A traditional Christian village, Birzeit’s ruins date back to the Byzantine era and beyond, a part of the historically Christian region north of Jerusalem. The simple farming and pastoral lifestyle of the people was destroyed after 1948. A massive refugee camp was set up on Church-owned property and is now home to almost 10,000 people which is located a few miles from the town. In 1967, more people were displaced across the country. The Muslim newcomers came to purchase land. The demographics of the town began to change as Christians opted to emigrate to the West seeking economic opportunities and political and social freedom. The town is noted for its university which was funded by the Nasser family, and supported by friendly governments who wanted to help provide the education necessary for economic survival.
Infrastructures of the Latin Patriarchate
The Bir Zeit High School responds to one of the most crucial needs of the area. The high school initiative coupled with the educational and community development was a success. A host of projects and programs have changed the lives of the people in the town and surrounding villages. The Parish has three museums: a museum of pre-history (about 62 places in the Holy Land), a museum of archeology, and the third on the cultural heritage of Birzeit. Besides, it presents a photographic exhibition of Birzeit by the German orientalist Dr. Paul Kahle from 1900.