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Jerusalem vista.jpg
Modern Jerusalem
Flag of Jerusalem.svg
Jerusalem is located in Israel
District Jerusalem
Government City
Hebrew יְרוּשָׁלַיִם
(Translit.) Yerushalayim
Arabic commonly القـُدْس (Al-Quds);
officially in Israel أورشليم القدس
Name meaning Hebrew: (see below),
Arabic: "The Holy"
Population 763,600[1]

Israeli Metropolitan Area: 1,029,300 (2009)

Area 125,156 dunams (125.156 km2; 48.323 sq mi)
Mayor Nir Barkat
Coordinates 31°47′N 35°13′E / 31.783°N 35.217°E / 31.783; 35.217Coordinates: 31°47′N 35°13′E / 31.783°N 35.217°E / 31.783; 35.217

Jerusalem (Hebrew: יְרוּשָׁלַיִםAbout this sound (audio) , Yerushaláyim (for the meaning, see below); Arabic: القُدس About this sound (audio) , al-Quds, lit. "The Holy"; Yiddish: ירושלים Yərusholáyəm) [ii] is the capital[iii] of Israel and, if including the area and population of East Jerusalem, its largest city[2] in both population and area,[3] with a population of 763,800 residents over an area of 125.1 km2 (48.3 sq mi).[1][4][iv] Located in the Judean Mountains, between the Mediterranean Sea and the northern edge of the Dead Sea, modern Jerusalem has grown far beyond the boundaries of the Old City.

The city has a history that goes back to the 4th millennium BCE, making it one of the oldest cities in the world.[5] Jerusalem is the holiest city in Judaism and Christianity and has been the spiritual center of the Jewish people since c. 1000 BCE, when David the King of Israel first established it as the capital of the Jewish Nation, and his son Solomon commissioned the building of the First Temple in the city.[6] Jerusalem contains a number of significant Christian sites, and although it is never mentioned explicitly in the Qur'an, Islam regards Jerusalem as its third-holiest city.[7] Despite having an area of only 0.9 square kilometer (0.35 square mile),[8] the Old City is home to sites of key religious importance, among them the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque. The old walled city, a World Heritage site, has been traditionally divided into four quarters, although the names used today—the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters—were introduced in the early 19th century.[9] The Old City was nominated for inclusion on the List of World Heritage Sites in danger by Jordan in 1982.[10] In the course of its history, Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.[11]

Today, the status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem has been repeatedly criticized by the United Nations and related bodies,[12][13] and Palestinians demand East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.[14][15] In the wake of United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 (passed in 1980), most foreign embassies moved out of Jerusalem.[16]






Moriah · Zion · Aelia Capitolina

History · Timeline

10th century BC · 721 BC · 597 BC
587 BC · Second Temple Period · 70
614 · 637 · Middle Ages · 1099
1187 · 1244 · 1917 · 1947 · 1948

Religious significance

Judaism · Christianity · Islam
Temple Mount · Western Wall
Dome of the Rock · al-Aqsa Mosque
Holy Sepulchre Church

Demographics · People

Patriarchs · Chief Rabbis
Grand Muftis · Mayors

Archaeological sites · Places
Neighbourhoods · Mountains
Transportation · Education
Positions on Jerusalem
East Jerusalem

Jerusalem Law · Jerusalem Day
Flag · Emblem


The name "Jerusalem" is a compound of two Semitic roots, "s-l-m" meaning wholeness, peace,[17] harmony or completeness, and "y-r-h" meaning to show, direct, instruct, or teach. Jerusalem means "Abode of Peace," "Teaching of Peace", or "Whole or Complete Instruction".[18] A city called Rušalimum or Urušalimum appears in ancient Egyptian records as one of the first references to Jerusalem.[19] These Egyptian forms are thought to derive from the local name attested in the Amarna letters, e.g.: in EA 287 (where it takes several forms) Urusalim.[20][21] The form Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) first appears in the book of Joshua. This form has the appearance of a portmanteau (blend) of yerusha (heritage) and the original name Shalem and is not a simple phonetic evolution of the form in the Amarna letters. Some believe there is a connection to Shalim, the beneficent deity known from Ugaritic myths as the personification of dusk.[22] Another suggested etymology is Jerū-šālēm, the first part of which possibly means "settlement" or "fortress" (thence "The Abode of Shalim").[23]

Typically the ending -im indicates the plural in Hebrew grammar and -ayim the dual thus leading to the suggestion that the name refers to the fact that the city sits on two hills.[24][25] However the pronunciation of the last syllable as -ayim appears to be a late development, which had not yet appeared at the time of the Septuagint. In Greek and Latin it is transliterated Hierosolyma (Ιερουσαλήμ). To the Arabs, Jerusalem is القُدس al-Quds ("The Holy"). "Zion" initially referred to part of the city, but later came to signify the city as a whole. Under King David, it was known as Ir David (the City of David).[26]


Dome of the Rock and the Old City of Jerusalem, as seen from the Mount of Olives
Jebusite wall, City of David

Ceramic evidence indicates the occupation of Ophel, within present-day Jerusalem, as far back as the Copper Age, c. 4th millennium BCE,[5][27] with evidence of a permanent settlement during the early Bronze Age, c. 3000–2800 BCE.[27][28] The Execration Texts (c. 19th century BCE), which refer to a city called Roshlamem or Rosh-ramen[27] and the Amarna letters (c. 14th century BCE) may be the earliest mention of the city.[29][30] Some archaeologists, including Kathleen Kenyon, believe Jerusalem[31] as a city was founded by West Semitic people with organized settlements from around 2600 BCE. According to Jewish tradition the city was founded by Shem and Eber, ancestors of Abraham. In the biblical account, when first mentioned, Jerusalem (known as "Salem") is ruled by Melchizedek, an ally of Abraham (identified with Shem in legend). Later, in the time of Joshua, Jerusalem was in territory allocated to the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18:28) but it continued to be under the independent control of the Jebusites until it was conquered by David and made into the capital of the united Kingdom of Israel (c. 1000s BCE).[32][33][v] Recent excavations of a large stone structure are interpreted by some archaeologists as lending credence to the biblical narrative.[34]

Temple periods

According to Hebrew scripture, King David reigned until 970 BCE. He was succeeded by his son Solomon,[35] who built the Holy Temple on Mount Moriah. Solomon's Temple (later known as the First Temple), went on to play a pivotal role in Jewish history as the repository of the Ark of the Covenant.[36] For over 450 years, until the Babylonian conquest in 587 BCE, Jerusalem was the political capital of firstly the united Kingdom of Israel and then the Kingdom of Judah and the Temple was the religious center of the Israelites.[37] This period is known in history as the First Temple Period.[38] Upon Solomon's death (c. 930 BCE), the ten northern tribes split off to form the Kingdom of Israel. Under the leadership of the House of David and Solomon, Jerusalem remained the capital of the Kingdom of Judah.[39]

The Tower of David as seen from the Hinnom Valley

When the Assyrians conquered the Kingdom of Israel in 722 BCE, Jerusalem was strengthened by a great influx of refugees from the northern kingdom. The First Temple period ended around 586 BCE, as the Babylonians conquered Judah and Jerusalem, and laid waste to Solomon's Temple.[38] In 538 BCE, after fifty years of Babylonian captivity, Persian King Cyrus the Great invited the Jews to return to Judah to rebuild the Temple.[40] Construction of the Second Temple was completed in 516 BCE, during the reign of Darius the Great, seventy years after the destruction of the First Temple.[41][42] Later, in ~445 BCE, King Artaxerxes I of Persia issued a decree allowing the city and the walls to be rebuilt.[43] Jerusalem resumed its role as capital of Judah and center of Jewish worship. When Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire, Jerusalem and Judea fell under Macedonian control, eventually falling to the Ptolemaic dynasty under Ptolemy I. In 198 BCE, Ptolemy V lost Jerusalem and Judea to the Seleucids under Antiochus III. The Seleucid attempt to recast Jerusalem as a Hellenized polis came to a head in 168 BCE with the successful Maccabean revolt of Mattathias the High Priest and his five sons against Antiochus Epiphanes, and their establishment of the Hasmonean Kingdom in 152 BCE with Jerusalem again as its capital.[44]

Jewish-Roman wars

Roman siege and destruction of Jerusalem (David Roberts, 1850)

As Rome became stronger it installed Herod as a Jewish client king. Herod the Great, as he was known, devoted himself to developing and beautifying the city. He built walls, towers and palaces, and expanded the Temple Mount, buttressing the courtyard with blocks of stone weighing up to 100 tons. Under Herod, the area of the Temple Mount doubled in size.[35][45][46] In 6 CE, the city, as well as much of the surrounding area, came under direct Roman rule as the Iudaea Province[47] and Herod's descendants through Agrippa II remained client kings of Judea until 96 CE. Roman rule over Jerusalem and the region began to be challenged with the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. Jerusalem once again served as the capital of Judea during the three-year rebellion known as the Bar Kokhba revolt, beginning in 132 CE. The Romans succeeded in suppressing the revolt in 135 CE. Emperor Hadrian romanized the city, renaming it Aelia Capitolina.[48], and banned the Jews from entering it. Hadrian renamed the entire Iudaea Province Syria Palaestina after the biblical Philistines in an attempt to de-Judaize the country.[49][50] Enforcement of the ban on Jews entering Aelia Capitolina continued until the 4th century CE.

In the five centuries following the Bar Kokhba revolt, the city remained under Roman then Byzantine rule. During the 4th century, the Roman Emperor Constantine I constructed Christian sites in Jerusalem such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Jerusalem reached a peak in size and population at the end of the Second Temple Period: The city covered two square kilometers (0.8 sq mi.) and had a population of 200,000[49][51] From the days of Constantine until the 7th century, Jews were banned from Jerusalem.[52]

Roman-Persian wars

Within the span of a few decades, Jerusalem shifted from Roman to Persian rule and returned to Roman dominion once more. Following Sassanid Khosrau II's early seventh century push into Byzantine, advancing through Syria, Sassanid Generals Shahrbaraz and Shahin attacked the Byzantine-controlled city of Jerusalem (Persian: Dej Houdkh). They were aided by the Jews of Palestine, who had risen up against the Byzantines.[53]

In the Siege of Jerusalem (614), after 21 days of relentless siege warfare, Jerusalem was captured. The Byzantine chronicles relate that the Sassanid army and the Jews slaughtered tens of thousands of Christians in the city, an episode which has been the subject of much debate between historians.[54] The conquered city would remain in Sassanid hands for some fifteen years until the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius reconquered it in 629.[53]

Arab rule

Dome of the Rock viewed through Cotton Gate

Jerusalem is considered Islam's third holiest city after Mecca and Medina. Among Muslims of an earlier era it was referred to as Bayt al-Maqdes; later it became known as al-Quds al-Sharif. In 638 the Islamic Caliphate extended its dominion to Jerusalem.[55] With the Arab conquest, Jews were allowed back into the city.[56] The Rashidun caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab signed a treaty with Monophysite Christian Patriarch Sophronius, assuring him that Jerusalem's Christian holy places and population would be protected under Muslim rule.[57] Umar refused to pray in the church, so that the descendant Muslims would not request converting the church to a mosque. He prayed outside the church, where the Mosque of Umar (Omar) stands till the present time. According to the Gaullic bishop Arculf, who lived in Jerusalem from 679 to 688, the Mosque of Umar was a rectangular wooden structure built over ruins which could accommodate 3,000 worshipers.[58] When the Muslims went to Bayt Al-Maqdes for the first time, They searched for the site of the Far Away Holy Mosque (Al-Masjed Al-Aqsa) that was mentioned in Quran and Hadith according to Islamic beliefs. They found the site full of rubbish, they cleaned it and started using it for prayers thereafter. The Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik commissioned the construction of the Dome of the Rock in the late 7th century.[59] The 10th century historian al-Muqaddasi writes that Abd al-Malik built the shrine in order to compete in grandeur with Jerusalem's monumental churches.[58] Over the next four hundred years Jerusalem's prominence diminished as Arab powers in the region jockeyed for control.[60]

Crusader, Ayyubid, and Mamluk period

Medieval illustration of capture of Jerusalem during the First Crusade, 1099

In 1099, The Fatimid ruler expelled the native Christian population before Jerusalem was conquered by the Crusaders, who massacred most of its Muslim and Jewish inhabitants when they took the solidly defended city by assault, after a period of siege; later the Crusaders created the Kingdom of Jerusalem. By early June 1099 Jerusalem’s population had declined from 70,000 to less than 30,000.[61]

In 1187, the city was wrested from the Crusaders by Saladin who permitted Jews and Muslims to return and settle in the city.[62] Under the Ayyubid dynasty of Saladin, a period of huge investment began in the construction of houses, markets, public bathes, and pilgrim hostels as well as the establishment of religious endowments. However, for most of the 13th century, Jerusalem declined to the status of a village due to city's fall of strategic value and Ayyubid internecine struggles.[63]

In 1244, Jerusalem was sacked by the Khwarezmian Tartars, who decimated the city's Christian population and drove out the Jews.[64] The Khwarezmian Tartars were driven out by the Ayyubids in 1247. From 1250 to 1517, Jerusalem was ruled by the Mamluks. During this period of time many clashes occurred between the Mamluks on one side and the crusaders and the Mongols on the other side. The area also suffered from many earthquakes and black plague.

