For a town with a population of little over 10,000, Al-Khader certainly has a lot to offer. The surrounding fields are very picturesque, with rolling swathes of grape vines, olive trees and fig trees stretching out into the distance. But Al-Khader is home to a range of wonderful sights and sites within its boundaries, waiting to be explored. St George’s Monastery can be entered, while there is also the renovated Convention Palace adjacent to the Murad Fortress.

Not forgetting, of course, the legendary Solomon’s Pools, three large reservoirs which were part of a complex, ancient water system. As well as historical sites, Al-Khader also boasts an international football stadium with seating for 6,000 spectators. Every September, the town hosts a grape festival to promote its key agricultural product. The festival also includes exhibitions of homemade grape products, mills and grinders as well as embroidery and knitting. Al-Khader is also just 5km west of the thriving city of Bethlehem.

Population: 9,774 (2007)

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What To Do

The Orthodox Christian Monastery of St George is a beautiful, enchanting place. Although the modern church was built in 1912, the remains of the chapel date back to the 16th century. The monastery is open for visits. The monastery is just a stone’s throw away from the town’s modern landmark, Al-Khader International Football Stadium.

On the other side of town, close to the small village of Artas, stands the wonderfully restored Convention Palace. This beautiful building is now used for important meetings, conventions and the like.

Nextdoor is the magnificent Murad Fortress, a Turkish Ottoman castle built by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1617 to defend Solomon’s Pools. It was recently renovated and opened to visitors, with the addition of the Murad Castle Museum as well.

Solomon’s Pools are just down the road from the fortress, and are a mesmerising sight to behold, given their ancient age. They actually come under the municipal boundary of the neighbouring village of Artas. Named after King Solomon, the three large reservoirs were used to collect water from rain and springs in the surrounding valleys and channel it to Jerusalem.

Where To Eat

There are small restaurants and shops in the centre of Al-Khader, where traditional Palestinian food such as Shawarma and falafel can be purchased. For more variety, however, head to either Beit Sahour or into Bethlehem itself, just 5km away.

Where To Stay

There is a range of hotels in the surrounding area for visitors to choose from, most located in either Bethlehem itself or Beit Sahour. Alternatively, Jerusalem is easily reached in less than an hour.