Contributed by Turathuna Bethlehem University on 30.09.2006:
Al-Madbassah Square in the Old City of Bethlehem is near the Lutheran Church and in front of the Salisian convent. The Square lies on top of a hill which constitutes to the old city of Bethlehem. In the old days, the square was the site of a molasses mill, where Bethlehemites came to make dibis (molasses) out of their grape harvest. Hence, the square took the name al- Madbassah or the molasses mill. The square with its surrounding area is part of a regular route for tourists to take when visiting Bethlehem. The square provides a central location from which one can reach Bethlehem and its surrounding areas easily, quickly and cheaply. There is a taxi station that connects Beit Jala, Artas, Solomon’s Pools and al-Khader. The square is surrounded by a colorful shopping street where the pulse of Arabic life can be experienced first hand. The square, like the rest of the old city of Bethlehem today, suffers from dilapidation and insufficient infrastructure networks and traffic jams.