Jericho, Holy Land
Jericho is the oldest inhabited town in the World dating back more than 10000 years, known as the City of Palms and containing some of the World's most important historic sites.
Jericho (Ariha in Arabic) is the oldest inhabited town in the World, dating back more than 10,000 years. It lies 260 meters (853 feet) below sea level, making it the lowest town on earth.
It is located 36 km east of Jerusalem, on the road to Amman and at the junction of the highway to Galilee.
Known as the "City of Palms", Jericho contains some of the World's most important historic sites and is frequently mentioned in the Bible. On a mount overlooking the Jericho oasis, excavations have uncovered settlements dating from 9000 BC and the Oldest Walled Town dating from the Neolithic period (7000 BC) yet discovered, a most unusual example of fortifications in that prehistoric age.
Jericho's contribution to civilization is unique. The domestication of plants and animals and the invention of pottery took place in ancient Jericho 1000 years before Mesopotamia and Egypt, while the walls and towers of Jericho preceded the pyramids of Egypt by 4000 years.
Jericho's moderate climate makes it a favorite winter resort. It is an important agricultural area, producing fresh fruits and vegetables year round. Jericho dates, bananas and citrus fruits are especially famous.
Jericho deserves a visit as the history is absorbing and the atmosphere with numerous outdoor cafes and excellent restaurants, is refreshingly laid-back.
Tel es-Sultan (Ancient Jericho)
The ancient city of Jericho is located about 2 km from the northwestern outskirts of Jericho. Situated on a mount overlooking the Jericho oasis, excavations at Tel es-Sultan uncovered 23 layers of ancient civilizations, dating back to the the Early Bronze Age (9000 BC). Many structures are visible, including the oldest known stairs in the world, the oldest wall, and a 7 meter high massive defense tower, dating back to 7000 BC.
Elisha Fountain at the foot of Tel es-Sultan is the main water spring of the oasis, Tradition says it is the fountain which Prophet Elisha (pbuh) sweetened by casting a handful of salt into it.
The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea, 400 meters below sea level, is the lowest spot on the surface of the earth. For miles around, arid hills eroded by wind form a silent moonscape that is at once eerie and beautiful. The heavy salt (33% of the water) makes life impossible and swimming an extraordinary and unusual experience. It is almost impossible to sink. One can even lie on his/her back and read a magazine.
The Dead Sea is a scenic oddity unique in the world. The mud and minerals of the Dead Sea are natural healers of skin diseases and invigorate healthy skin.
For more information, please check out Dead Sea, Jordan page.
The Jordan River
The Jordan River is an unusual stream that flows from 3000 feet above sea level at Mt. Hermon in Syria to the Dead Sea at 1300 feet below sea level. With an average width of 100 feet, the Jordan River twists and curves for 256 km but covers a straight-line distance of only 104 km.
Jesus (pbuh) came to the Jordan River from Galilee to be baptized by John (pbuh). Since then, the river has been important to all Christians, the many of whom get baptized there.
Qelt Valley & Monastery of St. George
Qelt Valley is a natural rift in the hills with high, sheer rock walls, extending 45 km between Jerusalem and Jericho. Hermits have inhabited this valley since the 3rd century. Today, it is a wonderful place for hiking tours, especially in the winter.
The Monastery of St. George is carved out of the rock and clings to the canyon walls impressively. Built in the 5th century, the monastery was destroyed during the Persian invasion of the Holy Land. Most of the present monastery dates back to the 1901 restoration by the Greek Orthodox Church.
Good Samaritan Inn
Located 10 km east of Jerusalem, on the main road to Jericho, this inn is a 16th century structure where travelers on this ancient trade route stopped to rest. On the other side of road are the remains of St. Euthymius Church built in the 5th century to commemorate Jesus' famous parable of the Good Samaritan.