From Wikivahdat

Gaza (in Arabic: غزة) (not to be confused with the Gaza Strip) is an Arab city in the Gaza Strip that came under the control of the Hamas group after a conflict with the Fatah movement. In the 2005 Gaza municipal elections, Hamas won a decisive vote.

Gaza actually plays a central role in the events of Palestine. This role was created for this city by the Palestinian movement in the second half of the 80s. Israel, during its 38-year occupation of the Gaza Strip, built bases and military and security facilities and Zionist settlements in this area. Also, Israel attacked Gaza several times and massacred women and children, but each time was forced to retreat due to the resistance power of Palestine.

The Gaza Strip has small and large cities, including Gaza City. The Gaza Strip borders Egypt to the south, Israel to the east and north, and the Mediterranean Sea to the west. Any entry and exit of ships to the Gaza Strip is prohibited and the Israeli navy prevents the passage of ships to Gaza. The way to enter goods into Gaza is through the Rafah crossing in the south of Gaza on the Egypt border and five crossings on the Israeli border. In addition, in the south of Gaza, some people import goods from Egypt into the Gaza Strip by digging tunnels.


Strategically located on the Mediterranean coast, ancient Gaza was a bustling trade center and a stopover for caravans between Egypt and Syria. The city was conquered by Egypt in the 15th century BC. The Palestinians settled in the area centuries later and Gaza became one of the five main cities of the region.

Before Christ

In 145 BC, the city of Gaza was conquered by Jonathan Maccabeus of the Hasmonean dynasty, the brother of Judas Maccabeus of the Maccabean dynasty. The presence of Jews in this area was successful until Gabinus, the Roman governor, expelled them from there in 61 AD. At a time when the religious law of Mishnah and Talmud was prevalent in this area, many Jews were present in Gaza, and there is an inscription on one of the pillars of the Great Mosque of Gaza, that reads "Hananiah Bar Yaqo" (a Hebrew name) with a menorah engraved on it. This sign indicates the previous role of this historical building that was damaged during the uprising. The remnants of the ancient church of Gaza, which was built around 500 BC, have been found near the pier of this city.

The Achaemenid Period

In the Achaemenid period, Batis, an Iranian commander of the Achaemenid dynasty, was the governor of Gaza. Alexander, who attacked Palestine, besieged this city for several days. After conquering the city, Alexander asked Batis to beg for mercy. But Batis resisted, Alexander tortured him severely until he died. It is said that as long as Batis had life in his body, he did not look at Alexander except with an angry look and never uttered a word.

Gaza was conquered by the Arabs in the 630s AD after a siege in which the Jewish population of the city defended it alongside the Byzantine garrison. This city is known as an important Islamic city because the grandfather of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) of Islam is buried there. In the twelfth century, Gaza was involved in the Crusades of the Christians and came under the control of the Muslims in 1187. The city fell as a result of the Ottoman attack in the sixteenth century and was taken over by Britain during the First World War (1918-1914).

After the First World War

Following the First World War, Gaza became part of the British Mandate of Palestine. After the start of the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948, Egypt took control of Gaza and conquered the surrounding areas. The Egyptians never accepted the residents as Egyptian citizens and banned their exit from the Gaza Strip. Israel conquered the city during the Six-Day War in 1967 and the Gaza Strip was under Israeli occupation for 27 years after that. Gaza and a smaller area of this large land have been occupied by Israel. This caused a high population density and poverty in the Gaza Strip.

At the beginning of the Palestinian uprising in 1987, known as the first Intifada, Gaza became the center of political unrest and confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians and the economic situation in the city deteriorated.

In September 1993, Israeli leaders and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed the Oslo Accords, which called for Palestinian administration of the Gaza Strip and the city of Jericho in the West Bank, which came into effect in May 1994. Most Israelis left Gaza while handing over its administration to the Palestinian Self-Government for managing and controlling the city along with the rest of the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian government led by Yasser Arafat chose Gaza as its first state headquarters. In September 1995, Israel and the PLO signed a secondary peace agreement that expanded the Palestinian government to some cities in the West Bank. This agreement also established a Palestinian assembly with 88 members, which held its inaugural session in Gaza in March 1996. The current mayor of the city is Saad Kharma.

