Banksy hotel in Bethlehem serves as modern art piece

World Today

Banksy's Wall HotelA view of the Wall Hotel and barrier from the street. (ART: Banksy / PHOTO: Gil Somekh)

It’s a hotel with one of the worst views money can buy, but the establishment isn’t about the view or the money.

It was created by one of the world’s most talked-about artists, and meant to cause a stir. It’s already fully booked through June.

CGTN’s Stephanie Freid reports.

Banksy hotel in Bethlehem serves as modern art piece

It's a hotel with one of the worst views money can buy, but the establishment isn't about the view or the money.

At the “Walled Off Hotel,” all nine rooms have a view of the barrier. Also termed the “Apartheid Wall,” it was built by Israel in 2003 to separate Palestinians from Israelis.

Even if visitors want to have a hot cup of coffee or a cold drink on the hotel patio, they’re still four meters away from that wall. There is a rooftop, but to go up there, they have to coordinate with the Israeli army first.

Inside, the artwork is politically loaded. From the Michaelangelo-inspired Palestinian bust engulfed in tear gas, to the cat-versus-caged peace dove, to the going-nowhere elevator, to a surveillance camera, slingshot and mallet trophy wall.

Created by the elusive, world-famous British street artist Banksy, the hotel opened in March . This was the hundred-year anniversary of Great Britain’s declaration of a future Jewish state in Palestine.

Meant to stir thought, conversation and action, it includes a gallery of works by local Palestinian artists. Surprisingly, a sizable percentage of guests are Israeli.

“It’s an opportunity for Israelis to learn more about their neighbors that they know nothing about. I’ve met many Israelis who came and stayed here who told me they’ve never been to Bethlehem and this is their first time in Bethlehem,” hotel manager Wisam Salsaa said.

In keeping with Banksy’s trend of “temporary installations,” it’s expected the hotel will only remain in operation for about a year.


PHOTOS: Banksy’s Wall Hotel

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