Ein Qiniya: Nature and Landscape
Photographer Raed Abughazaleh visits the village of Ein Qiniya, just outside of Ramallah in Palestine. In his camera bag: a couple of ZEISS Classic lenses.
by Raed Abughazaleh
The City of Ramallah does not strike a visitor as a particularly green one, it is packed with towers of concrete buildings and marred with various types of environmental pollution. The few remaining vestiges of open land are getting converted into parking lots or sold for millions to make room fornew buildings. But drive 10 minutes northwest of Ramallah and you will be in awe by the sharp contrast between concrete and open natural space. You will find yourself entering vast fields dotted with ancient olive trees and stone terraces. Keep driving through the hills and you will eventually arrive at the village for which most of this land belongs or once belonged, a village which has existed since the Roman rule of Palestine.
With around 800 inhabitants, the village of Ein Qiniya is dwarfed by its surrounding fields, which normally would not hold much significance except that in this instance they constitute the nearest open natural outlet for Ramallah’s inhabitants. Over the past decade, and as Ramallah’s population has exploded and its parks and green spaces shrunk, people have been increasingly drawn to the natural beauty and fresh air of Ein Qiniya. On summer weekends families stake out a small area under an olive or eucalyptus tree and picnic late into the evening, where children can play in the open fields while adults sit around a bonfire and converse as they sip on tea with wild sage.
As an avid camper, hiker, and photographer I admire nature and consider it essential in my life, so it wasn’t long before I discovered Ein Qiniya’s beauty and started hiking its hills at least weekly. My aim was to get lost in its fields and to discover something new in every hike. Two years have passed since my hikes in Ein Qiniya began, and along the way I found myself documenting its beauty and diversity with my photographs. To me, Ein Qiniya has become a companion and a healer, which is why I’d like to share its beauty and raise awareness about the necessity of this open natural space in our lives and in the face of thoughtless urban sprawl, so that we may protect it and take better care of it for the coming generations.
Find more from Raed on his website: www.raedabughazaleh.com