How to see the Banksy artwork in Bethlehem (with maps!)

When you step off the bus in Bethlehem, Palestine, you’ll immediately be beset by taxi drivers looking to take you around to all the Banksy artwork in town.  Unaware of where the various pieces of art were located, my friend and I took a taxi.  To our surprise, the first piece was a mere 300 m away from the bus stop!  Unsurprisingly, most of the others were within walking distance, too.

If you want to support the local cab industry, then by all means, take a taxi!  But here’s the information you need to a) not get ripped off by said taxi, and b) visit the sites without a taxi at all.

How much should a taxi cost?

My friend and I were approached by half a dozen cab drivers before we were fully off the bus.  The first of these was well-spoken and professional, and, unfortunately, completely full of crap.  Don’t sit in the cab during negotiations–they will use it against you when you turn them down (“You sat in my cab!  We did business!” was shouted after us even though we never got in the cab).  He tried to charge us 150NIS to visit all the Banksy artwork plus some sites we were uninterested in.  He dropped it to 100NIS as we walked away.  We soon found out the whole tour would have been maybe 8 km of driving, so his prices were completely ridiculous.

The next guy offered us three pieces of Banksy art plus a ride to the church for 20NIS–we agreed.  Ended up the taxi ride was totally unnecessary, but at least we didn’t pay much!

Walking the nearby sites

Two legitimate Banksy works and one knock-off are within a few hundred meters of the bus stop in Bethlehem.  When you exit the bus, cross the street and turn left.

The three-(ish) pieces of Banksy art you can see on foot from the bus stop in Bethlehem.

The three-(ish) pieces of Banksy art you can see on foot from the bus stop in Bethlehem.  The red line is the Separation Wall (Click for full size)

A couple hundred meters up on the right you’ll find the “Girl Frisking Soldier” piece.  A protective structure has been built around it, shielding it from the road–don’t walk by it!

Banksy's "Girl Frisking Soldier" shielded from the street in Bethlehem.

Banksy’s “Girl Frisking Soldier” shielded from the street in Bethlehem.

Continue up the street and hang a sharp right to find the “Armored Dove” on an obvious wall facing the next intersection.

Banksy's "Armored Dove" in Bethlehem

Banksy’s “Armored Dove” in Bethlehem

I made the map from memory after my visit, the next set of directions may be off by a street, but don’t worry–the enormous Separation Wall is your next destination, and you can’t exactly miss it.   Walk straight along the street back toward the separation wall (on the map in red).  Once you’re at the wall, keep going straight and check out the next block of artwork that covers its length.

Local artwork on the Separation Wall in Bethlehem.

Local artwork on the Separation Wall in Bethlehem.

Then double back to where you met the wall and take a right, following the wall down a small side street.  There’s more artwork (including an imitation Banksy of a girl with balloons) as well as some poignant stories from Palestinians posted on the wall.  There’s also a Banksy Shop across from the wall.  I doubt a single cent actually goes to Banksy, but there’s some fun stuff in there, including postcards for the folks back home.

Separation Wall in Bethlehem.  Banksy Store is on the left, just out of the picture.

Separation Wall in Bethlehem. Banksy Store is on the left, just out of the picture.

From there, walk back to the bus stop and decide your plan of action for the next couple pieces.

Walking to the more distant Banksy works

From the bus stop it’s an easy walk into the center of town and the Church of the Nativity.  You’ll be offered taxis, but they’re really not necessary.  Just walk to the next intersection, go left, and walk straight along the road (and down a large staircase) to the plaza in front of the famous church.

How to get to the Ararat Hotel and "Angel with Hearts" piece in Bethlehem from the Church of the Nativity.

How to get to the Ararat Hotel and “Angel with Hearts” piece in Bethlehem from the Church of the Nativity. (Click for full size)

From the Church, it’s about 800 m to the next [debatable] Banksy piece “Angel Scattering Hearts”, and a further 1200 m to the epic “Soldier Throwing Flowers”.  So, from the Church, it’s about a 4 km round trip.

How to get from the "Angel" piece to "Man Throwing Flowers" in Bethlehem.

How to get from the “Angel” piece to “Man Throwing Flowers” in Bethlehem. (Click for full size)

The angel is across the street from the Ararat Hotel, and the man is on the side of a garage across from a car shop.

"Angel Sprinkling Hearts" in Bethlehem (photo credit: Pintrest).

“Angel Sprinkling Hearts” in Bethlehem (photo credit: Pintrest).

"Man Throwing Flowers" by Banksy in Bethlehem (photo credit: kulturawplot.pl)

“Man Throwing Flowers” by Banksy in Bethlehem (photo credit: kulturawplot.pl)

You can probably negotiate for a cheap taxi to just those sites–just keep in mind that the round trip distance is just 4 km from the church, so hold out for a fair price.

Enjoy Bethlehem!

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7 Comments

  1. Well, Sarah, I will give you this. Am learning a lot through your capers. Had never heard the word “banksy” before, so had to trot my buttinsky to wikipedia for enlightenment. OK, so he is a psyoanonymous graffiti chap from England.

    You definitely have more moxie than I, Missy, as I would be scared to death to be over in that part of the world right now. Though, I will say, that if I had seen a bright star in the sky, I would have headed for Bethlehem.

    Hugs and good wishes from Judy.

    • Glad you’re learning new things from my blog! As for being scared of this part of the world, ever notice how Jordan hardly ever makes the news? That’s because it’s super peaceful here! They’ve managed to keep their nose clean while their neighbors engage in ever more conflicts. Jordan is a breath of fresh air in the Middle East!

      • Sarah, is Queen Noor still over there. Or did she come back to the states when King Hussein passed away? Jordan has always been one of my favorite countries . . . were you able to get to Petra?

        And thanx for taking the time to communicate with me in this format, Sarah. I don’t use those other new-fangled things (Facebook and the Bird-thing), and have just now realized that this journalism of yours is called a “blog.” Yes, I am indeed learning many things from you . . . and I thank you.

  2. Hi Sarah,

    This really helped me not need a taxi, thank you so much.

    There are some changes since you were there though. The ‘Girl Frisking Soldier’ piece is now basically a shop! And unsurprisingly, it’s the other Banksy shop and the merchandise here is cheaper than the other one near the wall.

    It also has a reflective protector covering it which is either glass or plastic – I didn’t check.

    Though it’s a shop, there was no pressure to buy anything which was refreshing.

    If you want an updated picture to put on your website, let me know.

    Sami
    aka – The Unlikely Traveller

  3. Thank you very much Sarah! This descreption and the maps were exactly what I needed. You can walk every distance and I met a few people, who offered me a free ride.
    So you really don’t need a taxi.

    Like Sami said: there is a shop, but you recognize the “protecting wall” from the outside.

    Trish

  4. Thanks for this information, it really helped!

  5. Thank you so much for this post! I ignored the taxis and enjoyed the art! Wonderful.

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