Vfyw_12-10

A reader writes:

So easy, and yet so hard. The limestone construction screams Amman, Jordan. The problem is, it screams literally every single building in the entire city, since they are all built with the same materials.  I'm guessing a western suburb, relatively well off, too new for all the vacant lots to have filled in. I'm giving myself two more minutes to Google map it while I wait for a file to download. If nothing in two minutes, I'll just guess …

And time's up. I'm going with the Amman suburb of Naour, from a window that looks across King Abdallah bin Hussein II Road.

Another writes:

The low sun on the white stone is so specific to Amman, not to mention the endless new construction. Over recent years the city has been growing and growing.  This must be on the Dead Sea road, before it begins to descend into the Jordan Valley. It's hard to pin down exactly, as all the new apartment blocks look the same. The coordinates from Google Earth must be around 31.52.14.49 N, 35.50.26.11 E.

Another:

First time entering and I don't know how people do this! But I was home sick with a cold and spent the better part of the afternoon happliy googling away. The picture immediately said Fertile Crescent to me, with the sun rising from the east and the Mediterranean nearby. The tesselation of the building columns and the arched windows also point to Middle Eastern style, along with the lone cypress tree and the scrubby landscape. I was able to find an apartments-for-sale site in Aleppo, Syria that showed very similar 5-story modern apartment blocks as the ones climbing the hills.

Another:

I am in the middle of finals so no time for serious photo scouring or googling, so I will just say "Tangier, Morocco". There's some arabesque architecture, but it's only a hint.  And something about the blue sky suggests there is ocean right over that ridge (like Tangier). So that's my half-hearted guess.

Another:

Tough one this week!

To me, it recalled stories of the new American embassies and consulates that are being built on the fringes of cities now in places like Ankara, Turkey. So I started googling for images of the American consulates and embassies in the Near East. Being in a country that is particularly suspicious of terrorism and without a lot of Internet freedom (scary that this description also now includes the United States), I decided that I'd probably tripped enough alarm bells for a day, even though I never came away with a solid guess. So, Ankara – and now I'm slowly closing my laptop and walking away.

Another:

Minimal clues: The weather, topography and trees.  Then there's the buildings in the 54045592foreground and middle ground and signs of lots more beyond.  So far I am thinking this is SE Mediterranean, Turkey maybe but no luck finding a fit.  Cars driving on the right and I think the yellow one might be a Mini convertible. Where else but Lebanon then? In fact this is probably not Fatqa, but this photo shows both arabic windows with the right proportions and grille, and white balustrade.  So it may be nearby.  Or use the same builder!

Another:

That is definitely Jerusalem. I would recognize those hills, the light and the low architecture anywhere. I do wonder though if it's outside or within the green line, that might complicate how you decide if it's in Israel or not …

Another:

Longtime reader, fellow Washingtonian and former high school debater with intern Zack (I think we were .500, but who cares?). The limestone strongly suggests Israel. This week's farcical RJC forum and Newt's interview on The Jewish Channel also suggest that we're ripe for a VFYW from a so-called 'Judea and Samaria' settlement. The buildings closely resemble those in Gilo, East Jerusalem, Israel. I visited Gilo during my first trip to Israel in the summer of 2000, a few months before both the First Intifada and my Bar Mitzvah, and the white and yellow limestone architecture made a huge impression on me. The highway is most likely #60, which connects Jerusalem with major West Bank cities.

Hope that's close – it's probably not enough to win because there are no Google Maps screenshots, but I'd give someone odds that this is one of the Jewish towns outside of the Green Line.

Another:

Room+with+a+view+2

I’m not certain where around the city this is, but I’ll bet it’s Jerusalem (the same city my attached photo was taken, which I submitted four years ago, but you never used). This is ‘Division Street’ somewhere around town, or close nearby. That’s one city, not two, and one country I hope will recognize itself as the homeland for both Jews and Palestinians alike.

Another:

That would be the new industrial-Hi Tech Zone in Jerusalem, Har Hotzvim!  The building on the right is the Beck Science Center.  The view is across the road to the village of Shoafat.  Just out of view on the left is the Israeli neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, recently a flashpoint in Israeli-Palestinean relations.

Another:

East Jerusalem, Israelastine? Newly constructed buildings on someone else's land. Cedar tree in distance. Rubble in foreground reminding me of landscape in the Costa-Gavras film, Hanna K.

Another:

I'm sure someone will be able to pinpoint the precise window, but my guess it that this is a view of the road between Jerusalem and Ramallah (though, it could be anywhere in the West Bank). The real question is why does the building on the left have bars on a third story window?

Another:

The obvious clues in this one are the building immediately in front, with the roofline balustrade and the bars on the window. They either want to keep something inside or something out. The glassy facade on the right suggests a modern building. The background buildings suggest a relatively impoverished area.  Road markings are consistent with Israel, but the buildings argue for the Palestinian territories.  It looks like morning and the traffic is light, so the view would be facing east.  The reflection in the window hints at other tall buildings, so this would be the edge of an urban area. The hills would be consistent with several of the cities in the region. With the holidays coming up, smaller cities like Nazareth and Bethlehem might be logical choices.  But looking at the modern building again I would guess Ramallah, although I can't pinpoint the exact spot.

The following reader was the closest to the exact location and thus wins the prize this week:

Damn. Having lived in Ramallah, it should be a piece of cake for me to say exactly where this is.  There aren't that many tall buildings with mirrored glass there, although the building boom has clearly accelerated in the three years since I lived there. So I will say Ramallah, near the Al Bireh neighbourhood.

Details from the submitter:

I am in Ramallah on a temporary assignment for my company.  We are working on a USAID project in the area.  The photo is from my office on the 6th floor of the Al Amal Building, on Mecca Street in the Al Balou'a Area.  This is in Al Biereh, which is a town adjacent to Ramallah.  The shot is to the south.

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