General Mission of Palestine-Tokyo HOME
HOME > Travel & Tourism > Place to Visit > Gaza Strip
Place to Visit

Gaza Strip


Gaza is considered to be one of the most ancient and historical towns in the world. It is an Arab Cannaanite town gifted with a location which has been targeted by invaders for many centuries. The strategic significance of Gaza is no less important than its trading significance. This is due to the fact that most of the important trading routes in the ancient world led to Gaza, where goods from the south east of Asia and the Arab Peninsula such as spices, incense, rosemary and others were exported to all cities of the Mediterranean Sea.

Until the 18th century, the city was fortified with walls and gates leading to seven towns. These gates were given the names of those towns; Balakhiya Gate, Minas Gate, Sea Gate, Ashquelon Gate, Hebron Gate, Monter Gate and Daroum Gate.

Al-Ostakhri, a historian, said that Gaza is the last city in Palestine close to the Egyptian desert. Napoleon said that the city is the front garrison of Africa and the gate of Asia.

Gaza has a large number of archaeological sites which date back to different periods from the Cannaanite to the Ottoman period. Aside from all of this, Gaza has one of the most beautiful beaches and extremely friendly locals. Exploring Gaza can leave a profound impact on the visitor.

• Al Omari Great Mosque • Al Qissariya Market
• Qassr Al Basha • Sultan Abdulhamid Public Fountain
• El Sayyed Hashem Mosque • Al Ahmediya Prayer Corner
• Kateb al Wilayah Mosque • The Greek Orthodox Church
• Ali Bin Marwan Mosque Arts and Crafts Village 
• Al Shuja’iya • Ibn Othman Mosque
• Mosaic Floors • Al-Balakhiya
• Tell el Ejoul • Beit Hanoon
• El Nassr Mosque • Jabalia
• The Omeri Mosque at Jabalia • The Roman Byzantine Cemetery
• Beit Lahaia • Wadi Gaza (the Valley of Gaza)
• Deir el Balah • Khan Younis
• Rafah  

Al Omari Great Mosque

Location: in downtown Gaza at the end of Omar Mukhtar Street.

 Al-Umari mosque with its beautiful minaret used to be a Norman church built by the Crusaders in the 12th century. It is said to occupy the site of the first ancient temple of Marnas. 

Opening Hours:
Daily except Fri

• Al Qissariya Market  

Location: Al Daraj quarter in the old city of Gaza.

The structure of Qissariya which is adjacent to the southern wall of the Al Omari Great Mosque dates back to the Mamluk period. It is a pointed roofed road with vaults. The small shops on both sides are hooded with cross vaults. It is called the Gold market due to gold trading there. 

• Qassr Al Basha

Location: Al Daraj quarter in the old city of Gaza

A two storey building that goes back to the Mamluk period. It was the headquarter of the Deputy of Gaza during the Mamluk and the Ottoman periods. There are links to the Redhwan family, who owned the premises at the beginning of the Ottoman period, and it was used as a police station during the British mandate.

Napoleon spent three nights there during his campaign against Egypt and Syria in 1799. This is why it is sometimes called “Napoleon’s Citadel”. The Castle is characterized by the accuracy, strength and beauty of it’s facades which are decorated with different patterns such as the emblem of Al Thaher Babers (a sculpture of two facing lions) in addition to geometrical patterns and unique archaeological elements such as domes, fan and cross vaults.

The castle was provided with means of defense such as arrow slits; narrow openings from the outside expanding inside for flexible use of cannons.

• Sultan Abdulhamid Public Fountain

Location: Al Daraj quarter in the old city of Gaza

There were lots of public fountains during the Ottoman period funded with charitable donations. They were established to meet people’s need for water. There were about 200 of them in Gaza during that period as they were cheap compared to other constructions.

This fountain was established by Behram Bin Mustafa Basha in the 16th century. It was renovated during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid in 1893 AD. It is a recess with a pointed arch having two stone seats on both sides and pipes to bring water out for the people to drink.

• El Sayyed Hashem Mosque

Location: Al Daraj quarter in the old city of Gaza

Located in al-Daraj Quarter, the mosque is one of the biggest and most beautiful ancient mosques in Gaza. The tomb of Hashem Ben Abdulmanaf, Prophet Mohammed's grandfather who died in Gaza during a trading voyage, is believed to be under the dome of the mosque.