Ottoman era

Jews of Jerusalem, 1895

In 1517, Jerusalem and environs fell to the Ottoman Turks, who generally remained in control until 1917.[62] Jerusalem enjoyed a prosperous period of renewal and peace under Suleiman the Magnificent – including the rebuilding of magnificent walls around the Old City. Throughout much of Ottoman rule, Jerusalem remained a provincial, if religiously important center, and did not straddle the main trade route between Damascus and Cairo.[65] However, the Muslim Turks brought many innovations: modern postal systems run by the various consulates; the use of the wheel for modes of transportation; stagecoach and carriage, the wheelbarrow and the cart; and the oil-lantern, among the first signs of modernization in the city.[66] In the mid 19th century, the Ottomans constructed the first paved road from Jaffa to Jerusalem, and by 1892 the railroad had reached the city.[66]

With the annexation of Jerusalem by Muhammad Ali of Egypt in 1831, foreign missions and consulates began to establish a foothold in the city. In 1836, Ibrahim Pasha allowed Jerusalem's Jewish residents to restore four major synagogues, among them the Hurva.[67] In the 1834 Arab revolt in Palestine, Qasim al-Ahmad led his forces from Nablus and attacked Jerusalem, aided by the Abu Ghosh clan, entered the city on May 31, 1834. The Christians and Jews of Jerusalem were subjected to attacks. Ibrahim's Egyptian army routed Qasim's forces in Jerusalem the following month.[68]

Ottoman rule was reinstated in 1840, but many Egyptian Muslims remained in Jerusalem and Jews from Algiers and North Africa began to settle in the city in growing numbers.[67] In the 1840s and 1850s, the international powers began a tug-of-war in Palestine as they sought to extend their protection over the region's religious minorities, a struggle carried out mainly through consular representatives in Jerusalem.[69] According to the Prussian consul, the population in 1845 was 16,410, with 7,120 Jews, 5,000 Muslims, 3,390 Christians, 800 Turkish soldiers and 100 Europeans.[67] The volume of Christian pilgrims increased under the Ottomans, doubling the city's population around Easter time.[70]

In the 1860s, new neighborhoods began to develop outside the Old City walls to house pilgrims and relieve the intense overcrowding and poor sanitation inside the city. The Russian Compound and Mishkenot Sha'ananim were founded in 1860.[71] In 1867 an American Missionary reports an estimated population of Jerusalem of 'above' 15,000. With 4,000 to 5,000 Jews and 6,000 Muslims. Every year there were 5,000 to 6,000 Russian Christian Pilgrims.[72]

British Mandate and 1948 War

General Edmund Allenby enters the Jaffa Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem on December 11, 1917

In 1917 after the Battle of Jerusalem, the British Army, led by General Edmund Allenby, captured the city,[73] and in 1922, the League of Nations at the Conference of Lausanne entrusted the United Kingdom to administer the Mandate for Palestine, the neighbouring mandate of Transjordan to the east across the River Jordan, and the Iraq Mandate beyond it.

From 1922 to 1948 the total population of the city rose from 52,000 to 165,000 with two thirds of Jews and one-third of Arabs (Muslims and Christians).[74] The situation between Arabs and Jews in Palestine was not quiet. At Jerusalem, in particular riots occurred in 1920 and in 1929. Under the British, new garden suburbs were built in the western and northern parts of the city[75][76] and institutions of higher learning such as the Hebrew University were founded.[77]

As the British Mandate for Palestine was expiring, the 1947 UN Partition Plan recommended "the creation of a special international regime in the City of Jerusalem, constituting it as a corpus separatum under the administration of the United Nations."[78] The international regime (which also included the city of Bethlehem) was to remain in force for a period of ten years, whereupon a referendum was to be held in which the residents were to decide the future regime of their city. However, this plan was not implemented, as the 1948 war erupted, while the British withdrew from Palestine and Israel declared its independence.[79] The war led to displacement of Arab and Jewish populations in the city. The 1,500 residents of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City were expelled and a few hundred taken prisoner when the Arab Legion captured the quarter on 28 May.[80][81] The Arab Legion also attacked Western Jerusalem with snipers.[82]

Division and reunification 1948–1967

Israeli policemen meet a Jordanian Legionnaire near the Mandelbaum Gate

The war of 1948 resulted in Jerusalem being divided, with the old walled city lying entirely on the Jordanian side of the line. A no-man's land between East and West Jerusalem came into being in November 1948: Moshe Dayan, commander of the Israeli forces in Jerusalem, met with his Jordanian counterpart Abdullah el Tell in a deserted house in Jerusalem’s Musrara neighborhood and marked out their respective positions: Israel’s position in red and Jordan's in green. This rough map, which was not meant as a an official one, became the final line in the 1949 Armistice Agreements, which divided the city and left Mount Scopus as an Israeli exclave inside East Jerusalem.[83] Barbed wire and concrete barriers ran down the center of the city, passing close by Jaffa Gate on the western side of the old walled city, and a crossing point was established at Mandelbaum Gate slightly to the north of the old walled city. Military skirmishes frequently threatened the ceasefire. After the establishment of the State of Israel, Jerusalem was declared its capital. Jordan formally annexed East Jerusalem in 1950, subjecting it to Jordanian law.[79][84] Only the United Kingdom and Pakistan formally recognized such annexation, which, in regard to Jerusalem, was on a de facto basis.[85] Also, it is dubious if Pakistan recognized Jordan's annexation.[86][87]

After 1948, Jordan was able to take control of all the holy places inside the old walled city, and contrary to the terms of the agreement, Israelis were denied access to Jewish holy sites, many of which were desecrated. Jordan allowed only very limited access to Christian holy sites.[88][89] During this period, the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque underwent major renovations.[90]

Map showing East and West Jerusalem

In 1967, the Six-Day War saw hand to hand fighting between Israeli and Jordanian soldiers on the Temple Mount, and it resulted in Israel capturing East Jerusalem. Hence Jewish and Christian access to the holy sites inside the old walled city was restored, while the Temple Mount remained under the jurisdiction of an Islamic waqf. The Moroccan Quarter, which was located adjacent to the Western Wall, was vacated and razed[91] to make way for a plaza for those visiting the wall.[92] Since the war, Israel has expanded the city's boundaries and established a ring of Jewish neighbourhoods on land east of the Green Line.

However, the takeover of East Jerusalem was met with international criticism. Following the passing of Israel's Jerusalem Law, which declared Jerusalem, "complete and united", the capital of Israel,[93] the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that declared the law "a violation of international law" and requested all member states to withdraw all remaining embassies from the city.[94]

The status of the city, and especially its holy places, remains a core issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israeli government has approved building plans in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City[95] in order to expand the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem, while prominent Islamic leaders have made claims that Jews have no historical connection to Jerusalem, alleging that the 2,500-year old Western Wall was constructed as part of a mosque.[96] Palestinians envision East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state,[97][98] and the city's borders have been the subject of bilateral talks. A strong longing for peace is symbolized by the Peace Monument (with farming tools made out of scrap weapons), facing the Old City wall near the former Israeli-Jordanian border and quoting from the book of Isaiah in Arabic and Hebrew.[99]


View of Jerusalem Forest from Yad Vashem

Jerusalem is situated on the southern spur of a plateau in the Judean Mountains, which include the Mount of Olives (East) and Mount Scopus (North East). The elevation of the Old City is approximately 760 m (2,493.44 ft).[100] The whole of Jerusalem is surrounded by valleys and dry riverbeds (wadis). The Kidron, Hinnom, and Tyropoeon Valleys intersect in an area just south of the Old City of Jerusalem.[101] The Kidron Valley runs to the east of the Old City and separates the Mount of Olives from the city proper. Along the southern side of old Jerusalem is the Valley of Hinnom, a steep ravine associated in biblical eschatology with the concept of Gehenna or Hell.[102] The Tyropoeon Valley commenced in the northwest near the Damascus Gate, ran south-southeasterly through the center of the Old City down to the Pool of Siloam, and divided the lower part into two hills, the Temple Mount to the east, and the rest of the city to the west (the lower and the upper cities described by Josephus). Today, this valley is hidden by debris that has accumulated over the centuries.[101]

In biblical times, Jerusalem was surrounded by forests of almond, olive and pine trees. Over centuries of warfare and neglect, these forests were destroyed. Farmers in the Jerusalem region thus built stone terraces along the slopes to hold back the soil, a feature still very much in evidence in the Jerusalem landscape.[103]

Water supply has always been a major problem in Jerusalem, as attested to by the intricate network of ancient aqueducts, tunnels, pools and cisterns found in the city.[104]

Jerusalem is 60 kilometers (37 mi)[105] east of Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean Sea. On the opposite side of the city, approximately 35 kilometers (22 mi)[106] away, is the Dead Sea, the lowest body of water on Earth. Neighboring cities and towns include Bethlehem and Beit Jala to the south, Abu Dis and Ma'ale Adumim to the east, Mevaseret Zion to the west, and Ramallah and Giv'at Ze'ev to the north.[107][108][109]

Panorama of the Temple Mount, including the Dome of the Rock, from the Mount of Olives


The city is characterized by a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers, and cold, wet winters. Snow usually occurs once or twice a winter, although the city experiences heavy snowfall every three to four years on average. January is the coldest month of the year, with an average temperature of 8 °C (46 °F); July and August are the hottest months, with an average temperature of 23 °C (73 °F). Temperatures vary widely from day to night, and Jerusalem evenings are typically cool even in summer. The average annual precipitation is close to 590 millimetres (23 in) with rain occurring mostly between October and May.[110]

Most of the air pollution in Jerusalem comes from vehicular traffic.[111] Many main streets in Jerusalem were not built to accommodate such a large volume of traffic, leading to traffic congestion and more carbon monoxide released into the air. Industrial pollution inside the city is sparse, but emissions from factories on the Israeli Mediterranean coast can travel eastward and settle over the city.[111][112]

Climate data for Jerusalem
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 25
Average high °C (°F) 12
Daily mean °C (°F) 8
Average low °C (°F) 4
Record low °C (°F) -3
Precipitation mm (inches) 142
Avg. rainy days 10 9 8 3 1 0 0 0 0 2 6 8 47
Source: The Weather Channel[110]
Source #2: BBC News [113]


Population of Jerusalem
Year Total
1844 15,510
1876 25,030
1896 45,420
1922 62,578
1931 90,053
1944 157,000
1948 165,000
1967 263,307
1980 407,100
1985 457,700
1990 524,400
1995 617,000
2000 657,500
2005 706,400

In December 2007, Jerusalem had a population of 747,600—64% were Jewish, 32% Muslim, and 2% Christian.[1] At the end of 2005, the population density was 5,750.4 inhabitants per square kilometer (14,893.5/sq mi).[3][114] According to a study published in 2000, the percentage of Jews in the city's population had been decreasing; this was attributed to a higher Muslim birth rate, and Jewish residents leaving. The study also found that about nine percent of the Old City's 32,488 people were Jews.[115]

In 2005, 2,850 new immigrants settled in Jerusalem, mostly from the United States, France and the former Soviet Union. In terms of the local population, the number of outgoing residents exceeds the number of incoming residents. In 2005, 16,000 left Jerusalem and only 10,000 moved in.[3] Nevertheless, the population of Jerusalem continues to rise due to the high birth rate, especially in the Arab and Haredi Jewish communities. Consequently, the total fertility rate in Jerusalem (4.02) is higher than in Tel Aviv (1.98) and well above the national average of 2.90. The average size of Jerusalem's 180,000 households is 3.8 people.[3]

In 2005, the total population grew by 13,000 (1.8%)—similar to Israeli national average, but the religious and ethnic composition is shifting. While 31% of the Jewish population is made up of children below the age fifteen, the figure for the Arab population is 42%.[3] This would seem to corroborate the observation that the percentage of Jews in Jerusalem has declined over the past four decades. In 1967, Jews accounted for 74 percent of the population, while the figure for 2006 is down nine percent.[116] Possible factors are the high cost of housing, fewer job opportunities and the increasingly religious character of the city, although proportionally, young haredim are leaving in higher numbers.[citation needed] Many people are moving to the suburbs and coastal cities in search of cheaper housing and a more secular lifestyle.[117]

In 2009, the percentage of Haredim in the city is increasing. As of 2009, out of 150,100 schoolchildren, 59,900 or 40% are in state-run secular and National Religious schools, while 90,200 or 60% are in Haredi schools. This correlates with the high number of children in Haredi families[118][119]

While many Israelis see Jerusalem as poor, rundown and riddled with religious and political tension, the city has been a magnet for Palestinians, offering more jobs and opportunity than any city in the West Bank or Gaza Strip. Palestinian officials have encouraged Arabs over the years to stay in the city to maintain their claim.[120][121] Palestinians are attracted to the access to jobs, healthcare, social security, other benefits, and quality of life Israel provides to Jerusalem residents.[122] Arab residents of Jerusalem who choose not to have Israeli citizenship are granted an Israeli identity card that allows them to pass through checkpoints with relative ease and to travel throughout Israel, making it easier to find work. Residents also are entitled to the subsidized healthcare and social security benefits Israel provides its citizens. Arabs in Jerusalem can send their children to Israeli-run schools, although not every neighborhood has one, and universities. Israeli doctors and highly regarded hospitals such as Hadassah Medical Center are available to residents.[123]