Jewish Communities in Gaza

The Jewish community in Gaza was wiped out during the Crusades, but returned and rebuilt when the Mamluk government restored normalcy. In February 1799, when the French forces led by Napoleon entered the city, it was plagued by a severe plague that caused the Jews to migrate to other areas in Palestine. By 1886, thirty Jewish families had returned to Gaza, but they were driven out of the area by the Ottomans during the First World War. After the war, the Jews returned to Gaza, but were forced to leave the area again after the 1929 massacre.

Famous Jewish Gazans include Israel Najara, a medieval religious poet (buried in the local cemetery of Gaza) and the prophet (false messiah) Sabbatai, Nathan of Gaza. Abraham Azulai, a Jew, lived in Gaza in 1619 and it was there that he became famous for his Kabbalistic (Jewish mysticism) work titled "The Trial of Abraham".

Gaza in the 22-day War

The Zionist regime launched a full-scale war to destroy the Hamas movement in the late 2008, which lasted for 22 days. The war began on December 27, 2008 and continued until January 17, 2009. The war is known in Israel as Operation Cast Lead and among the Arabs as the Gaza Massacre or the 22-day war. In this unequal war, more than 1,450 Palestinians were martyred and more than 5,000 were wounded.

The 22-day Gaza war was a reality that occurred in the Middle East and had its roots in the failures of the Zionist regime to reach its goals. In this war, for the first time, the Zionist regime, with all its power and forces and with the support of external powers such as the United States, tried to completely eliminate Hamas and for the first time, Hamas demonstrated it's capability to stand and resist against the armed-to-the-teeth Zionist regime.

The Gaza War of 2023

On October 7, 2023 AD, an armed conflict between Israel and Palestinian paramilitary groups began with Hamas' attack on southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. The Zionist army continued the war with a widespread campaign and air strikes against targets in Gaza, and then with a large-scale ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian resistance forces in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, October 7, 2023 (October 15, 2023) in response to the ongoing crimes of the occupying regime, including the massacre of Palestinians, the desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the violation of its guards, the invasion of settlers with the support of Zionist soldiers, carried out an operation called Al-Aqsa Storm and targeted the positions and bases of the occupying regime of Jerusalem with dozens of missiles.

The Economy of Gaza City

Gaza, where citrus and other crops are grown, is the economic center of this region. Many of the people of Gaza work in the service and industrial sectors of Israel when the border is open. The city has some small industries such as textiles and food processing. Various goods are sold in the street markets of Gaza, such as carpets, pottery, wicker goods, and cotton clothing. But, the development of trade in this city is at its minimum. Gaza is a transport hub for the Gaza Strip and it has a small port which is a local fishing port.

The People and Culture of Gaza City

The population of Gaza is almost entirely composed of Muslim Palestinians of the Shafi'i sect, but also has a small community of Christian Palestinians. The widespread influx of Palestinian refugees after the Arab-Israeli war in 1948 increased the population of Gaza dramatically. By 1967, this population had increased sixfold compared to 1948. The population of the city has continued to grow since then, and poverty, unemployment, and poor living conditions have prevailed in it. Gaza suffers from serious deficiencies in housing and infrastructure. Also, its inefficient sewage system has caused serious public health and environmental problems.

Gaza University

The Islamic University of Gaza (in Arabic: الجامعة الإسلامية بغزة) is an independent Palestinian university located in Gaza City. The university was established in 1978 AD by the Palestinian National Authority.