• Al Ahmediya Prayer Corner  

Location: Al Daraj quarter in the old city of Gaza

It was established in the 14th century by the followers of El Sayyed Ahmed El Badawi who died in Tanta in 1276 AD. Inside is a polygon room with six pointed arches and a big beautiful Mihrab. The high dome, supported by a cylindrical neck has twelve windows. Six spherical triangles support this neck in addition to the crossing vaults roofing the hall and the fan vault roof of the mid western hall, which has a beautiful fountain highlighting the beauty of the place.

The outside courtyard has a beautiful marble tomb in the corner. Its two stones are decorated by an emblem inside a circle are two polo sticks.

• Kateb al Wilayah Mosque

Location: Al Zaytoon quarter in the old city of Gaza

The oldest part of the structure dates back to the Mamluk period 1334 AD The western additions by Ahmed Bek, the clerk of the state, date back to the Ottoman period. That is why the mosque is called Kateb al Welaya. The minaret of the mosque is adjacent to the bells of Prophyrius Church.

• The Greek Orthodox Church

Location: Al Zaytoon quarter in the old city of Gaza

The original construction of the church from the beginning of the 5th century, while the existing structures date back to the 12th century. The church is a rectangular shape ending with a half-domed roofed temple. The roof of the church has two crossing vaults with a pointed arch between them. There are three entrances for the church: the western one has a portico with three marble columns supporting two pointed arches.

The church is characterized by its colossal walls supported by horizontal marble and granite columns and pilasters. The tomb of Saint Porphyrius, who died in 420, is in the north eastern corner. The church was renovated in8 156.

There are two other churches in the old city of Gaza:

  1. The Catholic church in the el Zaytoon quarter, which was established by the Austrian monk Herr Got in 1879.
  2. The Protestestant Church which was erected in 1893 at the then Baptist Hospital, now Al Ahli Hospital.

• Ali Bin Marwan Mosque

Location: Al Tuffah quarter outside the Eastern walls of Gaza.

One of Gaza’s well known mosque with an oratory for women that dates back to the Mamluk period. Inside is the tomb of a holy man (Sheik Ali bin Marwan) who came from Morocco settled in Gaza and died in 1314 AD. The mosque was renovated in 1324 AD. The stones of the tombs in the cemetery, close to the mosque, are considered to be historical documents.

• Arts and Crafts Village

Location: in downtown Gaza near the governor Palace.

A beautifully designed gallery inspired by traditional Islamic architecture, the village offers for sale embroidery, copper, rugs and pottery. It also exhibits modern arts from renowned national and international artists.

• Al Shuja’iya

Location: East of Gaza

It is named after the leader Shuja’ el-Din el-Kurdi. The southern part of the area is called el-Torokman while the northern part is called al-Judaida. There are several ancient structures, mosques and tombs.

• Ibn Othman Mosque

Location: Al-Shuja’iya Market Street

It is one of the biggest ancient mosques in Gaza outstanding for its wonderful Mamluk architecture and elements of patterns. It was established at different stages during he Mamluke period, and eventually built by Ahmed bin Othman who was born in Nablus, came to Gaza and died there in 1402 AD. 

• Mosaic Floors

Location: Near the Port of Gaza

Excavated in 1966 these are decorated with drawings of animals, birds & scripts that date back to the beginning of the 6th century A.D. The Israelis moved the mosaic floor to the Israeli Museumsin the 1970’s leaving part of its frame.

The original written script of the foundation is in old Greek. “We the lumber merchants, Minamos, Izos the sons of Izis offer this mosaic to the holiest place - in the month of Linos of 569 Gaza Calendar, 508/509 A.D.”

• Al-Balakhiya

Location: North east of Gaza

There is the old Port of Gaza dating back to the Greek and Roman periods. In addition there is a Byzantine cemetery, where one of its tombs is decorated with plants and a cross with two pine trees on the sides, and walls made of bricks.