Jerusalem on the map of Israel

Demographics and the Jewish-Arab population divide play a major role in the dispute over Jerusalem. In 1998, the Jerusalem Development Authority proposed expanding city limits to the west to include more areas heavily populated with Jews.[124]

East Jerusalem, 2006

Criticism of urban planning

Critics of efforts to promote a Jewish majority in Israel say that government planning policies are motivated by demographic considerations and seek to limit Arab construction while promoting Jewish construction.[125] According to a World Bank report, the number of recorded building violations between 1996 and 2000 was four and half times higher in Jewish neighborhoods but four times fewer demolition orders were issued in West Jerusalem than in East Jerusalem; Palestinians in Jerusalem were less likely to receive construction permits than Jews, and "the authorities are much more likely to take action against Palestinian violators" than Jewish violators of the permit process.[126] In recent years, private Jewish foundations have received permission from the government to develop projects on disputed lands, such as the City of David archaeological park in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan (adjacent to the Old City),[127] and the Museum of Tolerance on Mamilla cemetery (adjacent to Zion Square).[128] The Israeli government has also expropriated Palestinian land for the construction of the Israeli West Bank barrier.[126] Opponents view such urban planning moves as geared towards the Judaization of Jerusalem.[129][130][131]

Local government

Safra Square, Jerusalem City Hall

The Jerusalem City Council is a body of 31 elected members headed by the mayor, who serves a five-year term and appoints six deputies. The former mayor of Jerusalem, Uri Lupolianski, was elected in 2003.[132] In the November 2008 city elections, Nir Barkat came out as the winner and is now the mayor. Apart from the mayor and his deputies, City Council members receive no salaries and work on a voluntary basis. The longest-serving Jerusalem mayor was Teddy Kollek, who spent twenty-eight years—six consecutive terms—in office. Most of the meetings of the Jerusalem City Council are private, but each month, it holds a session that is open to the public.[132] Within the city council, religious political parties form an especially powerful faction, accounting for the majority of its seats.[133] The headquarters of the Jerusalem Municipality and the mayor's office are at Safra Square (Kikar Safra) on Jaffa Road. The new municipal complex, comprising two modern buildings and ten renovated historic buildings surrounding a large plaza, opened in 1993.[134] The city falls under the Jerusalem District, with Jerusalem as the district's capital.

Political status

The Knesset Building in Jerusalem, home to the legislative branch of the Israeli government

On December 5, 1949, the State of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, proclaimed Jerusalem as Israel's capital,[135] and since then all branches of the Israeli governmentlegislative, judicial, and executive—have resided there, except for the Ministry of Defense, located at HaKirya in Tel Aviv.[136] At the time of the proclamation, Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Jordan and thus only West Jerusalem was considered Israel's capital. Immediately after the 1967 Six-Day War, however, Israel annexed East Jerusalem, making it a de facto part of the Israeli capital. Israel enshrined the status of the "complete and united" Jerusalem—west and east—as its capital, in the 1980 Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel.[137]

The status of a "united Jerusalem" as Israel's "eternal capital"[135][138] has been a matter of immense controversy within the international community. Although some countries maintain consulates in Jerusalem, all embassies are located outside of the city proper, mostly in Tel Aviv.[139][140] Due to the non-recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, non-Israeli press use Tel Aviv as a metonym for Israel.[141][142][143][144]

The Supreme Court of Israel, With the Knesset in the Background.

The non-binding United Nations Security Council Resolution 478, passed on August 20, 1980, declared that the Basic Law was "null and void and must be rescinded forthwith." Member states were advised to withdraw their diplomatic representation from the city as a punitive measure. Most of the remaining countries with embassies in Jerusalem complied with the resolution by relocating them to Tel Aviv, where many embassies already resided prior to Resolution 478. Currently there are no embassies located within the city limits of Jerusalem, although there are embassies in Mevaseret Zion, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, and four consulates in the city itself.[139] In 1995, the United States Congress had planned to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem with the passage of the Jerusalem Embassy Act.[145] However, former U.S. President George W. Bush has argued that Congressional resolutions regarding the status of Jerusalem are merely advisory. The Constitution reserves foreign relations as an executive power, and as such, the United States embassy is still in Tel Aviv.[146]

On 28 October 2009, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that Jerusalem must be the capital of both Israel and Palestine if peace is to be achieved.[147]

Israel's most prominent governmental institutions, including the Knesset,[148] the Supreme Court,[149] and the official residences of the President and Prime Minister, are located in Jerusalem. Prior to the creation of the State of Israel, Jerusalem served as the administrative capital of the British Mandate, which included present-day Israel and Jordan.[150] From 1949 until 1967, West Jerusalem served as Israel's capital, but was not recognized as such internationally because UN General Assembly Resolution 194 envisaged Jerusalem as an international city. As a result of the Six-Day War in 1967, the whole of Jerusalem came under Israeli control. On June 27, 1967, the government of Levi Eshkol extended Israeli law and jurisdiction to East Jerusalem, but agreed that administration of the Temple Mount compound would be maintained by the Jordanian waqf, under the Jordanian Ministry of Religious Endowments.[151] In 1988, Israel ordered the closure of Orient House, home of the Arab Studies Society, but also the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization, for security reasons. The building reopened in 1992 as a Palestinian guesthouse.[152][153] The Oslo Accords stated that the final status of Jerusalem would be determined by negotiations with the Palestinian National Authority, which regards East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.[14]

Religious significance

The Western Wall, known as the Kotel
The al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest place in Islam

Jerusalem plays an important role in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The 2000 Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem lists 1204 synagogues, 158 churches, and 73 mosques within the city.[154] Despite efforts to maintain peaceful religious coexistence, some sites, such as the Temple Mount, have been a continuous source of friction and controversy.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Jerusalem has been sacred to the Jews since King David proclaimed it his capital in the 10th century BCE. Jerusalem was the site of Solomon's Temple and the Second Temple.[6] It is mentioned in the Bible 632 times. Today, the Western Wall, a remnant of the wall surrounding the Second Temple, is a Jewish holy site second only to the Holy of Holies on the Temple Mount itself.[155] Synagogues around the world are traditionally built with the Holy Ark facing Jerusalem,[156] and Arks within Jerusalem face the "Holy of Holies".[157] As prescribed in the Mishna and codified in the Shulchan Aruch, daily prayers are recited while facing towards Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Many Jews have "Mizrach" plaques hung on a wall of their homes to indicate the direction of prayer.[157][158]

Christianity reveres Jerusalem not only for its Old Testament history but also for its significance in the life of Jesus. According to the New Testament, Jesus was brought to Jerusalem soon after his birth[159] and later in his life cleansed the Second Temple.[160] The Cenacle, believed to be the site of Jesus' Last Supper, is located on Mount Zion in the same building that houses the Tomb of King David.[161][162] Another prominent Christian site in Jerusalem is Golgotha, the site of the crucifixion. The Gospel of John describes it as being located outside Jerusalem,[163] but recent archaeological evidence suggests Golgotha is a short distance from the Old City walls, within the present-day confines of the city.[164] The land currently occupied by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is considered one of the top candidates for Golgotha and thus has been a Christian pilgrimage site for the past two thousand years.[164][165][166]

Jerusalem is considered the third-holiest city in Islam.[7] For approximately a year, before it was permanently switched to the Kabaa in Mecca, the qibla (direction of prayer) for Muslims was Jerusalem.[167] The city's lasting place in Islam, however, is primarily due to Muhammad's Night of Ascension (c. 620 CE). Muslims believe Muhammad was miraculously transported one night from Mecca to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, whereupon he ascended to Heaven to meet previous prophets of Islam.[168][169] The first verse in the Qur'an's Surat al-Isra notes the destination of Muhammad's journey as al-Aqsa (the farthest) mosque,[170] in reference to the location in Jerusalem. Today, the Temple Mount is topped by two Islamic landmarks intended to commemorate the event—al-Aqsa Mosque, derived from the name mentioned in the Qur'an, and the Dome of the Rock, which stands over the Foundation Stone, from which Muslims believe Muhammad ascended to Heaven.[171]


The Shrine of the Book, housing the Dead Sea Scrolls, at the Israel Museum

Although Jerusalem is known primarily for its religious significance, the city is also home to many artistic and cultural venues. The Israel Museum attracts nearly one million visitors a year, approximately one-third of them tourists.[172] The 20 acre museum complex comprises several buildings featuring special exhibits and extensive collections of Judaica, archaeological findings, and Israeli and European art. The Dead Sea scrolls, discovered in the mid-twentieth century in the Qumran caves near the Dead Sea, are housed in the Museum's Shrine of the Book.[173] The Youth Wing, which mounts changing exhibits and runs an extensive art education program, is visited by 100,000 children a year. The museum has a large outdoor sculpture garden, and a scale-model of the Second Temple was recently moved from the Holyland Hotel to a new location on the museum grounds.[172] The Rockefeller Museum, located in East Jerusalem, was the first archaeological museum in the Middle East. It was built in 1938 during the British Mandate.[174][175]

The Jerusalem Theater at night

Yad Vashem, Israel's national memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, houses the world's largest library of Holocaust-related information,[176] with an estimated 100,000 books and articles. The complex contains a state-of-the-art museum that explores the genocide of the Jews through exhibits that focus on the personal stories of individuals and families killed in the Holocaust and an art gallery featuring the work of artists who perished. Yad Vashem also commemorates the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis, and honors the Righteous among the Nations.[177] The Museum on the Seam, which explores issues of coexistence through art is situated on the road dividing eastern and western Jerusalem.[178]

The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, established in the 1940s,[179] has appeared around the world.[179] Other arts facilities include the International Convention Center (Binyanei HaUma) near the entrance to city, where the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra plays, the Jerusalem Cinemateque, the Gerard Behar Center (formerly Beit Ha'am) in downtown Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Music Center in Yemin Moshe,[180] and the Targ Music Center in Ein Kerem. The Israel Festival, featuring indoor and outdoor performances by local and international singers, concerts, plays and street theater, has been held annually since 1961; for the past 25 years, Jerusalem has been the major organizer of this event. The Jerusalem Theater in the Talbiya neighborhood hosts over 150 concerts a year, as well as theater and dance companies and performing artists from overseas.[181] The Khan Theater, located in a caravansarai opposite the old Jerusalem train station, is the city's only repertoire theater.[182] The station itself has become a venue for cultural events in recent years, as the site of Shav'ua Hasefer, an annual week-long book fair, and outdoor music performances.[183] The Jerusalem Film Festival is held annually, screening Israeli and international films.[184]

The Ticho House, in downtown Jerusalem, houses the paintings of Anna Ticho and the Judaica collections of her husband, an ophthalmologist who opened Jerusalem's first eye clinic in this building in 1912.[185] Al-Hoash, established in 2004, is a gallery for the preservation of Palestinian art.[186]

Besides being a center for Jewish Israeli culture, Jerusalem is a capital of Arab culture. Jerusalem was selected by UNESCO as the 2009 Capital of Arab Culture.[187] Jerusalem is home to the Palestinian National Theatre, which engages in cultural preservation as well as innovation, working to upgrade and rekindle interest in the arts at the national level.[188] The The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music is headquartered in Jerusalem. The conservatory sponsors the Palestine Youth Orchestra, which has achieved acclaim throughout the Arab world – in 2009, the orchestra, which includes Arab musicians from Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Israel, and Arabs living in the Palestinian diaspora – toured the Gulf states and other Middle East countries.[189]

The Islamic Museum on the Temple Mount, established in 1923, houses many Islamic artifacts, from tiny kohl flasks and rare manuscripts to giant marble columns.[190]

While Israeli authorities approve and even support some Palestinian Authority sponsored Arab cultural activities, restrictions often make expansion of Jerusalem Palestinian Authority sponsored Arab culture difficult. Israeli authorities forbade festivities marking the selection of Jerusalem as the Arab Capital of Culture, because they were sponsored by the PNA, which Israel claims has no authority in Jerusalem.[187] Israeli border restrictions make it difficult for music teachers and artists to move freely between Jerusalem and cultural centers in the West Bank.[191] Nevertheless, a four-day culture fest did take place in the Beit Anan suburb of Jerusalem in 2009, attended by more than 15,000 people[192]

Jerusalem is also a center for Israeli-Palestinian cultural cooperation. Several organizations, including the Abraham Fund and the Jerusalem Intercultural Center (JICC) actively promote joint Jewish-Palestinian cultural projects. The Jerusalem Center for Middle Eastern Music and Dance offers courses and performances by Arab and Jewish students and artists. The JICC offers workshops on Jewish-Arab dialogue through the arts.[193] The Jewish-Arab Youth Orchestra meets in Jerusalem, and performs both European classical and Middle Eastern music.[194]

