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Jericho - أريحا : Jericho: The Oldest & Lowest City in the World

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Posted by Rajae mahmoud on May 26, 2012
Ariha Jericho, the city of Palms, is the oldest inhabited city on Earth, dating back almost 12.000 years. Excavations at the Tel-Al-Sultan ruins show Jericho settlements as early as 10.000 B.C.E. It has an abundance of water sources, and it is believed that the fresh spring water at Tel-al-Sultan is the reason for early inhabitance in Jericho. Its original name, Yereha (perfume), signified its lushness and is preserved in its present Arabic name, Ariha.

Because it is near the Dead Sea, which is more than 400 meters below sea level, Jericho stays warm throughout the year. Jesus Christ walked through the streets of Jericho during his several visits to the town. It is a wonderful area for touring monasteries and historical sites. For hiking enthusiasts, Jericho has enjoyable, scenic routes.

One of the majestic sites in Jerichois the Monastery of St. George, carved out of a canyon wall overlooking the Wadi Qelt gorge. This Greek Orthodox monastery was originally built in the fifth century as a spiritual center for hermits.

Another majestic site is HishamPalace. This beautiful desert ruin of Umayyad Caliph Hisham Ibn Abdul Malik was completed in the eighth century. Hisham Palace contains royal buildings, a mosque, fountains, and spectacular mosaic floors. Tourists enjoy the remarkable open-air presentation with a walking tour through temples and lush mosaics. Many of the most delicate artifacts from Hisham Palace are at the Rockfeller Museum in Jerusalem.

Qumran, which is about 20 kilometers south of Jericho, is the site of the Monastery of
Essenes, where more than 2.000 Dead Sea scrolls were founded by an Arab shepherd in the late 1940s.

Nabi Musa is a beautiful 12th century mazar (pilgrimage shrine) on the old pilgrim road. Believed to be the spot where the prophet Moses is buried, it is named after him. From Nabi Musa a track runs due west to the Byzantine cave monastery in Wadi Mukelik and continues on to Khan el-Ahmar.

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JERICHO ATTRACTIONS

Tell al-Sultan – Hisham’s Palace – Quarantine – Monastery of Temptation – Fountains of Herodium Jericho - Sugar Mills – Shahwan’s Synagogue – Nabi Mousa – Good Samaritan Inn – St. George’s Monastery – Wadi Qelt – Jericho Téléphérique – Jordan River – Baptism Site – Dead Sea – Qumran

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PRACTICAL INFORMATION

There are banks, an information center, a post office and taxis available within the perimeter of the city centre. Ancient Jericho (Tel es-Sultan) is about 2kms from the centre of the city. One may also rent a bicycle in the city centre as a means of inexpensive and practical transportation.

Getting to Jericho

To drive to Jericho from Jerusalem, simply follow Route 1 east in the direction of theDead Sea.

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