Al Eizariya


Al-Eizariya is a large, bustling town which takes its name from the biblical Lazarus, whose tomb is located underneath a church here. It was here, in what was known as Bethany, that Jesus is said to have raised Lazarus back to life four days after his death. The tomb is now a traditional pilgrimage site, although this was made much harder by the separation barrier cutting it off from Jerusalem.

The pedestrianised side street and stone steps surrounding the tomb have seen the arrival of a series of souvenir shops, capitalising on the fact that this is a wonderful tourist destination. The Lazarus church has been beautifully renovated, while the adjacent mosque is also a fantastic sight to behold.

Al-Eizariya town itself hums with life, as people and cars fly up and down its main road, which is lined with hundreds of shops. This is one of the few places where Israeli settlers are allowed to come and shop, and as a result there is a certain level of respect from both parties. Al-Eizariya is also only 3km from Jerusalem.

Population: 17,606 (2007).

What To Do

The entrance to Al-Eizariya is lined with shops and full of energy, a clear indicator that this an evolving and expanding town. The key, unmissable tourist destination is the tomb of Lazarus, which is entered via a dark, damp, stone staircase. The beautifully restored pedestrian zone around it – which is called Bethany – is a great place to explore.

There are souvenir shops dotted along the stone steps selling handicrafts, clothes, bags, jewellery, postcards and more. The present catholic church built above the tomb is also a stunningly beautiful place to visit. Elsewhere in Al-Eizariya there is a Greek Orthodox Church which houses a convent, although unfortunately tourist visits are not permitted as of 2015.

Where To Eat

There are mini-markets and small restaurants selling traditional Palestinian fare – shawarma, falafel, hummus etc. – at very reasonable prices. Otherwise, in Jerusalem or even Ramallah and Bethlehem there are many restaurants and cafes.

Where To Stay

The best place to find accommodation is in Jerusalem, just 3km away, or Ramallah or Bethlehem.