Graffiti artist Banksy has opened a hotel in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.
The elusive British artist famously painted several murals on the wall built to separate Israeli and Palestinian territory in the West Bank. His Walled Off Hotel is in Bethlehem, revered by Christians as the birthplace of Jesus, a few meters from a stretch of the controversial West Bank barrier which has been heavily decorated by artists.
The Walled Off Hotel is staffed by local people – none of whom knew the identity of the owner until today.The hotel has 9 rooms and apparently Banksy has said that anyone from both sides of the middle eastern conflict can stay there. The hotel is full of Banksy interactive exhibits, artworks and even has a themed bar. One of the works depicts the signing of the Balfour Declaration which set the conditions for the establishment of Israel 100 years ago this year.
The hotel has been decorated to resemble an English gentlemen’s club from colonial times, in recognition of the historical role Britain played in the region. The hotel is Banksy’s first major project since Dismaland, a temporary exhibition in Weston-super-Mare that offered a sinister take on theme parks. Always inventive and creative in his ideas, this hotel is sure to be one that everyone wants to stay at!