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.
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.
Getting our poses on with a Banksy!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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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.
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 thoughts on “Banksy in Bethlehem! Banksy Street Art, Bethlehem, Palestine”
Clever street-art from Banksy as usual. I’d love to see these pieces! Thank-you for sharing.
Thanks Katie! I love how thought provoking his images are.
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 🙂
That was my first Banksy spotting, hopefully the first of many!
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.
It was amazing to see some of it up close. The armoured dove was very cool, such a big statement.
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.
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!
Banksy is definitely a reason to visit Bethlehem and there are many others!
Such powerful messages in these images. Thank you for sharing your perspective of them with us.
Thanks Sandra! Banksys work definitely offers an interesting perspective on things!
Beautiful photos, glad you had such a nice time. I do love Banksy!
Thanks Emma, glad you liked the pics!
I love wall art…. theres lots of Banksy in Bristol Uk
Excellent, we have a Bristol trip planned in a few months! Banksy has been added to the list!
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. 🙁
Ah no, at least you tried! Some of the Bethlehem work had been removed or painted over, it’s such a pity!
Never heard of Banksy before. Education gap??? :/
Altough I don´t know him I like his street art.
Christina, google him! He’s done some awesome stuff and his work often sends a powerful message.
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!
The flower thrower was awesome! So hard to decide my favourite, I liked the dove, the soldier, the angel and the flower thrower!
I love this street art! It is so meaningful and evokes powerful imagery. It would be great to see it in person!
This street art is really special, especially considering the location. Thanks for sharing!
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.
I’m very impressed by Banksy’s work, I’d love to see it in person one day
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
Never saw any of h8s artwork but would love to see it after reading this amazing article.
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!
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!
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!