A Tolerance Monument sculpted by Czesław Dźwigaj in collaboration with Michal Kubiak is situated on a hill marking the divide between Jewish Armon Hanatziv and Arab Jebl Mukaber, standing opposite the United Nations headquarters in Jerusalem in a park near Goldman Promenade. Unveiled in Jerusalem in 2008, it was funded by Polish businessman Aleksander Gudzowaty as a symbol to promote peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[195]


Hadar Mall, Talpiot

Historically, Jerusalem's economy was supported almost exclusively by religious pilgrims, as it was located far from the major ports of Jaffa and Gaza.[196] Jerusalem's religious landmarks today remain the top draw for foreign visitors, with the majority of tourists visiting the Western Wall and the Old City,[3] but in the past half-century it has become increasingly clear that Jerusalem's providence cannot solely be sustained by its religious significance.[196]

Mahane Yehuda Market in West Jerusalem

Although many statistics indicate economic growth in the city, since 1967 East Jerusalem has lagged behind the development of West Jerusalem.[196] Nevertheless, the percentage of households with employed persons is higher for Arab households (76.1%) than for Jewish households (66.8%). The unemployment rate in Jerusalem (8.3%) is slightly better than the national average (9.0%), although the civilian labor force accounted for less than half of all persons fifteen years or older—lower in comparison to that of Tel Aviv (58.0%) and Haifa (52.4%).[3] Poverty in the city has increased dramatically in recent years; between 2001 and 2007, the number of people below the poverty threshold increased by forty percent.[197] In 2006, the average monthly income for a worker in Jerusalem was NIS5,940 (US$1,410), NIS1,350 less than that for a worker in Tel Aviv.[197]

Old City marketplace

During the British Mandate, a law was passed requiring all buildings to be constructed of Jerusalem stone in order to preserve the unique historic and aesthetic character of the city.[76] Complementing this building code, which is still in force, is the discouragement of heavy industry in Jerusalem; only about 2.2% of Jerusalem's land is zoned for "industry and infrastructure." By comparison, the percentage of land in Tel Aviv zoned for industry and infrastructure is twice as high, and in Haifa, seven times as high.[3] Only 8.5% of the Jerusalem District work force is employed in the manufacturing sector, which is half the national average (15.8%). Higher than average percentages are employed in education (17.9% vs. 12.7%); health and welfare (12.6% vs. 10.7%); community and social services (6.4% vs. 4.7%); hotels and restaurants (6.1% vs. 4.7%); and public administration (8.2% vs. 4.7%).[198] Although Tel Aviv remains Israel's financial center, a growing number of high tech companies are moving to Jerusalem, providing 12,000 jobs in 2006.[199] Northern Jerusalem's Har Hotzvim industrial park is home to some of Israel's major corporations, among them Intel, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ophir Optronics and ECI Telecom. Expansion plans for the park envision one hundred businesses, a fire station, and a school, covering an area of 530,000 m² (130 acres).[200]

Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the national government has remained a major player in Jerusalem's economy. The government, centered in Jerusalem, generates a large number of jobs, and offers subsidies and incentives for new business initiatives and start-ups.[196]


Jerusalem's Central Bus Station

The airport nearest to Jerusalem is Atarot Airport, which was used for domestic flights until its closure in 2001. Since then it has been under the control of the Israel Defense Forces due to disturbances in Ramallah and the West Bank. All air traffic from Atarot was rerouted to Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel's largest and busiest airport, which serves nine million passengers annually.[201]

Egged Bus Cooperative, the second-largest bus company in the world,[202] handles most of the local and intercity bus service out of the city's Central Bus Station on Jaffa Road near the western entrance to Jerusalem from highway 1. As of 2008, Egged buses, taxicabs and private cars are the only transportation options in Jerusalem. This is expected to change with the completion of the Jerusalem Light Rail, a new rail-based transit system currently under construction.[203] According to plans, the first rail line will be capable of transporting an estimated 200,000 people daily, and will have 24 stops.[204] It is scheduled for completion in 2010.[205]

Begin Expressway with noise dampeners.

Another work in progress[204] is a new high-speed rail line from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is scheduled to be completed in 2011. Its terminus will be an underground station (80 m (262.47 ft) deep) serving the International Convention Center and the Central Bus Station,[206] and is planned to be extended eventually to Malha station. Israel Railways operates train services to Malha train station from Tel Aviv via Beit Shemesh.[207][208]

Begin Expressway is one of Jerusalem's major north-south thoroughfares; it runs on the western side of the city, merging in the north with Route 443, which continues toward Tel Aviv. Route 60 runs through the center of the city near the Green Line between East and West Jerusalem. Construction is progressing on parts of a 35-kilometer (22-mile) ring road around the city, fostering faster connection between the suburbs.[209][210] The eastern half of the project was conceptualized decades ago, but reaction to the proposed highway is still mixed.[209]


Jerusalem is home to several prestigious universities offering courses in Hebrew, Arabic and English. Founded in 1925, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has been ranked among the top 100 schools in the world.[211] The Board of Governors has included such prominent Jewish intellectuals as Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud.[77] The university has produced several Nobel laureates; recent winners associated with Hebrew University include Avram Hershko,[212] David Gross,[213] and Daniel Kahneman.[214] One of the university's major assets is the Jewish National and University Library, which houses over five million books.[215] The library opened in 1892, over three decades before the university was established, and is one of the world's largest repositories of books on Jewish subjects. Today it is both the central library of the university and the national library of Israel.[216] The Hebrew University operates three campuses in Jerusalem, on Mount Scopus, on Giv'at Ram and a medical campus at the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital.

Al-Quds University was established in 1984[217] to serve as a flagship university for the Arab and Palestinian peoples. It describes itself as the "only Arab university in Jerusalem".[218] Al-Quds University resides southeast of the city proper on a campus encompassing 190,000 square metres (47 acres).[217] Other institutions of higher learning in Jerusalem are the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance[219] and Bezalel Academy of Art and Design,[220] whose buildings are located on the campuses of the Hebrew University.

The Jerusalem College of Technology, founded in 1969, combines training in engineering and other high-tech industries with a Jewish studies program.[221] It is one of many schools in Jerusalem, from elementary school and up, that combine secular and religious studies. Numerous religious educational institutions and Yeshivot, including some of the most prestigious yeshivas, among them the Brisk, Chevron and Mir, are based in the city, with the Mir Yeshiva claiming to be the largest.[222] There were nearly 8,000 twelfth-grade students in Hebrew-language schools during the 2003–2004 school year.[3] However, due to the large portion of students in Haredi Jewish frameworks, only fifty-five percent of twelfth graders took matriculation exams (Bagrut) and only thirty-seven percent were eligible to graduate. Unlike public schools, many Haredi schools do not prepare students to take standardized tests.[3] To attract more university students to Jerusalem, the city has begun to offer a special package of financial incentives and housing subsidies to students who rent apartments in downtown Jerusalem.[223]

Schools for Arabs in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel have been criticized for offering a lower quality education than those catering to Israeli Jewish students.[224] While many schools in the heavily Arab East Jerusalem are filled to capacity and there have been complaints of overcrowding, the Jerusalem Municipality is currently building over a dozen new schools in the city's Arab neighborhoods.[225] Schools in Ras el-Amud and Umm Lison opened in 2008.[226] In March 2007, the Israeli government approved a 5-year plan to build 8,000 new classrooms in the city, 40 percent in the Arab sector and 28 percent in the Haredi sector. A budget of 4.6 billion shekels was allocated for this project.[227] In 2008, Jewish British philanthropists donated $3 million for the construction of schools in Arab East Jerusalem.[226] Arab high school students take the Bagrut matriculation exams, so that much of their curriculum parallels that of other Israeli high schools and includes certain Jewish subjects.[224]


The two most popular sports are football and basketball.[228] Beitar Jerusalem Football Club is one of the most well-known in Israel. Fans include political figures who often attend its games.[229] Jerusalem's other major football team, and one of Beitar's top rivals, is Hapoel Jerusalem F.C. Whereas Beitar has been Israel State Cup champion seven times,[230] Hapoel has only won the Cup once. Beitar has won the top league six times, while Hapoel never succeeded. Beitar plays in the more prestigious Ligat HaAl, while Hapoel is in the seconed division Liga Leumit.

In basketball, Hapoel Jerusalem plays in the top division. The club has won the State Cup three times, and the ULEB Cup in 2004.[231] Since its opening in 1992, Teddy Kollek Stadium has been Jerusalem's primary football stadium, with a capacity of 21,600.[232]

The Jerusalem Half Marathon is an annual event in which runners from all over the world compete on a course that takes in some of the city's most famous sights. In addition to the 21.1 km (13.1 miles) Half Marathon, runners can also opt for the shorter 10 km (6.2 miles) Fun Run. Both runs start and finish at the stadium in Givat Ram.[233][234]

See also

Twin towns and Sister cities

Jerusalem is twinned with:


i.   ^ The website for Jerusalem is available in three languages—Hebrew, English, and Arabic.
ii.   ^ Jerusalem in other languages: Arabic Bibles use أورشليم Ûrshalîm (Ûrushalîm); official Arabic in Israel: أورشليم القدس, Ûrshalîm-al-Quds (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names)
iii.   ^ Jerusalem is the capital under Israeli law. The presidential residence, government offices, supreme court and parliament (Knesset) are located there. The Palestinian Authority foresees East Jerusalem as the capital of its future state. The United Nations and most countries do not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, taking the position that the final status of Jerusalem is pending future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Most countries maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv (see CIA Factbook and Map of IsraelPDF (319 KB)) See Positions on Jerusalem for more information.
iv.   ^ Statistics regarding the demographics of Jerusalem refer to the unified and expanded Israeli municipality, which includes the pre-1967 Israeli and Jordanian municipalities as well as several additional Palestinian villages and neighborhoods to the northeast. Some of the Palestinian villages and neighborhoods have been relinquished to the West Bank de facto by way of the Israeli West Bank barrier,[124] but their legal statuses have not been reverted.
v.   ^ a b Much of the information regarding King David's conquest of Jerusalem comes from Biblical accounts, but modern-day historians have begun to give them credit due to a 1993 excavation.[237]
vi.   ^ Sources disagree on the timing of the creation of the Pact of Umar (Omar). Whereas some say the Pact originated during Umar's lifetime but was later expanded,[238][239] others say the Pact was created after his death and retroactively attributed to him.[240] Further still, other historians believe the ideas in the Pact pre-date Islam and Umar entirely.[241]


