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Ramla (Israel)

Cooperation Agreement with Chelyabinsk signed in 2000.
 Ramla is the administrative center of the surrounding rural areas and located in 20 kilometers to Tel Aviv. The name of the city derives from the Arabic word “ramel” which means sand, because the initial settlement was built in sands. Today over 60 thousand people live there. The population consists of the Arabs and the Jewish people – Sephardim. 

Historically Ramla was of the great importance due to its location near the sea lane from Egypt to Syria and Mesopotamia. Ramla was the bridge that was used to connect Jaffa (a port in the Mediterranean sea) with Jerusalem.

Ramla was founded in 717 by caliph Suleyman ben-Abed el-Malik as the capital of Eretz Israel and Syria. The Jewish community didn’t disappear even during the Islamic reign. The High Jewish theological school was moved here from Jerusalem. The Crusaders captured the city and ejected the Jewish people.

In the beginning of the 14th century Ramla became a large center with a significant Jewish community. With the period of British mandate highway and railway construction began. At this time more and more Jewish people came there to settle down . In 1897 their number reached 200 people who practiced agriculture in the surrounding villages.

During the War for Independence Ramla was abandoned by the Arabs and populated by the Jewish people who came from all over the world to their historical homeland. New quarters were built, the city began to grow and develop. Ramla became an important transportation connection point of the country. The highways that lead to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Beersheba are crossed there. There is also a railway junction with the branch lines to Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, Ashdod, Beersheba and Dimona.

The main sight of the city is the so-called “White Tower” situated at the corner of the Gertslya and Gertsog Streets. It is a 30-metres high prayer-tower of the main Mosque of the city built in the 13th century by Sultan Beybars. All the four walls are decorated with lancet windows. At the foot of the tower the ruins of tombs that date back to the 7th-8th centuries AD can be found. There is the Nikodim and Joseph Church founded by the Franciscan Order In the center of the city not far from the Gertslya Street. The church was built in 1902 on the place of the old hospitage where in 1799 Napoleon located his headquarters.
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