Down the street and around the corner from some of the most famous holy sites in the world, a little abandoned village goes almost unnoticed. Lifta is a collection of forsaken stone buildings just off the edge of West Jerusalem, but it was once a thriving Palestinian settlement. This is a place that was affected by the Palestinian exodus of 1948, called the Nakba. Now walls that once sheltered families have crumbled, ceilings have caved in, and trash has littered the bushes and cracked floors. A rusty and broken truck stays parked in the tall grass, never to be driven again. With the bordering modern city and beautiful architecture such as the Chords Bridge clearly visible from the ruins, a stark difference between past and present can be felt. The houses of Lifta were deserted less than a hundred years ago, and now somehow walking among what’s left of them is like wandering through a dystopian, apocalyptic world.

This strange, lost village reminds us of how fleeting our time can be. Most of us will never have to face eviction in the violent and traumatic way that the Palestinians of this village once had to, but we will all face change. No one can travel forever, and eventually the memories of our journeys may be abandoned by time as well. It’s also important to realize that not everything about the places we visit is as rosy and picture-perfect as our tour guides intend us to see them. Every land has its struggles, and the best we can do is to make sure we use our voices to clamor for peace. With every adventure to a new land, a new culture, and new friends of different backgrounds, we learn valuable insights about the nature of this world we share. It remains our duty to preserve these memories, and as the years that follow our travels pass, we can make sure that the forgotten lands and people we find become remembered.

—Jerica Nicholls

Featured image by DYKT Mohigan