  1. ^ a b c "TABLE 3. – POPULATION(1) OF LOCALITIES NUMBERING ABOVE 2,000 RESIDENTS AND OTHER RURAL POPULATION ON 31/12/2008" (PDF). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 2008-12-31. Retrieved 2009-10-26. 
  2. ^ Largest city:
    • "...modern Jerusalem, Israel's largest city..." (Erlanger, Steven. Jerusalem, Now, The New York Times, April 16, 2006.)
    • "Jerusalem is Israel's largest city." ("Israel (country)", Microsoft Encarta, 2006, p. 3. Retrieved October 18, 2006. Archived 2009-10-31.)
    • "Since 1975 unified Jerusalem has been the largest city in Israel." ("Jerusalem", Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 2006. Retrieved October 18, 2006. Archived 2008-06-21)
    • "Jerusalem is the largest city in the State of Israel. It has the largest population, the most Jews and the most non-Jews of all Israeli cities." (Klein, Menachem. Jerusalem: The Future of a Contested City, New York University Press, March 1, 2001, p. 18. ISBN 0-8147-4754-X)
    • "In 1967, Tel Aviv was the largest city in Israel. By 1987, more Jews lived in Jerusalem than the total population of Tel Aviv. Jerusalem had become Israel's premier city." (Friedland, Roger and Hecht, Richard. To Rule Jerusalem, University of California Press, September 19, 2000, p. 192. ISBN 0-520-22092-7).
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Press Release: Jerusalem Day" (PDF). Central Bureau of Statistics. 2006-05-24. Retrieved 2007-03-10. 
  4. ^ "Local Authorities in Israel 2007, Publication #1295 – Municipality Profiles – Jerusalem" (in Hebrew) (PDF). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  5. ^ a b "Timeline for the History of Jerusalem". Jewish Virtual Library. American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. Retrieved 2007-04-16. 
  6. ^ a b Since the 10th century BCE:[v]
    • "Israel was first forged into a unified nation from Jerusalem some 3,000 years ago, when King David seized the crown and united the twelve tribes from this city... For a thousand years Jerusalem was the seat of Jewish sovereignty, the household site of kings, the location of its legislative councils and courts. In exile, the Jewish nation came to be identified with the city that had been the site of its ancient capital. Jews, wherever they were, prayed for its restoration." Roger Friedland, Richard D. Hecht. To Rule Jerusalem, University of California Press, 2000, p. 8. ISBN 0-520-22092-7
    • "The Jewish bond to Jerusalem was never broken. For three millennia, Jerusalem has been the center of the Jewish faith, retaining its symbolic value throughout the generations." Jerusalem- the Holy City, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, February 23, 2003. Accessed March 24, 2007.
    • "The centrality of Jerusalem to Judaism is so strong that even secular Jews express their devotion and attachment to the city, and cannot conceive of a modern State of Israel without it... For Jews Jerusalem is sacred simply because it exists... Though Jerusalem's sacred character goes back three millennia...". Leslie J. Hoppe. The Holy City: Jerusalem in the theology of the Old Testament, Liturgical Press, 2000, p. 6. ISBN 0-8146-5081-3
    • "Ever since King David made Jerusalem the capital of Israel 3,000 years ago, the city has played a central role in Jewish existence." Mitchell Geoffrey Bard, The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Middle East Conflict, Alpha Books, 2002, p. 330. ISBN 0-02-864410-7
    • "For Jews the city has been the pre-eminent focus of their spiritual, cultural, and national life throughout three millennia." Yossi Feintuch, U.S. Policy on Jerusalem, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1987, p. 1. ISBN 0-313-25700-0
    • "Jerusalem became the center of the Jewish people some 3,000 years ago" Moshe Maoz, Sari Nusseibeh, Jerusalem: Points of Friction – And Beyond, Brill Academic Publishers, 2000, p. 1. ISBN 90-411-8843-6
    • "The Jewish people are inextricably bound to the city of Jerusalem. No other city has played such a dominant role in the history, politics, culture, religion, national life and consciousness of a people as has Jerusalem in the life of Jewry and Judaism. Since King David established the city as the capital of the Jewish state circa 1000 BCE, it has served as the symbol and most profound expression of the Jewish people's identity as a nation." Basic Facts you should know: Jerusalem, Anti-Defamation League, 2007. Retrieved March 28, 2007.
  7. ^ a b Third-holiest city in Islam:
    • Esposito, John L. (2002-11-02). What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam. Oxford University Press. p. 157. ISBN 0195157133. "The Night Journey made Jerusalem the third holiest city in Islam" 
    • Brown, Leon Carl (2000-09-15). "Setting the Stage: Islam and Muslims". Religion and State: The Muslim Approach to Politics. Columbia University Press. p. 11. ISBN 0231120389. "The third holiest city of Islam—Jerusalem—is also very much in the center..." 
    • Hoppe, Leslie J. (August 2000). The Holy City: Jerusalem in the Theology of the Old Testament. Michael Glazier Books. p. 14. ISBN 0814650813. "Jerusalem has always enjoyed a prominent place in Islam. Jerusalem is often referred to as the third holiest city in Islam..." 
  8. ^ Kollek, Teddy (1977). "Afterword". in John Phillips. A Will to Survive – Israel: the Faces of the Terror 1948-the Faces of Hope Today. Dial Press/James Wade. "about 225 acres (0.91 km2)" 
  9. ^ Ben-Arieh, Yehoshua (1984). Jerusalem in the 19th Century, The Old City. Yad Izhak Ben Zvi & St. Martin's Press. p. 14. ISBN 0312441878. 
  10. ^ Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls
  11. ^ "Do We Divide the Holiest Holy City?". Moment Magazine. Retrieved 2008-03-05. . According to Eric H. Cline’s tally in Jerusalem Besieged.
  12. ^ "United Nations Security Council Resolution 252". Jewish Virtual Library. 1968-05-21. Retrieved 2007-05-23. 
  13. ^ Resolution 298 of 25 September 1971: "Recalling its resolutions [...] concerning measures and actions by Israel designed to change the status of the Israeli-occupied section of Jerusalem, [...]"
  14. ^ a b Segal, Jerome M. (Fall 1997). "Negotiating Jerusalem". The University of Maryland School of Public Policy. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  15. ^ Møller, Bjørn (November 2002) (PDF). A Cooperative Structure for Israeli-Palestinian Relations. Working Paper No. 1. Centre for European Policy Studies. Retrieved 2007-04-16. 
  16. ^ Haberman, Clyde (1995-05-11). "Muslims Say They Own Site Proposed for a U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem – The". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  17. ^ [Jerusalem's Holiest Places], (2006), James Barrat, (English/Spanish) National Geographic,.
  18. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  19. ^ G.Johannes Botterweck, Helmer Ringgren (eds.) Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, (tr.David E.Green) William B.Eerdmann, Grand Rapids Michigan, Cambridge, UK 1990, Vol. VI, p.348
  20. ^ EA287 Abdi Hiba of Jerusalem to the king, No. 3
  21. ^ The El Amarna Letters from Canaan
  22. ^ Elon, Amos (1996-01-08). Jerusalem. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0006375316. Retrieved 2007-04-26. "The epithet may have originated in the ancient name of Jerusalem—Salem (after the pagan deity of the city), which is etymologically connected in the Semitic languages with the words for peace (shalom in Hebrew, salam in Arabic)." 
  23. ^ Ringgren, H., Die Religionen des Alten Orients (Göttingen, 1979), 212.
  24. ^ Wallace, Edwin Sherman (August 1977). Jerusalem the Holy. New York: Arno Press. p. 16. ISBN 0405102984. "A similar view was held by those who give the Hebrew dual to the word" 
  25. ^ Smith, George Adam (1907). Jerusalem: The Topography, Economics and History from the Earliest Times to A.D. 70. Hodder and Stoughton. p. 251. ISBN 0790529351. "The termination -aim or -ayim used to be taken as the ordinary termination of the dual of nouns, and was explained as signifying the upper and lower cities"  (see here [1])
  26. ^ "Jerusalem". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  27. ^ a b c Freedman, David Noel (2000-01-01). Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 694–695. ISBN 0802824005. 
  28. ^ Killebrew Ann E. "Biblical Jerusalem: An Archaeological Assessment" in Andrew G. Vaughn and Ann E. Killebrew, eds., "Jerusalem in Bible and Archaeology: The First Temple Period" (SBL Symposium Series 18; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2003)
  29. ^ Vaughn, Andrew G.; Ann E. Killebrew (2003-08-01). "Jerusalem at the Time of the United Monarchy". Jerusalem in Bible and Archaeology: the First Temple Period. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature. pp. 32–33. ISBN 1589830660. 
  30. ^ Shalem, Yisrael (1997-03-03). "History of Jerusalem from Its Beginning to David". Jerusalem: Life Throughout the Ages in a Holy City. Bar-Ilan University Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies. Retrieved 2007-01-18. 
  31. ^ the original name URU URU salem KI in Akkadian, found listed in the Amarna letters when it was still a fortified well of the Egyptians and ruled by Abi Heba meant city of peace
  32. ^ Greenfeld, Howard (2005-03-29). A Promise Fulfilled: Theodor Herzl, Chaim Weizmann, David Ben-Gurion, and the Creation of the State of Israel. Greenwillow. p. 32. ISBN 006051504X. 
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  54. ^ Modern Historians and the Persian Conquest of Jerusalem in 614, Jewish Social Studies
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  59. ^ Hoppe, Leslie J. (August 2000). The Holy City: Jerusalem in the Theology of the Old Testament. Michael Glazier Books. p. 15. ISBN 0814650813. 
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  141. ^ Israel must co-operate over fake passports, says David Miliband (The Independent, Feb. 18, 2010)
  142. ^ Dubai Hamas killing pledge by UK foreign secretary (BBC, Feb. 18, 2010)
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  150. ^ Jerusalem as administrative capital of the British Mandate:
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    • Oren-Nordheim, Michael; Ruth Kark (September 2001). Jerusalem and Its Environs: Quarters, Neighborhoods, Villages, 1800–1948. Wayne State University Press. p. 36. ISBN 0814329098. "The three decades of British rule in Palestine (1917/18–1948) were a highly significant phase in the development, with indelible effects on the urban planning and development of the capital – Jerusalem."  Ruth Kark is a professor in the Department of Geography at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
    • Dumper, Michael (1996-04-15). The Politics of Jerusalem Since 1967. Columbia University Press. p. 59. ISBN 0231106408. "...the city that was to become the administrative capital of Mandate Palestine..." 
  151. ^ Dore Gold. "Jerusalem in International Diplomacy". Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
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  154. ^ Guinn, David E. (2006-10-02). Protecting Jerusalem's Holy Sites: A Strategy for Negotiating a Sacred Peace (1st ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 142. ISBN 0521866626. 
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  156. ^ Goldberg, Monique Susskind. "Synagogues". Ask the Rabbi. Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies. Archived from the original on 2008-01-31. Retrieved 2007-03-10. 
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  158. ^ The Jewish injunction to pray toward Jerusalem comes in the Orach Chayim section of Shulchan Aruch (94:1) — "When one rises to pray anywhere in the Diaspora, he should face towards the Land of Israel, directing himself also toward Jerusalem, the Temple, and the Holy of Holies."
  159. ^ From the King James Version of the Bible: "And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought [Jesus] to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;" (Luke 2:22)
  160. ^ From the King James Version of the Bible: "And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;" (Mark 11:15)
  161. ^ Boas, Adrian J. (2001-10-12). "Physical Remains of Crusader Jerusalem". Jerusalem in the Time of the Crusades. Routledge. p. 112. ISBN 0415230004. "The interesting, if not reliable illustrations of the church on the round maps of Jerusalem show two distinct buildings on Mount Zion: the church of St Mary and the Cenacle (Chapel of the Last Supper) appear as separate buildings." 
  162. ^ Endo, Shusaku (1999). Richard A. Schuchert. ed. A Life of Jesus. Paulist Press. p. 116. ISBN 0809123193. 
  163. ^ From the King James Version of the Bible: "This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin." (John 19:20)
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  165. ^ Ray, Stephen K. (October 2002). St. John's Gospel: A Bible Study Guide and Commentary for Individuals and Groups. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press. p. 340. ISBN 0898708214. 
  166. ^ O'Reilly, Sean; James O'Reilly (2000-11-30). Pilgrimage: Adventures of the Spirit (1st ed.). Travelers' Tales. p. 14. ISBN 1885211562. "The general consensus is that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre marks the hill called Golgotha, and that the site of the Crucifixion and the last five Stations of the Cross are located under its large black domes." 
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  192. ^ Promoting Palestinian culture presents challenge to occupation and celebrates heritage
  193. ^ ”Speaking Art” Conference: Jewish-Arab Dialogue Through the Arts at the Jerusalem Intercultural Center.
  194. ^ The Jewish-Arab Youth Orchestra
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  220. ^ Official site of Bezalel Academy of Art and Design: (Hebrew), (English)
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  229. ^ Griver, Simon (October 1997). "Betar Jerusalem: A Local Sports Legend Exports Talent to Europe's Top Leagues". Israel Magazine via the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Archived from the original on 2007-12-31. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  230. ^ בית"ר ירושלים האתר הרשמי – דף הבית
  231. ^ (Hebrew) "Home". Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem. Archived from the original on 2008-01-02. Retrieved 2007-03-07.  (The listing of championship wins are located at the bottom after the completion of the Flash intro.)
  232. ^ Eldar, Yishai (2001-12-01). "Jerusalem: Architecture Since 1948". Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  233. ^ Jerusalem Half Marathon official website
  234. ^ Events site Half Marathon and Fun Run summary
  235. ^ "Online Directory: Israel, Middle East". Sister Cities International. Archived from the original on 2008-01-17. Retrieved 2007-04-05. 
  236. ^ "New York City Global Partners". Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  237. ^ Pellegrino, Charles R. (1995-12-01). Return to Sodom & Gomorrah (Second revised ed.). Harper Paperbacks. p. 271. ISBN 0380726335. "[see footnote]" 
  238. ^ Marcus, Jacob Rader (March 2000). The Jew in the Medieval World: A Source Book, 315–1791 (Revised ed.). Hebrew Union College Press. pp. 13–15. ISBN 087820217X. Retrieved 2007-02-01. 
  239. ^ Jonsson, David J. (2005-02-19). The Clash of Ideologies. Xulon Press. p. 256. ISBN 1597810398. "During the reign of Umar, the Pact of Umar was established." 
  240. ^ Goddard, Hugh (2001-04-25). A History of Christian-Muslim Relations. New Amsterdam Books. p. 46. ISBN 1566633400. "Although the documents are attributed to `Umar, in all probability they actually come from the second Islamic century... The covenant was drawn up in the schools of law, and came to be ascribed, like so much else, to `Umar I" 
  241. ^ Goddard, Hugh (2001-04-25). A History of Christian-Muslim Relations. New Amsterdam Books. p. 47. ISBN 1566633400. "It has recently been suggested that many of the detailed regulations concerning what the ahl al-dhimma were and were not permitted to do come from an earlier historical precedent, namely the regulations which existed in the Sassanian Persian Empire with reference to its religious minorities in Iraq." 

Other resources

  • Cheshin, Amir S.; Bill Hutman and Avi Melamed (1999). Separate and Unequal: the Inside Story of Israeli Rule in East Jerusalem Harvard University Press ISBN 978-0-674-80136-3
  • Cline, Eric (2004) Jerusalem Besieged: From Ancient Canaan to Modern Israel. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press ISBN 0-472-11313-5.
  • Collins, Larry, and La Pierre, Dominique (1988). O Jerusalem! Simon and Shuster, N.Y. ISBN 0-671-66241-4
  • Gold, Dore (2007) The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, The West, and the Future of the Holy City Regnery Publishing, Inc. ISBN 978-1-59698-029-7
  • Köchler, Hans (1981) The Legal Aspects of the Palestine Problem with Special Regard to the Question of Jerusalem Vienna: Braumüller ISBN 3-7003-0278-9
  • The Holy Cities: Jerusalem produced by Danae Film Production, distributed by HDH Communications; 2006
  • Wasserstein, Bernard (2002) Divided Jerusalem: The Struggle for the Holy City New Haven and London: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-09730-1

External links






Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. ~ Psalms 122:6

Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.



