9 December 2017 Saturday Tel al-Qamar to Dar Salah - Culinary Experience

Come and join our first Culinary Tour on Masar Ibrahim, a long-distance cultural route in Palestine! Our morning trek of 2-3 hours will lead us across the serene landscapes of the Jerusalem Wilderness from the Tel al-Qamar (Hill of the Moon) area to Dar Salah village, located 6 km south of Bethlehem. On our way, we will climb some rocky hills but will also have some time to sit, close our eyes, and feel the relaxing atmosphere of the surrounding space.   In Dar Salah, our host will introduce us to a delicacy of the area - zarb, prepared in a special oven. All of us will join her in the preparation of the dish, which is a mix of tender chicken and various vegetables. While waiting for our meal to be cooked, we will learn how to make shrak, a large, paper-thin bread baked on a saj, a hot iron griddle resembling in shape an inverted wok. Besides that we will prepare tabouleh -  a fresh salad made of finely chopped tomatoes, parsley, mint, onion, and burgul. We will also make lebaneh (thick sheep’s milk yogurt) balls with olive oil, for us to take away. The collaborative preparation of the meal will be a perfect occasion to learn more about Palestinian culture and everyday life in the area. The tour will be guided by an experienced community trekking guide. By taking part in the tour you are contributing to the rural Palestinian communities.   Difficulty Level: Moderate Walking distance: 6.5 KM, Walking time : around 2 hours      Remember to take: comfortable broken-in hiking shoes (new shoes are not recommended), at least 3 liters of water, sunscreen, glasses and a hat,  snack, ID or passport

24 November 2017, Friday. ADH-DHAHRIYA TO BEIT MIRSIM - Thru Walk Masar Ibrahim 2017

The final stage of Masar Ibrahim begins with an interesting 19-kilometer hike between Adh-Dhahriya and Beit Mirsim, both located southwest of Hebron.   Six kilometers down the trail from Adh Dhahriya hikers will see the ruins of a Byzantine church, located about 300 meters east of the village of Anab al-Kabir. The compound served as a main religious center for the neighboring locations and includes parts of mosaic floors, as well as the remains of a wine press and grain mill.   The Masar passes through populated areas, including next to the primary school of Anab al-Kabir. If you hike on a workday, it is very possible that students on their way home from school will join you for some part of the trek.   After Anab al-Kabir the trail turns back to the north, leading to the suburb area of Adh-Dhahriya, where small shops can be found – a great place to refill supplies of cold water for the rest of the day- before passing next to an amusement park and garden where hikers can take a break in a shady spot.   The final part of the trail leads through the picturesque Wadi Nufakh, a valley that becomes a river during the rainy season. The slopes of the valley are rich in various shrubs, including felty germander (Teucrium polium, or in Arabic, jedeh (الجعدة)), which is widely used in popular medicine for treatment of stomach ailments. A small olive grove, ideal for taking rest in the shade, is located in the middle of the valley.   Before reaching the village of Al-Burj, famous for housing the remains of a Crusader-period fortified castle and a church, the trail passes next to the Israeli separation barrier. The Wall is also later visible from Beit Mirsim, the final location on Masar Ibrahim al-Khalil. The village is rich in heritage and includes such historical sites as a Byzantine olive press and a shrine of the Prophet Handal (Maqam al-Nabi Handal). Close to the village lies Tell Beit Mirsim, an ancient archaeological site, dating approximately to the eighteenth century BC. The site is now located on the other side of the wall and is inaccessible from the West Bank. Masar Ibrahim Hikers stamp location : Burqin Church Walking distance: 19.8 km Walking time: 5 - 7 hours Difficulty: Difficult   Recommendations: Lightweight walking boots Walking poles At least 4-5 liters of water and snacks for the hike Sunscreen and hat Your camera Included: An experienced local hiking guide Lunch en route  Transportations to/from Jerusalem/Bethlehem