Introduction

In a region where the lives of cities can often be measured in terms of millennia, Ramallah – little more than a hamlet until the late 19th century – is a veritable new kid on the block. But the de facto capital of the Palestinian Territories has made up for lost time: today it is a vibrant, bustling and cosmopolitan city that is the West Bank's political and economic heart.

Although Ramallah lacks the religious fervour of Hebron or Nablus, the flags and graffiti that adorn every wall leave you in no doubt where you are. But the city is not all about politics. The tiny shops, cafes and eateries that line the arteries that lead off Al Manara Sq – with its iconic four lions – are fascinating places to wander, and the nearby Al Masyoun is the centre of Ramallah's famous – some argue infamous – nightlife.