  • By the streams of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion. (Psalms 137:1)
  • For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof; O daughter of Babylon, that art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that repayeth thee as thou hast served us. (Psalms 137:3-8)
  • The builder of Jerusalem is God, the outcast of Israel he will gather in... Praise God O Jerusalem, laud your God O Zion. (Psalms 147:2-12)
  • For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)
  • Ten measures of beauty descended to the world, nine were taken by Jerusalem. (Talmud, Kiddushin 49b)
  • Whoever did not see Jerusalem in its days of glory, never saw a beautiful city in their life. (Talmud, Succah 51b)
  • "Eternity" — this refers to Jerusalem (Talmud, Berachot 58a)
  • Even during the time of Jerusalem's stumbling, men of faith did not cease from [living] there. (Talmud, Shabbat 119b)
  • There are three gates to Gehinam (purgatory) — one of them is in Jerusalem. (Talmud, Eruvin 19a)
  • Jerusalem does not become impure through touching; Jerusalem will not be split by the tribes. (Talmud, Yoma 12a)
  • Jerusalem was only destroyed because its inhabitants desecrated the Shabbat, they refrained from reciting the Morning and Evening Shema, the children in the Torah day schools wasted their learning time, because they were not shame faced (to sin), because they made the minors equal to the adults, because one did not rebuke another, because they embarrassed Torah Scholars (Talmud, Shabbat 119b)
  • Each and every acacia tree that the non-Jews removed from Jerusalem, will be restored to it by the Holy One, Blessed be He, in the future. (Talmud, Rosh Hashana 23a)
  • Whoever mourns for Jerusalem will be meritorious and will see its rejoicing and all who do not mourn for Jerusalem will not see it's rejoicing. (Talmud, Taanit 30b)
  • God knows I'm gonna/ Walk in Jerusalem/ Talk in Jerusalem/ Sing in Jerusalem/ Be in Jerusalem/ High above in Jerusalem when I die. (Mahalia Jackson, Walk in Jerusalem)


  • We plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion... We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem.
    • (Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian Authority 1996-2004, Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, 1929-2004)


  1. Conquered in 637 CE until it was lost in the Siege of Jerusalem (1099)
  2. See Siege of Jerusalem (1187)

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Asia : Middle East : Israel : Jerusalem
View of Ein Kerem center from the south
View of Ein Kerem center from the south
The Western Wall and Temple Mount at night
The Western Wall and Temple Mount at night

Jerusalem (Hebrew: ירושלים Yerushalayim, Arabic: القدسal-Quds) [1] is a holy city to three religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), whilst being the modern capital of the State of Israel and the country`s largest city. The City of Gold, as it has come to be known in Hebrew, is a fascinatingly unique place where the first century rubs shoulders with the twenty-first century, each jostling for legitimacy and space, and where picturesque "old" neighborhoods nestle against glistening office towers and high-rise apartments. It is one of those places which has to be seen to be believed.


Jerusalem is a big place, and can be divided up into a few districts.

  • The Old City and its Walls form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This tiny ancient city is home to holy sites for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and is truly breathtaking.
  • West Jerusalem is the Jewish-Israeli part of Jerusalem, also known as New Jerusalem, it is the modern commercial heart of the city, having become the focus for development in the capital from the time of Israeli independence in 1948 to the reunification of the city with the Six Day War in 1967.
  • East Jerusalem is the Eastern side of Jerusalem, home to most of Jerusalem's Arab population.
  • Me'a Shearim is the area of Jerusalem inhabited largely by ultra-Orthodox Jewish people, moderate dress is required. The area looks like an old polish town from 1800.
  • The german colony is a West Jerusalem neighborhood south-east of the city center. It's a wonderful place to drink coffee and to eat in restaurants. You may hear more "Anglos" speaking English than Hebrew on these streets.
  • Ein Kerem is a (relatively) secluded neighborhood in West Jerusalem that maintains village atmosphere. It is surrounded by picturesque hills dotted with olive and cypress trees, home to artists and sculptors who have opened numerous galleries. Several churches are built on the site believed to be the birthplace of John the Baptist.
  • Talpiot is a largely commercial and industrial neighborhood in the southern part of West Jerusalem.


Located in the Judean Mountains between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea, Jerusalem is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is the holiest city in Judaism and the spiritual center of the Jewish people since the 10th century BCE, the third-holiest in Islam and is also home to a number of significant and ancient Christian landmarks. It is also a city with a very violent past, as it has been fiercely contested between Christianity and Islam during the brutal Crusade era ). While the city has had a large Jewish majority since 1967, a wide range of national, religious, and socioeconomic groups are represented here. The walled area of Jerusalem, which until the late nineteenth century formed the entire city, is now called the Old City and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. It consists of four ethnic and religious sections — the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters. Barely one square kilometer, the Old City is home to several of Jerusalem's most important and contested religious sites including the Western Wall and Temple Mount for Jews, the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians.

Surrounding the Old City are more modern areas of Jerusalem. The civic and cultural center of modern Israel extends from western Jerusalem toward the country's other urban areas to the west, while areas populated mostly by Arabs can be found in the northern, eastern and southern districts. Jerusalem became Israel's capital upon its independence and Jerusalem was united after the 1967 War when Israel captured East Jerusalem.

Archaeological findings prove the existence of development within present-day Jerusalem as far back as the 4th millennium BCE, but the earliest written records of the city come in the Execration Texts (c. 19th century BCE) and the Amarna letters (c. 14th century BCE). According to Biblical accounts, the Jebusites, a Canaanite tribe, inhabited the area around the present-day city (under the name Jebus) until the late 11th century BCE. At that point (c. 1000s BCE), the Israelites, led by King David, invaded and conquered the city, expanding it southwards and establishing it as the capital of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah (the United Monarchy). It was renamed at this time as Yerushalayim (Jerusalem), a name by which it is still referred to today.

King David's reign over Jerusalem ended around 970 BCE when his son Solomon became the new king. Biblical sources state that within a decade Solomon started to build the first of two Holy Temples within city limits — Solomon's Temple (or the First Temple), a significant site in Jewish and Christian history as the last known location of the Ark of the Covenant. The period of the First Temple was marked by the division of the United Monarchy at the time of Solomon's death (c. 930 BCE) when the ten northern tribes, originally part of the Monarchy, split off to form the Kingdom of Israel. Under the leadership of the bloodline of David and Solomon, Jerusalem continued to act as the capital of the southern par of the split, the Kingdom of Judah. Later, with the Assyrian conquest of the Kingdom of Israel in 722 BCE, Jerusalem became the center of a Judah strengthened by the great number of Israeli refugees. In approximately 586 BCE, the Babylonians conquered the Kingdom of Judah including the city of Jerusalem, and the First Temple Period came to an end.

In 538 BCE, after fifty years of Babylonian captivity, the Jews were given permission from Persian King Cyrus the Great to return to Judah so they could rebuild Jerusalem and construct the Second Temple. The construction was completed in the year 516 BCE, seventy years after the destruction of the First Temple. Jerusalem regained its status as capital of Judah and center of Jewish worship for another four centuries, with a considerable portion of that period under Hasmonean rule. By 19 BCE, the Temple Mount was elevated and construction began on an expansion of the Second Temple under Herod the Great, a Jewish client king under Roman rule. In 6 CE, the city, as well as much of the surrounding Palestine, came under direct Roman rule as the Iudaea Province. Still unchallenged, the Roman rule over Jerusalem and the region came to an end with the first Jewish-Roman war, the Great Jewish Revolt, which resulted in the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. Jerusalem once again served as the national capital for the people of the region during the three-year rebellion known as Bar Kokhba's revolt. The Romans succeeded in sacking and recapturing the city in 135 CE and as a punitive measure, the Jews were banned from Jerusalem.

In the five centuries following Bar Kokhba's revolt, the city remained under Roman and Byzantine rule. With the city controlled by Roman Emperor Constantine I during the 4th century, Jerusalem was transformed into a center for Christianity, with the construction of sites such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. For most of the time between Constantine's rule and the arrival of the Muslim forces in 638, Jews were banned from Jerusalem. From that point, the rights of the non-Muslims under Islamic territory were governed by the Pact of Umar, and Christians and Jews living in the city were granted autonomy in exchange for a required poll tax (jizya). When Caliph Umar first came to the city, he requested that Sophronius, the reigning Patriarch of Jerusalem, guide him and his associates to the site of the Jewish Holy Temple, whereupon he later decided to build a mosque. By the end of the 7th century, a subsequent caliph, Abd al-Malik, had commissioned and completed the construction of the Dome of the Rock over the Foundation Stone. In the four hundred years that followed, Jerusalem's prominence diminished as Arab powers in the region jockeyed for control.

In 1099, Jerusalem was besieged by the First Crusaders, most of the city's then 30,000 Muslim and Jewish inhabitants, were slaughtered. That would be the first of several conquests to take place over the next five hundred years. In 1187, the city was taken from the Crusaders by Saladin. Between 1228 and 1244, it was given by Saladin's descendant al-Kamil to the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. Jerusalem fell again in 1244 to the Khawarizmi Turks, who were later, in 1260, replaced by the Mamelukes. In 1517, Jerusalem and its environs fell to the Ottoman Turks, who would maintain control of after the First World War.

In 1917 after the Battle of Jerusalem, the British Army, led by General Edmund Allenby, captured the city. The League of Nations, through its 1922 ratification of the Balfour Declaration, entrusted the United Kingdom to administer the Mandate of Palestine and help establish a Jewish state in the region. The period of the Mandate saw the construction of new garden suburbs in the western and northern parts of the city and the establishment of institutions of higher learning such as the Hebrew University, founded in 1925.

As the British Mandate of Palestine was expiring, the 1947 UN Partition Plan (Part III) recommended "the creation of a special international regime in the City of Jerusalem, constituting it as a corpus separatum under the administration of the United Nations." However, this plan was never implemented and at the end of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Jerusalem found itself divided between Israel and Jordan (then known as Transjordan). The ceasefire line established through the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and Jordan cut through the center of the city from 1949 until 1967, during which time West Jerusalem was part of Israel and East Jerusalem was part of Jordan. In 1949, west Jerusalem became Israel's capital.After the 1967 war, united Jerusalem became as Israel's capital.


In addition to many secular Israelis and foreigners, Jerusalem is considered home by large numbers of adherents to three of the four Middle Eastern monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Adherents of these faiths have tended historically to congregate in various neighborhoods of the city, with considerable overlap.


Due to its ethnic make-up the main languages spoken in Jerusalem are Hebrew in West Jerusalem and Arabic in East Jerusalem. Most people throughout the city speak sufficient English for communication, particularly Jews that have immigrated from the US and Europe. Additionally, many Charedi (strictly Orthodox) Jews speak Yiddish, and there is a significant number of French-speaking Jews. Smaller groups of Jews speak Dutch and Spanish. There is a large number of Russian immigrants of Jewish background, so it is not uncommon to see signs in Russian or hear Russian language radio. Finding English speakers in West Jerusalem is not at all difficult, but English speakers in East Jerusalem are much harder to find except in Arab businesses near Jewish settlements and in areas trafficked by tourists, such as the neighborhoods surrounding Damascus Gate.


Located on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea, Jerusalem has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.

Winters are very wet, with nearly all of Jerusalem's annual 590 mm (23 in) of precipitation occurring between October and April. The coldest month is January, with an average high of 12°C (53°F) and an average low of 4°C (39°F). Sub-freezing temperatures are not an everyday occurrence, but do happen, and the city will get occasional snowfall during the winter, though it usually only lasts a matter of hours rather than days. However, every once in a while the city will experience significant accumulating snow.

Summers are hot and dry as a bone with virtually no rainfall between the months of May and September. Temperatures will generally approach around 30°C (88°F) during the day and cool to around 15°C (59°F) at night. Being near the desert, there is often a big difference between the day and night temperatures, and even the hottest days can turn into chilly nights. Spring and fall are mild, with minimal rainfall and pleasant temperatures.

Get in

By plane

Israel's main entry point for the international traveller, the newly built Terminal 3 at Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV) [2], named after Israel's first Prime Minister, is situated near Lod and next to the highway linking Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (highway no. 1). The airport, referred to by locals as Natbag - its initials in Hebrew - comprises all the usual amenities expected from a first class airport and contains one of the world's largest duty-free shopping malls for an airport of its size. Ben Gurion Airport acts as the base for El Al [3], Israel's national airline, and is also served by over 50 international air carriers. Travel from the airport to the centre of Jerusalem takes 40-50 minutes and depending on traffic conditions often more. It is advisable to budget at least an additional 2 hours on top of your pre-flight check-in time to ensure timely arrival and completion of security procedures.

The most efficient way to get to Jerusalem from Ben Gurion is via a Sherut shared taxi (a 10+ seater minibus), which you can find just outside the arrival area. Signs will point you towards the Sherut services. The ride is a fixed cost of NIS 50 and will take you almost anywhere in Jerusalem, but as with all taxis in Israel, be sure to confirm the rate with the driver before you leave.