Telephone Communication Lines

The Gaza Strip has a basic landline system that is provided by a wired system and also benefits from extensive mobile services provided by Pal-Tel (Jawwal) or Israeli service providers such as Cellcom. Four companies in the Gaza Strip are providing internet services and are currently competing with each other for high-speed internet and internet telephony. Most households in Gaza have radio and television (70 percent), and about 20 percent of them also have personal computers. People living in the Gaza Strip enjoy satellite TV programs (Al Jazeera, Egyptian and Lebanese TV programs, etc.), local private channels, as well as Palestine Radio and Television and the first and second channels of Israeli Radio and Television.

Mosques of Gaza

Hashim Mosque

This mosque is located in the al-Daraj neighborhood in the old part of Gaza City. It is one of the most beautiful, largest, and historical mosques in this area. This mosque has an open courtyard that is surrounded by arcades on four sides. The largest arcade is the qibla arcade, which is located in a room and opens to the west arcade. Near this room, the tomb of Hashim ibn Abd Manaf, the grandfather of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) of Islam, is located. The grandfather of the Prophet passed away in this city during his summer trade trip to Gaza.

The mosque was then built during the Mamluk period. Sultan Abdul Hamid rebuilt it in 1850 AD. After rebuilding the mosque, he named the city of Gaza "Hashem's Gaza" because of the presence of the holy body of the Prophet's grandfather.

Al-Omari Mosque

This mosque is also located in the al-Daraj neighborhood and is famous for its minarets. It is one of the most important and historical mosques in Gaza. A part of this mosque dates back to the 12th century AD. The whole building was built in the 7th century AD and later new parts were added to it during the Mamluk and Ottoman periods.

Sheikh Zakariyya Mosque

It is located in the al-Daraj neighborhood. It was built in the eighth century AH. Currently, except for two beautiful minarets, nothing is remained of this mosque. In this mosque, a person named Sheikh Zakariyya al-Tadmuri, one of the muftis of Syria, is buried. He died in the month of Safar in 749 AH and later the mosque was named Sheikh Zakariyya.

katib al-Wilaya Mosque

This mosque is located in the al-Zaytun neighborhood of Gaza. Its building dates back to the Mamluk period in the 13th century AD (7th century AH). The additions to the western part of this mosque date back to the Ottoman period and the reign of Ahmad Bek Katib al-Wilaya.

Therefore, the mosque was named Katib al-Wilaya. What distinguishes this mosque from other mosques in Gaza is the presence of its minarets next to the bell of the "Orthodox Roman" church. Many tourists after visiting this mosque consider the existence of these two features together as a sign of the coexistence of Muslims and Christians in Gaza.

Ali ibn Marwan Mosque

This mosque is located in the al-Tuffah neighborhood, outside the old part of the eastern city of Gaza. It is one of the famous mosques of this city, which belongs to the Mamluk era. There is the tomb of Sheikh Ali ibn Marwan under the dome of the mosque. Next to the mosque, there is a cemetery with the same name, where there are graves, that are considered as valid historical documents.

Bardabakiya Court Mosque (Amir Bardabak al-Dawadar School)

This mosque is located in the al-Shuja'iya neighborhood of Gaza. It is famous for having two beautiful and eye-catching minarets. The architecture of this mosque and its minarets dates back to the beautiful architecture of the Mamluk era.

It was built in the mid-14th century AD (8th century AH). Later, it was used as a school under the name of al-Shuja'iya School. Then, it was used as the headquarter of the Sharia court, therefore, it was called Court Mosque in the local language.

Ibn Uthman Mosque

This mosque is located in the al-Shuja'iya market street. It is one of the largest ancient mosques and a prominent example of Mamluk-era architecture.

The mosque was built in several stages. It was built by Ahmad ibn Uthman, who was born in the city of Nablus and then migrated to Gaza, during the Mamluk era. People considered him a person with high miracles.

Zafar Damri Mosque

This mosque is also located in the al-Shuja'iya Turkmen area. The mosque was built by Shihab al-Din Ahmad Zafar ibn al-Zafar Damri( known as al-Qazmari) in 762 AH (1360 AD). The entrance of this mosque, which has many arches, is one of the most beautiful entrances of mosques in the world. The arches consists of golden writings, colorful and different geometric tiles.


