Banksy Bethlehem Wall Graffiti

About this place

Plan Your Visit

  • Location: 182 Caritas Street, Bethlehem, The West Bank
  • Open Times: The hotel is closed to visitors at this time, but as the situation in the region improves it will be reopened. Check the hotel website for more information. When it is operating, the hotel museum and art gallery are open to non-hotel guests daily from 11:00 to 19:30. The piano bar is open daily to non-hotel guests from 11:00 to 22:00. Pro Tip: The Piano Bar serves food and drinks and is a nice place to stop for lunch.
  • Prices: Hotel prices start at $70 for a dorm bed. Entry to the Piano Bar is free if you are buying at least a coffee or drink. Entrance to the museum costs approximately $6.50 and tickets are sold at the hotel entrance. Pro Tip: The museum gallery does not hold artwork by Banksy, so if you have come specifically for his work, don’t buy a museum ticket, just enter the bar for a drink and you will see all the Banksy work.
  • Average Visit Duration: 1 hour
  • Notes for Visitors: The hotel is an independent, privately owned business that is not aligned with any political movement. They welcome guests of all nationalities and religions with open hearts, although the whole point of the hotel is to make a statement opposing the existence of the separation wall. Large groups need to book in advance.
  • Special Events: Plans are being made for celebrations in 2027 to mark 110 years since Britain took control of Palestine, and 10 years since the hotel’s opening.
  • Relevant Tours: It is highly recommended to visit the Walled Off Hotel on an organized tour from Israel, preferably a private tour. You can include the hotel in a day of Bethlehem sightseeing and also visit the Church of Nativity. The best option around is this 1-Day guided voyage to Bethlehem

The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem is a themed art hotel and museum created by the world-famous street artist, Banksy. It is a one-of-a-kind place that not many tourists get to see. Although busloads of tourists visit Bethlehem’s top attraction, the Church of the Nativity, most don’t linger in the West Bank to visit this outstanding site. 

Banksy Bethlehem Wall GraffitiOne of Banksy's most famous creations, the Flower Thrower (Image source: young shanahan CC BY 2.0)

Walled Off Hotel is a hotel where every surface became the artist’s canvas and has been used to express his unique style of art that makes social comment. All of Banksy’s work sends a message or makes a sarcastic, satirical, ironic, or tongue-in-cheek commentary on society, politics, or a current situation or event. This particular Banksy project expresses the artist’s views on the Israeli-Palestinian problem, war, and particularly the wall that separates Israel from the Palestinian West Bank. 

The Walled Off Hotel

The hotel was established by the street artist Banksy together with locals in 2017. The artist had already visited the West Bank in 2005, but on his return, he saw the opportunity to have a site that was not only a gallery of his art but a working hotel. The hotel has hotel-type rooms, as well as hostel-like dorm rooms with bunk beds (decorated with IDF surplus materials).

Banksy Bethlehem Wall GraffitiArtwork inside one of the rooms in the Walled Off Hotel (Image source: The official Banksy website)

Visitors to Bethlehem who are not staying at the hotel can take a tour of the public areas that were designed by Banksy and feature his works of art, for example, the colonial-themed piano bar overflowing with kitsch furniture and decor. 

Pro Tip: All of the 9 rooms (and one suite) have views of the separation wall but they are not all designed by Banksy. Some of the rooms are designed by other famous artists, so if you really want a Banksy room, make sure you ask when booking.

The Walled Off Hotel is a double entendre, referencing the iconic luxury hotel, the Waldorf, and the fact that Bethlehem is in the West Bank, separated from Israel by a wall.

The hotel is located in a busy area with plenty of restaurants, bars, and taxis. It is about 500 meters from the checkpoint to Jerusalem and a mile from Bethlehem. So, theoretically, it is safe, but as the situation in the region is volatile and often changes it is best to check with your embassy. It is also highly recommended to visit the hotel with an organized tour from Israel. Organized tours are accompanied by a security unit, specifically to protect you. 

Who is Banksy?

Banksy, a mysterious and elusive street artist, has become a global icon in the realm of contemporary art. Hailing from the United Kingdom, Banksy's identity remains unknown, adding an air of enigma to his work. Renowned for his thought-provoking and politically charged street art, Banksy employs stencils to convey powerful messages on social and political issues. 

His pieces often appear unexpectedly on city walls, bridges, and buildings, challenging societal norms and sparking conversations about topics such as war, inequality, and government surveillance. Beyond the streets, Banksy's artwork has found its way into prestigious galleries and auction houses, with his satirical and subversive style leaving an indelible mark on the art world. 