Security is extremely stringent at Ben-Gurion Airport, and is especially suspicious of travelers with Muslim names or visas from Islamic countries in their passports. Expect to be stopped and questioned for several hours if this is the case, both on the way in and on the way out. It would be wise to have some phone numbers of local contacts for security officials to call to verify your reasons for visiting.

By train

Jerusalem is connected to Israel Railway network, but the service, which follows the route of the 1892 Jaffa-Jerusalem line, is noted for its scenery rather than speed.

From Tel Aviv, you should take the train to Jerusalem, with stops en-route at Lod (where you can make connections to Beer Sheva, Ashkelon, Rishon LeZion and Ben Gurion Airport), Ramla, Bet Shemesh, and arrive at Jerusalem's Malkha train station, which is inconveniently located at the south of the city. The old train station in the city center is currently out of service. But plans are underway to build a new rail connection to the Central Bus Station (Takhana Merkazit), thus making it a true intermodal terminal. A few trains also stop at the Biblical Zoo station, but it is within walking distance from Malkha station.

Journey time from Tel Aviv Merkaz/Savidor station to Malkha station is about 1.30 hour. There's one train per hour from 5.54 to 19.54 on weekdays, 5.25 to 14.25 (15.25 in summer) on Friday, 20.10 (22.10 in summer) on Saturday. Trains from Malkha depart on weekdays from 5.44 to 21.41 (the last one only as far as Lod), on Friday from 6.00 to 13.56 (14.56 in summer), on Saturday at 19.47 (21.47 in summer).

From the train station there are several buses to destinations in and around Jerusalem. To downtown take bus #4 or #18, and ask for "MerKaz Ha-ir" or for "Kikar Tzion" (Zion Square). To the central bus station, #5 is the fastest, though the #6 and #32 are alternatives. Taxis are also available.

A high-speed rail link connecting Jerusalem to Tel Aviv in half an hour and Ben Gurion Airport in 20 minutes is under construction and is scheduled to open in 2011. Its terminus will be an underground station (80m below surface) near the central bus station and Binyaney Ha'uma (convention center). Until then, use the train if you have plenty of time and want to see nice mountain scenery, but not if you are in a hurry.

By bus

Bus services to Jerusalem from Ben Gurion International Airport and most Israeli cities are frequent, cheap, and efficient. Egged is almost the only operator of intercity buses to/from Jerusalem, as well as the entire urban network. To check on these services look at its website [4] or dial *2800 from any phone. Most intercity buses arrive at the so-called Central Bus Station (CBS) at the western edge of Jaffa street, the city's main road. From there it's a long but enjoyable walk (or short local bus trip) along Jaffa Road to the centre of West Jerusalem and further on to the Old City. Inter-city buses arrive and depart inside the station building. City buses outside of it, both in front of the building and on Sederot Shazar. When exiting the CBS, turn left to walk towards the city, or turn right to find the city buses. (Finding your way when you leave the CBS for the first time can be a confusing experience, since there are almost no city maps around. There is a city map on the large square opposite the CBS, on the right side, towards Sederot Shazar.). Note that busses do not run on Shabat - from half hour before sunset on Friday till after sunset Saturday. Hours vary by the time of year - In December (winter solstice) Shabat start as early as 3.55PM and end at 5.15, while in June (summer solstice) Shabat start as late as 7.10 and end on 8.30.

By shared taxi

Public buses do not run during Shabbat (between sunset on Friday and sunset on Saturday, roughly speaking), during which your only option is a sherut (shared taxi). These depart from Tel Aviv's Central Bus Station and Ben Gurion Airport, and charge a small surcharge on top of the normal bus fare. As of mid-2006 a sherut costs 20 NIS (25 NIS at night) and drops you off downtown, not far from Zion Square. A sherut from the airport to anywhere in the city costs about 50 NIS. The company offering the sherut service is called "Nesher".

Shared taxis are also the best option if travelling from Jerusalem to Palestinian cities, especially Ramallah and Bethlehem. The main bus station (On Sultan Suleiman street, next to the Rockfeler Museum) serves the surrounding Palestinian towns and villages, including Abu-Dis (Line 36), and Bethlehem (Line 124), those buses are colored mostly in blue strips . Another bus terminal, on Nablus road (Straight on from the Damascus gate) serves Ramallah, other main Palestinian cities, and there is a shared taxi direct to the Allenby bridge (The border crossing with Jordan), costing 30 NIS and 3 NIS for luggage (sited in Al-Souq Al-Tijaree "The commercial souq" not far away from the main bus station). All Palestinian shared taxis are very cheap, 4.00 NIS for the surrounding villages, 5 NIS for Abu-Dis and 6.00 NIS for Ramallah.

There are no Israeli sherut lines within Jerusalem (unlike most Israeli cities). But there are sherut lines to Tel Aviv and Beit Shemesh as well as the airport.

The bus operator in the eastern Jerusalem is called Al-Safariat Al-Mowahadda "The united traveling service". Note that the taxi is called "Moneet" in Hebrew, and called taxi in the Palestinian side. Both differ from the shared taxi, which runs fixed routes for many people like a bus. Moneet or Taxi is a private taxi.

Get around

By taxi

Cabs are plentiful in the city of gold, but be warned as the drivers may try to rip you off by "taking the scenic route" or charging a fixed price instead of on the meter. Insist that the driver turns on the meter (Mon-eh) and you should have no problems.

By bus

The most effective public transportation option is currently in the form of buses. The Jerusalem City Tour [5] (Bus #99), intended for tourists, does a loop of pretty much the whole city and costs NIS 45 adults and NIS 36 children for a one-day pass.

The unofficial 2009 map of Jerusalem's bus routes in English may be found at [6] and there is also a free iPhone application of this map.

Below is a summarized overview of which bus to take to get from certain places to other places. Printing this list, and the map, will be very helpful.

  • Central Bus Station
    • Buses towards the city leaving directly in front of the CBS (going left / east)
      • 1 to Kotel HaMa'aravi: CBS - Sarei Yisrael - Malchei Yisrael (Geulah) - Meah Shearim - Shaar Shechem (Damascus Gate) - Kotel HaMa'aravi (Western Wall)
    • Buses away from the city leaving directly in front of the CBS (going right / west)
      • 7 to Har Chotzvim: Kiryat Mattersdorf - Sorotzkin - Kiryat Tzanz - Ezrat Torah - Har Chotzvim
    • Buses towards the city leaving from Sederot Shazar (the main road across from the CBS; cross under the road through the tunnel) (going left / east)
      • 11 to Ramat Shlomo: CBS - Machaneh Yehudah - HaNevi'im (Bikur Cholim hospital) - Strauss (Geulah) - Yechezkel - Shmuel HaNavi - Golda Meir - Ramat Shlomo
      • 15 circle bus: CBS - Sarei Yisrael - Malchei Yisrael (Geulah) - Meah Shearim - Shaar Shechem (Damascus Gate) - Yaffo (municipality offices, central post office) - Kikar Tzion - Strauss (Bikur Cholim hospital) - Malchei Yisrael (Geulah) - Sarei Yisrael - CBS - Givat Shaul - Har Nof
      • 35 to Ramot: CBS - Machaneh Yehudah - HaNevi'im (Bikur Cholim hospital) - Strauss (Geulah) - Yechezkel - Shmuel HaNavi - Golda Meir - Ramot
  • Other Routes
    • 1: CBS - Sarei Yisrael - Malchei Yisrael (Geulah) - Meah Shearim - Shaar Shechem (Damascus Gate) - Kotel HaMa'aravi (Western Wall)
    • 2: Har Nof - Givat Shaul North - Hamag - Kiryat Mattersdorf - Sorotzkin - Kiryat Tzanz - Ezrat Torah - Golda Meir - Shmuel HaNavi - Shaar Shechem (Damascus Gate) - Kotel HaMa'aravi (Western Wall)
    • 7: Kiryat Mattersdorf - Sorotzkin - Kiryat Tzanz - Ezrat Torah - Har Chotzvim
    • 11: Har Nof - Givat Shaul North - CBS (Shazar) - Machaneh Yehudah - HaNevi'im (Bikur Cholim hospital) - Strauss (Geulah) - Yechezkel - Shmuel HaNavi - Golda Meir - Har Chotzvim - Ramat Shlomo
    • 15 circle bus: Har Nof - Givat Shaul North - CBS (Shazar) - Sarei Yisrael - Malchei Yisrael (Geulah) - Meah Shearim - Shaar Shechem (Damascus Gate) - Yaffo (municipality offices, central post office) - Kikar Tzion - Strauss (Bikur Cholim hospital) - Malchei Yisrael (Geulah) - Sarei Yisrael - CBS (Shazar) - Givat Shaul North - Har Nof
    • 16: Bayit VeGan - Yefeh Nof - Kiryat Moshe - Givat Shaul North - Hamag - Kiryat Mattersdorf - Sorotzkin - Kiryat Tzanz - Hannah - Bar Ilan - Sanhedria - Golda Meir - Har Chotzvim - Ramot
    • 18: CBS-Yaffo-David HaMelech-Derech Beit Lechem-Emek Refaim-Yochanan Ben Zakkai-Yossi Ben Yoezer-Kanei HaGalil-Yehudah HaNasi-Yaakov Pat-Kenyon Malcha
    • 21: replaces the 14 into Talpiot
    • 29: Har HaMenuchot - Givat Shaul Commercial Area - Givat Shaul North - CBS (Shazar)
    • 35: Har Nof - Givat Shaul South - CBS (Shazar) - Machaneh Yehudah - HaNevi'im (Bikur Cholim hospital) - Strauss (Geulah) - Yechezkel - Shmuel HaNavi - Golda Meir - Ramot
    • 38: Jewish Quarter Parking lot - Yafo Street - Davidka Square - Yafo Street - Jewish Quarter Parking lot.

Note Buses in Jerusalem (Egged) do not run on Shabbat (30 minutes before sunset on Friday until at least 30 minutes after sunset on Saturday), nor on other religious holidays. That doesn't apply for Al-Safariiat Al-Moahaddih. This list is incomplete

By light rail

A light rail line is currently under construction and will be operational in 2010. It will link the north-eastern neighborhoods to the south-western neighborhoods through the city center. Additional lines are planned to be constructed later. The streets on which the construction works are going on may be hard to travel, especially by car - in particular, Yaffo street.

By foot

Much of Jerusalem is walkable (check before going) and is pleasant to walk. The Old City has to be toured by foot, not only because it is more impressive this way, but also because many of the lanes and alleyways are inaccessable to cars.


Jerusalem has an amazing array of attractions for the traveller to see. The following are some of the must-sees. For more attractions see individual district articles.

  • The Israel Museum [7] is the largest museum in Israel. The Museum contains the "shrine of the book" where the dead sea scrolls are kept. It also has a large scale model of Jerusalem in ancient times. Normally it has a large archeology and art section but because of major renovations these sections are closed until 2010. Entrance fee is 45 NIS.
  • Yad Vashem [8] is Israel's Holocaust museum. There is no fee to enter but tours can cost about 30 NIS. Children under ten are not allowed to enter the museum proper but they go to other areas.
  • The garden tomb on Nablus Road, east jerusalem marks the traditional spot where Jesus was killed. The tomb is located in a big garden which is luch and a good breakaway from the hussle and bussle of East Jerusalem. Must do.
  • The Biblical Zoo is one of Israel's most popular tourist sites, in West Jerusalem
  • Visit the Belzer Rebbe's tish on Friday night in(men only!) Charedi Jerusalem
  • Old City — the atmospheric historical core of Jerusalem surrounded by Ottoman period walls, filled with sites of massive religious signficance and a bustling approach to life.
  • The most important Jewish Holy Place is the Temple Mount (Har Habayit) and the Western Wall (Hakotel Hamaaravi) in the Old City, which is part of the outer retaining wall of the Temple, built 2000 years ago.
  • Church of the Holy Sepulcher is the end of the Via Dolorosa (Way of the sorrows) in the christian quarter. It is the most holy christian spot in the world. It is very old as it was built by the crusaders in 1099. The Old City. It is Jerusalem's number 1 site.
  • The Temple Mount in the Muslim quarter of the old city is the third most important site in Islam, and a showcase for Islamic architecture and design from Umayyad to Ottoman times that continues as an important religious and educational centre for Muslims to the present. It is crowned by the magnificent Dome of the rock. Encompassing over 35 acres of fountains, gardens, buildings and domes, the temple mount houses the following Islamic landmarks:
  • Al-Aqsa Mosque (The Far Mosque) is the point from where the prophet of Islam, Mohammad, is believed to have ascended to heaven.
  • Qubbat Al-Sakhra (Dome of the Rock) located in the middle of the sanctuary opposite of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, is probably the most known landmark of Jerusalem with its golden dome and octagonal blue walls that are adorned with Arabic calligraphy of Koranic verses. It is currently closed to non-muslims. It is also labelled the most amazing Islamic building in the world
  • The Jewish quarter, ''''the new quarter in the old city was completly re-built in 1969 after the war. It still holds many ancient masterpeices such as the Cardo 700 bc, Burnt House 70 ad, Western wailing wall 50 bc. All of which are among the most holy jewish sites in the world. Definately worth a visit, especially the western wall.'


