have been demolished. 🙁

    Reply
    • Elaine

      Ah no, at least you tried! Some of the Bethlehem work had been removed or painted over, it’s such a pity!

      Reply
  10. Christina

    Never heard of Banksy before. Education gap??? :/
    Altough I don´t know him I like his street art.

    Reply
    • Elaine

      Christina, google him! He’s done some awesome stuff and his work often sends a powerful message.

      Reply
  11. Marie-Carmen

    Oh I’d love to see those Bansky!
    The flower thrower has always been my fav! That’s great that you guys got a chance to see those powerful street arts!

    Reply
    • Elaine

      The flower thrower was awesome! So hard to decide my favourite, I liked the dove, the soldier, the angel and the flower thrower!

      Reply
  12. Lauren

    I love this street art! It is so meaningful and evokes powerful imagery. It would be great to see it in person!

    Reply
    • Elaine

      Cheers Lauren!

      Reply
  13. Mindi @ 2foodtrippers

    This street art is really special, especially considering the location. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  14. Jessica @She Dreams of Travel

    I have seen some of Banksy’s work in pictures. They are such wonderful pieces of art with a really strong message. I think the one with Flower Thrower is my favorite. I can only imagine that seeing them in person was that much more amazing.

    Reply
  15. Brianna

    I’m very impressed by Banksy’s work, I’d love to see it in person one day

    Reply
  16. Bianca @itsallbee

    Such a great post. I really do hope things in this region get better soon as its such a beautiful place and I do hope things improve in Palestine to allow more people to freely see its beauty.

    Reply
  17. Michael Huxley

    I have to say I am not a big fan of Banksy or ‘street art’ at all. It isn’t ‘art’, it’s vandalism. Why not put the paintings on canvas? Why not create a genuine work of art and display it in an appropriate venue?

    Reply
  18. Stacey Veikalas

    I have never heard of these before and they are very cool, I would love to see them in person. It reminds a bit of the berlin wall and some of its paintings that really have a message. The art all really makes you stop and think. Very nice piece thanks so much for sharing.

    Reply
  19. Margherita @The Crowded Planet

    Wow! I’m bookmarking this – amazing! I love Banksy and street art in general, and seeing it in a place like Bethlehem would make it even more special.

    Reply
  20. Jessica

    So awesome, Elaine! I would love to see some Banksy out of the States, definitely adding this to my travel wish list! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  21. jane

    Never saw any of h8s artwork but would love to see it after reading this amazing article.

    Reply
  22. Tom Egan

    Thanks for this really informative guide! I managed to find the flower grenade thrower and the angel of hearts because of this guide! You’re a superstar!

    Reply
    • Elaine

      Excellent Tom 🙂 Happy you were able to find the flower thrower and the angel of hearts, they’re definitely the most tricky to find. Hope you liked them!

      Reply
  23. Alessandra

    Great post! I just came back from my own Banksy hunt in Bethlehem and I have to thank you for the accurate indications you provided, I managed to find them all!

    Reply

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