• Tell el Ejoul

Location: South of Gaza

One of the most important archaeological sites in Gaza. A Cannaanite town used to be here. Filinders Paterie, who excavated the hill between 1931 - 1934, believes that the site of Old Gaza was here; the people deserted the place because of malaria and moved to the existing location of Gaza. The most important excavation is a wall of 2.5 feet wide and 50 feet high. Tombs of horsemen buried with their horses, a tunnel 500 feet long and five big castles were also found. The earliest of these castles dates back to 3000 BC. One dates back to the Egyptian Family 1580-1350 BC. The rest date back to families in the 16th, 15th and 12th centuries. Clay and copper pots, golden bracelets, earrings, wooden beds, cork pillows and other things were also found there.

• Beit Hanoon  

Location: North of Gaza

The area is well known for it’s fertile soil and fresh sweet water. It was the capital of King Hanoon who fought the Assyrians in the 8th century BC. It has a mosque dating back to the Ayoobi period. Scattered pottery fragments can be seen on the site.

The checkpoint leading to the Palestinian Northern Governorates is called Beit Hannoon. The Ayoobits won a battle against the Crusaders at Um el Nasser Hill east of Beit Hanoon, and built a mosque there as a commemoration of the victory. A Mamluk post office was in Beit Hanoon as well.

• El Nassr Mosque

The mosque is a unique example remaining from the Ayoobi period and was founded in commemoration of the Ayoobi victory against the Crusaders at the battle of Um el Nassr in 1239 AD. Nothing is left of the mosque apart from the southern portico with its beautiful roof, which consists of fan vaults and shallow dome in the centre.

The hall ends with a room to the east roofed with a dome supported on spherical triangles. The foundation plate is inscribed in Ayoobi script. 

• Jabalia

Location: North of Gaza

This is known for its fertile soil and citrus trees. The Mamluk ruler Sinjer Alamudin el Jawli owned the area and designated its land for his mosque in Gaza to house his soldiers, who came from the mountains.

• The Omeri Mosque at Jabalia

Nothing is left from the ancient mosque apart from the portico and the minaret. The rest of the mosque is a modern building. The portico is three arcades supported by four stone columns. The arcades have pointed arches and the portico is roofed by crossing vaults. Recently, a cemetery dating back to the Byzantine and the Roman periods and a mosaic floor of a church dating back to the Byzantine period were excavated. The floor is decorated with drawings of wild animals and birds, plants, trees and written scripts. 

• The Roman Byzantine Cemetery

Location: Jabalia

It is a hill of rough sand about 48m above sea level. It gets higher (75m) going east. There are stone cisterns covered with rooting to prevent leakage. There are also some pottery fragments and bone remnants. Tombs of different types were found containing skeletons, jewels, glass, pottery, metals and decorated stones.

• Beit Lahaia

Location: north Jabalia

The word “Beit Lahia” comes from Syric and means “desert” or “fatigue”. It is well known for Its fresh, sweet water and growing berries as well as citrus trees. It has an ancient hill and old destroyed villages. A mihrab is the only thing left from an old mosque to the west of Beit Lahia dating back to the Ayoobi period, and two other mosques dating back to the Ottoman period.

• Wadi Gaza (the Valley of Gaza)

There are three valleys in Gaza. The valley of Gaza begins in the at Hebron mountains descends into the Mediterranean Sea. A new bridge was built over the valley in order to link the south of Gaza together with the north of Gaza. There are archaeological sites on both sides of the valley. 

• Deir el Balah

Location: About 13 km to the south of Gaza.

Well-known for its beaches and palm trees, recent excavations at this southern Gaza town uncovered a cemetery dating back to the late Bronze Age and filled with pottery, tombs, bronze pots and a mosaic floor. A monastery was built in Deir al-Balah by St. Helena in 372 AD.

• Khan Younis

Located 25 km south of Gaza City, Khan Yunis is a market town for the agricultural produce of local villages. An impressive khan bordering the Town Square is a fortress built in the 13th century as a garrison for soldiers guarding pilgrims on their journey fnjkl rom Jerusalem to Mecca. The weekly market near the khan is a fascinating picture of traditional life.

• Rafah

Located on the southern tip of Gaza, Rafah is a Canaanite town described as Rafia by the Greeks and the Romans. The town has some ancient mosques and archeological sites, including a mosaic floor. Rafah's beach is beautiful, offering sand dunes and date palms.

Contact us
Copyright (c) 2004 General Mission of Palestine. All Rights Reserved.