According to PCBS, in 1997, more than 90 percent of the population of Gaza over 10 years old were literate. Of the population of this city, 140,848 people enrolled in school (39.8 percent in elementary school, 33.8 percent in middle school, and 26.4 percent in high school). About 11,134 people had a bachelor's degree or diploma.

In 2006, there were 210 schools in Gaza. 151 were run by the Ministry of Education of the Palestinian National Authority, 46 by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, and 13 specialized schools. A total of 154,251 students enrolled and 5,877 teachers were employed. The economy has been affected by the education in the Gaza Strip. In September 2007, a UNRWA study in the Gaza Strip showed that there were about 80 percent failures in the fourth to ninth grades, up to 90 percent failures in mathematics. In January 2008, the United Nations Children's Fund reported that schools in Gaza were canceling classes that required high energy consumption, such as information technology and scientific laboratories.


The four main universities in Gaza City are:

  • Al-Azhar University - Gaza;
  • Al-Quds Open University;
  • Al-Aqsa University;
  • Islamic University of Gaza.

The Islamic University, consisting of ten branches, was established by a group of businessmen in 1978 and became the first university in Gaza. It had 20,639 students. Al-Azhar is generally secular and was established in 1992. Al-Aqsa University was established in 1991. Al-Quds Open University established its regional educational center in Gaza in 1992 in a rented building in the city center, which originally had 730 students. Due to the rapid increase of students, the first building belonging to the university was built in Nasser. In the years 2007-2007, 3,778 students enrolled.

Public Libraries

The Gaza Public Library is located outside the Wahda Street and has a collection of about 10,000 books. The books are in Arabic, English, and French languages. The total area of the building is about 1,410 square meters (15,200 square feet), and the building consists of two floors and a basement. The library was inaugurated in 1999 after the 1996 agreement by Gaza, Mayor Aoun Shawa, Dunkerque Municipality, and the World Bank. The library meets the best library needs, the needs of the stakeholders, provides the necessary facilities for accessing the available resources, and organizes various cultural programs such as cultural events, seminars, lectures, film screenings, films, art, and books.

Tourist Attractions of Gaza City

The places of interest for the visitors of this city include Al-Omari Mosque, Sayyid Hashim Mosque, Ibn Uthman Mosque, Ibn Marwan Mosque, Shrine of Sheikh Abu al-Azm, Shrine of Sheikh Ajlin, Tel al-Muntar, Napoleon Castle (Al-Razwan Castle), and Saint Porphyrius Church. The city also has several new recreational areas where tourists and locals can enjoy the beech and swimming pools.

Al-Omari Mosque

Al-Omari Mosque, with its magnificent minarets, is located in the lower part of Gaza City. It is known that this mosque occupied the original site of the Temple of Marnas and then the Greek Orthodox Church. This mosque is also located in the place of the Norman Church, which was built by the Crusaders in the 12th century AD.

Napoleon Castle (Al-Basha Palace)

This castle is also located in the lower part of Gaza City and its solid stone building dates back to the Mamluk era. This place is known as Al-Basha Palace because Napoleon spent a few nights in it, on his way to the city in 1799.

Saint Porphyrius Church

This 4th-century church is the place where Saint Porphyrius passed away and was buried in it (420 AD). The church is located in the old city of Gaza and is still used by the Greek Orthodox community today.

Al-Sayed Hashim Mosque

Located in the al-Daraj area, this mosque is one of the largest and most beautiful ancient mosques in Gaza. It is believed that the tomb of Hashim ibn Abd Manaf, the grandfather of Muhammad, who died during his trade trip to Gaza, is located under the dome of this mosque.

Sister Cities of Gaza City

  • Barcelona (Spain);
  • Tromso (Norway);
  • Tel Aviv (Israel);
  • Tabriz (Iran);
  • Turin (Italy).