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13 Mar, 2018

In spite of occupation, Palestine abounds with cultural centers, museums and theaters

RAMALLAH, March 13, 2018 (WAFA) – Cultural Centers, museums and theaters have flourished in Palestinian in 2017 in spite of the 50-year long Israeli occupation.

A report by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) on the status of cultural institutions in Palestine on the occasion of Palestinian National Culture Day, which coincides on Tuesday, said there were 625 cultural centers operating in Palestine in 2017, with 545 cultural centers in the West Bank and 80 in Gaza Strip. The highest number of in-operation cultural centers was in the Nablus governorate with 92, followed by Bethlehem governorate with 87.

A cultural institution is defined as an institution that includes items (tools and equipment) used for arts, crafts, recreational and sports activities that work for the promotion and preservation of culture and facilitate the practice of cultural activities in a broad sense.

Cultural centers provided 9,000 cultural activities in 2017: 6.7% of these activities were seminars, 5.7% lectures, 72.1% training courses, 12.9% performances, and 2.6% exhibitions. In 2016, the number of activities was about 10,000.

About 515,000 people participated in cultural activities for in-operation cultural centers in Palestine in 2017, said the PCBS, including 427,000 participants in the West Bank and 88,000 participants in Gaza Strip.

The highest participation in cultural activities was in Bethlehem Governorate with about 147,000 participants, followed by Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate with about 78,000 participants. In Khan Yunis Governorate in Gaza, there were only about 5,000 participants. In 2016, about 583,000 people participated in cultural activities.

There were 32 museums operating in Palestine in 2017, said the PCBS, most of them, 27, in the West Bank and 5 museums in Gaza Strip. There were about 358,000 museum visitors – 81.8% were Palestinians and 18.2% from other nationalities. The results showed that the largest number of visitors was about 70,000 in April and the lowest number was in June with about 15,000 visitors. In 2016, the number of visitors to museums totaled about 206,000.

In addition, 15 theaters were in operation in Palestine in 2017, including 12 in the West Bank and three in Gaza Strip. A total of 278 plays were performed in Palestine last year – 238 plays in the West Bank and 40 in Gaza Strip. Of these, 38.9% of plays were for adults, 25.5% were for children, and 35.6% were for both children and adults.

Palestinian actors performed in 91% of plays and 9% were performed by actors of other nationalities. There were about 90,000 attendances of plays, the highest number in March with about 16,000 attendances, followed by February with about 12,000 visitors. In 2016, the number of attendances of plays totaled about 102,000.