The City of Hebron is located in the south of the West Bank of Palestine, approximately 30 km (19 mi) south of Jerusalem. In Arabic, the name of the city is ‘Al Khalil’ (الخليل) after the Prophet Abraham. At the center of Hebron is the ‘Old City,’ which is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the biggest Old City in all of Palestine. It houses a Palestinian population of approximately 220 thousand Palestinians and between 500- 850 Jewish settlers. The presence of both communities is a large source of tension and has led to a complicated political situation within the city. Hebron is best known as a large trade hub within the West Bank, and has long been known for its traditional trades, such as glass blowing and ceramics, among others.
The Old City of Hebron has witnessed many different conquest periods and as a result has buildings in the Ottoman, Mamluk, Abbasid and Islamic styles among others. Traditional elements of Islamic architecture like souks, turkish baths, and buildings with open courtyards can be found throughout the Old City. Many buildings in the Old City are over 500 years old, if not much older. It is a historic religious and cultural site, where different elements from the various periods of Hebron’s rich history can be seen.
Hebron is the last hill-top city one encounters before entering the desert, i.e. it is a city surrounded by Bedouins and semi-Bedouins from both the South and the East. Its mountainous and fertile land as well as its agricultural soil just right for grapevines and fruit trees requiring relatively low temperatures (apples, cherries, apricots, plums and almonds) have given the city a strategic importance.
Hebron is located 30 km South of Jerusalem, and lies 950 m above sea level (about 1300 m above the Dead Sea). It is one of the highest cities in the area and was, until the 19th century, considered the highest city in the Middle East. The climate in Hebron is temperate and the mean year-round temperature ranges between 15-16° (an average of 7° in winter and 21° in summer). Annual precipitations average around 502 mm.