Many consider artist Banksy infamous rather than famous, but none can deny that the artist's commitment to anonymity and his ability to blend poignant commentary with visual allure make Banksy a unique and influential figure in contemporary art and the best-known street artist in the world.

In the summer of 2005, Banksy and his team visited the West Bank and left their mark. On that visit, nine murals were created on the dividing wall between Israel and the West Bank. He visited again in 2007 and added several graffiti works of art to the wall. In addition, there is more Banksy Bethlehem art that he has not claimed or which has been done anonymously and the artist is unknown.

What You’ll See at the Walled-Off Hotel

The Nativity Scene (Scar of Bethlehem)

Banksy usually sends the hotel a piece of art as a gift every Christmas, and this artwork is placed in the hotel lobby. One of the better-known “Christmas” gifts from Banksy is his take on the nativity scene. It is called “Scar of Bethlehem” (a play on the Star of Bethlehem) and is a traditional statue scene of the Holy Family against the backdrop of a concrete wall (the separation wall) with a bullet hole (the star) in it.

The Girl and the Heart 

In the Piano Bar, there is an authentic slab of the separation wall mounted on the wall which features one of Banksy’s works of art. A little girl crouches next to a heart-shaped hole in the concrete wall.

Piano Bar

In 1917 the British were given a mandate to rule Palestine, and the Piano Bar is themed as a satirical slice of colonial life in the Middle Eastern output. The room features leather furniture, vandalized oil paintings, Banksy statues (cherubs with gas masks), and large ceiling fans. Each day visitors are served English scones and tea in the Piano Bar in true British fashion.

Pro Tip: Every night at 19:00 there are live musical performances in the Piano Bar.

Gallery and Museum

The gallery part of the hotel is a completely autonomous section and looks like a regular museum gallery. It showcases original artwork by local artists.

Banksy Bethlehem Wall GraffitiThe Banksy Gallery (Image source: The official Banksy website)

The nearby Museum is dedicated to the separation wall it includes audio-visual presentations, An animated history of the region, An original beach sculpture from Gaza, military images, and screenings of excerpts from the Oscar-nominated movie Five Broken Cameras.

Flower Thrower (Love Is In The Air)

Perhaps one of Banksy’s best-known pieces, and one of his first in the West Bank created in 2003. This is not Banksy Bethlehem wall art, as it is stenciled onto the side of a car wash on Ash Salon Street. It is not in very good condition and is not easy to spot, but you will see many replicas of this image. The image features a Palestinian man throwing flowers as if they were a Molotov cocktail.

Banksy Bethlehem Wall GraffitiThe Flower Thrower graffiti

The Alternative

A stencil piece featuring two cherubs with crowbars trying to open up the wall. It was created at a point where there is a crack in the separation wall, with a cherub on each side so it appears as if they have opened up the crack. This is one of Banksy’s most recent pieces in Bethlehem and is located about 50 meters down the road if you exit the hotel and turn left.

Make Hummus Not War

There are several of these “Make Hummus Not War “graffiti art pieces around the hotel, but they are most likely all replicas of an original that either no longer exists or its location has been forgotten.

Banksy Girl Frisking a Soldier

Located on Hebron Road, alongside the Saint Micheal Hotel, inside the Banksy Shop, a small memorabilia and souvenir store. This is one of the oldest Banksy pieces in the city. To see it you need to enter the store, where it is protected to prevent people from getting close enough to damage the art.

Banksy Bethlehem Wall GraffitiThe Girl Frisking A Soldier graffiti

A Soldier Checking a Donkey’s ID 

This piece done in 2007 on the separation wall was later removed and sold. However, you will see several copies of this stencil artwork in Bethlehem.

Banksy Dove Bethlehem

One of the Banksy works you are likely to see is the mural of a dove wearing a bulletproof vest (flak jacket). This mural is located at the entrance to the Palestinian Heritage Center on Manger Street.

Banksy Bethlehem Wall GraffitiIsraeli soldiers next to the Flak Jacket Dove graffiti (Image source: St.Dekker CC BY 2.0)

It is also referred to as the Armored Dove. Whether or not this work of art can be attributed to Banksy is questionable, but the woman who runs the Heritage Center, Maha Saca claims to have met the artist. She also says that his original painting was of a soldier, and she asked him to change it to something softer. The reason people question whether the dove was painted by Banksy is because it does not appear on his official website like his other works.

Pro Tip: You can stop at the Heritage Center when you visit the nearby Nativity Church and pick up an authentic souvenir.

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