Explore the Jerusalem Hills by jeep in an off-the-beaten track 4x4 jeep tour across the scenic countryside to the lesser visited ancient sites and monasteries of Jerusalem [9] far away from the tourist traps and bus tour routes.

Although most hotels will provide tours; I think a combination of United Tours and Mozada tours is well worth your while. You can find them in a net search and they are both extremely reliable. Also, bus # 99 provides an orientation to the whole city. I would suggest you take it the first day just to give you perspective of the city. It cost 40 Shekels and starts at the Egged Central Bus Station. You can get on and off all day and is run and looks like the double-decker tour buses in London.

The Western Wailing Wall/underground is a tour that is well worth your time. The female guide there was well versed in the history of the wall and the explanation of the first two temples and the subsequent construction of the Dome of the Rock will create a great picture of the conflict between relevant cultures. A reservation should be made through your hotel. But individual walk-ins can sometimes be squeezed in.


Jerusalem offers a wide range of educational programmes, which include:

  • The Rothberg International School [10] — part of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • Yad Vashem [11] runs a number of educational courses treating the subject of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
  • Al Quds Univeristy [12] offers many different programs to foreign students, as well as special summer courses to improve your Arabic skills.
  • All Nations Cafe [13] organizes summer caravans where internationals can learn about the social, political and cultural aspects of life in and around Jerusalem.
  • AISH Hatorah [14] Offers walk-in interactive discussions and lectures that cover topics such as: Being Jewish in today's world, defining the major tenents in Jewish thought from a rational perspective, and exploring major themes and practices in Jewish spirituality.
  • Yeshiva Machon Meir [15] Address: 2 Hameiri Ave., Kiryat Moshe, Jerusalem 91340, Israel: Shiurim in weekly tora portion (parasha), religious rules (halacha), jewish ethics (mussar). Jewish outreach. Instruction languages: hebrew, english, russian


Jerusalem is big on t-shirts of all shapes, colors and designs, often with good evidence of Jewish humour being present! If shopping in the Old City's markets, where almost anything can be found, be prepared to haggle.

Judaica is also a popular choice of purchase. The Old City's Jewish Quarter is particularly good for this, as is Mea Shearim, however, dress modestly.


Jerusalem, being the multicultural city that it is, has food from all countries, cultures, and tastes. Besides the ubiquitous falafel stands, there is European, Ethiopian, Medditeranean, and Middle Eastern foods. There is also a large ranges in prices from the ritzy and exotic Emek Refaim to falafel stands centered around Machaneh Yehuda and the Central Bus Station. A good rule of thumb is to look for restaurants filled with Hebrew or Arabic speaking locals.

If you keep kosher Jerusalem will be a wonderful place to visit. In the Jewish sections of the city almost everything is kosher. However you should still check for the paper on the wall. The Jerusalem rabbinute issues Kashrut certificates that are good for 3 months at a time, and color coded. If you don't see it displayed do not hesitate to ask the staff. If they don't show you one its a good sign to move along. The certificate should be stamped "Basari" (meat) or "halavi" (Dairy) in Hebrew. The current certificates are cream colored with red print for dairy and pinkish-red for meat restaurants. These will be good until Sept 22 (Rosh Hashana) after that the rabbinute will put up new certifications. Note it is not unusual for it to take a few days to get the new certificate up. It is usually the policy of the Jerusalem rabbinute to not certify a chain store as kosher unless all the branches in the city of Jerusalem are kosher. For this reason McDonalds and some branches of Aroma in Jerusalem are not certified kosher.

Jerusalem is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.

  • Burgers Bar. A small chain of stores, one can be found on Emek Refaim St. and another on Shamai St. (near Ben Yehudah St.) Kosher.
  • New Deli, Hillel St and Emek Refaim St. Kosher- 33 Hillel Street,
  • Meat Burger, Hillel St. Burger, fries, and drink NIS 35-45. Not Kosher.
  • Abu Shukri, This is regarded as one of, if not the, tastiest and most affordable in Jerusalem. It is located where the Via Dolorosa and Al Wad Road meet. It's renown for its hummus and falafel. Go early on Saturday. That's when lines of Israelis wait for tables on afternoons. Not Kosher
  • Hashipudia, 6 Ha-Shikma St. This restaurant exclusively prepares skewers of lamb, beef, hearts and livers, geese and chicken breast, and goose liver. Also, it bakes fresh Iraqi pita bread every afternoon. Not Kosher, it is Halal though.


"The Eucalyptus", The Artists Colony by the old city, biblical Israeli cuisine best known for its "shir hashirim (song of songs)" tasting menu. There is a view of the David citadel from the restaurant and the chefs are internationally acclaimed. Reservations recommended. Kosher.

  • Matameh Tziona, French Hill Town Center, Small family run restaurant. Hailed by university students as some of the best food in Jerusalem. Falafel, Shawarma, Schnitzel, and many other delicious dishes. open Sunday through Thursday, 10:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m. Kosher.
  • Shalom Felafel, 36 Bezalel Street, open Sunday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m.–8:30 p.m. Kosher.
  • Try me'orav yerushalmi (lit. "Jerusalem Mix"), a pita or laffa bread stuffed with a tasty mix of spices and grilled meats and chicken innards. One famous place is Steakiyat Hatzot, Agrippas St., near the Mahaneh Yehuda Market. Check out the photos on the wall.
  • Melech Shawarma, Agripas and King George. The best shawarma in Jerusalem by far. A real treat. And only 15 NIS for one of them. Best deal all around. Kosher.
  • HaSabikh, past the Ben Yehuda midrachov on the right. Home to the tastiest Sabikh in the city, in pita made fresh at the restaurant.
  • Falafel Hamelech (Falafel King) at the intersection of King George and Aggripas st, right in the center of downtown. Cheap and fair. A falafel in pita with a soda will be 14nis. Be sure, however, to try your Falafel with "amba", a mango-based condiment that you cannot get outside of the region easily! Kosher Rabbinute
  • Steakiat Tzeziahu Talpiot, israeli "Steakiat" place, which is to say meat on skewers. About 45-60NIS per person but very good. Also they will fill your table with various Israeli salads and fresh bread. Amazing value! Kosher Mehadrin l'Mehadrin
  • From Gaza to Berlin (55 Gaza St, ) at the corner of Gaza St and Berlin St, with a second branch downtown. A small and friendly place selling hummus and falafel, has excellent Kube of different types.
  • Versavee Just next to the Jaffa gate, next to the Imperial Hotel is a lovely bistro/cafe/bar. A pleasant atmosphere, good prices and the staff are friendly and all speak English. Try the local Palestinian beer called Taybeh - only NIS 15. One of the nicest and cleanest cafes in the Old City.
  • Marvad Haksammim, King George St and Emek Refaim St. With its large serving sizes this is one of the best places for Yemenite food in the city. Be sure to try the Kuba soup (red, sweet, and spicy with round meat dumplings), Saluf (think large, thick, and crispy burritos), Shakshuka (poached eggs in tomato sauce), and Malawakh (doughy sweet pancake). Entrees are NIS 15-40. Kosher.


Ethio-Israel experience, Turn left on Havatzelet St. when going on Yafo St. towards the Old City. Then turn right on Elyashar street and follow it to the left. In the little cul-de-sac is an incredible little restaurant. You won't be able to stop eating.

Jerusalem is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.

There is plenty of nightlife in Jerusalem. For clubs, the best way is to have a "proteksya", or connection with someone. This way of knowing someone who works at the door or a friend is the easiest and best way to have a great time in Jerusalem.

  • Artel Jazz Club, Heleni Hamalka 9 (Russian Compound), [16]. Every night live jazz concert at 22:00. Great food. Good selection of beverages. Free Wireless Internet.  edit
  • HAOMAN 17, Rachov Haoman #17, Talpiyot Industrial Area. Open Thursday and Friday nights. Opens around 12:00AM, closes well after sunrise.. HAOMAN is one of the top rated night clubs in the world. DJs from around the world entertain beautiful people into the morning hours with live house-techno music. The long line prefers well dressed, attractive people. Flashing a University ID helps you get through the crowd on a busy night. Go with friends, as the club in in an industrial area (not the safest place to be alone at night). Do not pick fights with regulars, as people have been assaulted in the past. The most fun Thursday night in Yerushalayim. Cover is 80-120 NIS.  edit
  • Old Friend Rock Bar, Jaffa 19, Safra Square, [17]. Straight-up rock bar, with a mixture of subculture clientele, students and expats. Guinness, Hoegaarden and Tuborg are available on tap. Different nights feature classic rock, metal, hardcore, alternative, ska, punk and rockabilly. Open daily. Happy hour every day expect Friday, 20:30-22:00, two-for-one drinks.  edit
  • Uganda, Aristobolus 4 (Russian compound), [18]. Coffee, beer, music and comic books.  edit
  • Rosa, Hadekel 2 (Mahane Yehuda Market). Small neighborhood pub at the outskirts of the Ben-Yehuda Market. Cheap alcohol, good music.  edit
  • Noc, Jaffa 31 in the alley (Feingold Courtyard).  edit
  • Stardust, Rivlin 6, [19]. The Stardust is one of Jerusalem's oldest pubs. The pub was established in '96, and is named after a David Bowie album. It's crowd is a mix made of students, tourists, artists and young people. The music is mainly Alternative, mostly from England, and the bar prices are extremely good. The Happy Hour starts at 16:30 and lasts for five hours. All major sports event, including English Premier League, Bundesliga, World Cup and Champions League are shown there on a big screen.  edit
  • Syndrome, Hillel 18 (by Aroma). Live rock music every day.  edit
  • Yankees Bar, Solomon 12 in the alley (Beit Hadfus Courtyard).  edit
  • Sira, Ben-Sira 4, [20]. Jerusalem hardcore pub. Live DJs every night.  edit
  • Daila, Shlomtzion 4, [21]. Multi-cultural space for independent art and social change.  edit
  • Prague, Rivlin 6, + (). 18:30 till the last customer. An east european bar restaurant offering some great etnic food together with big amount of draught beers and some exclusive attractions . 40-60.  edit
  • Birman (Musical Bistro), Dorot Rishonim ST (pedestrin mall, downtown Jerusalem), +972-50-2990059. daily 19:00-late night. Musical Bistro - Live music every night. For art, music & good food lovers. Open daily 19:00 till late hours Friday 13:00 – Sabbath Closed on SAT.  edit

Jerusalem is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.

The Old City has a diverse mix of small hotels, religious hospices and cheap hostels that might appeal to the traveller.

West Jerusalem has a blend of B&Bs, guesthouses, small hotels and large hotels - all the way up to 5-star accommodation, including the famous King David Hotel.

  • Izen Bar, Dereh Beit Lehem 7 (Old Train Station), (). IZEN Bar has for the past 3 years been the highest rated bar in Jerusalem. It's open Thursday, Friday & Saturday (sometimes also earier in the week). It appeals to the crowd with it's lovely enviroment.Outdoor area, a various numbers of DJ's playing popular high beating tunes into the early morning. Also known for it's happy atmosphere, entertainment of dancers, drummers, saxofonists +++ and different theme night's. A delicious assortment of dishes & snacks is served all night. It's recomendable to come early too avoid long lines.  edit
  • Jerusalem Gate Hotel, 43 Yirmiyahu St (Jerusalem 94467, Israel), +972-2-5008500, [22]. Hotel located at the entrance to Jerusalem with elegant lobby, bar, coffee shop and banquet halls. The cuisine is international with Glatt Kosher LeMehadrin Rabbinate Supervision; the hotel hosts wedding and Bar Mitzvah receptions and cocktails, as well as family parties, conferences and seminars from 10 to 550 guests.  edit
  • Petra Hotel and Hostel, 1 David Street, [23]. Just inside Jaffa Gate with magnificent views across the Old City to the Dome of the Rock. Roof: 15 NIS; Dorm: 23 NIS; Private Room: 180 NIS.  edit
  • Jerusalem Hostel, 44 Jaffa Rd, [24]. Clean hostel with a convenient central location on Zion Square. Dorm: 64 USD; Private Room: 207 USD.  edit
  • Hebron Hotel (formerly known as Tabasco Hostel), 8 Aqabat Teqreh Street. Roof: 12 NIS; Dorm: 35/40 NIS; Private Room: 80 NIS.   edit
  • Heritage House, for men: 2 Ohr Hachaim Street, for women: 7 HaMalach Street, Office: (), [25]. The Heritage House Jewish Youth Hostel is inside the Jewish Quarter. It is made especially for religious Jews. Learning opportunities and Shabbat hospitality are also available to non-guests.  edit
  • Ramsis Hostel, 20 Hanevim Street (near damascus gate), +972 -02-6271651-. checkin: 12.00pm; checkout: 10.00am. Very friendly and the location is outstanding, right on the very frontline between east and west, with the bars in West Jerusalem only a 5 minute walk away. Wireless internet included in price. The manager's name is Mike and he can speak English, Hebrew and Romanian. dormbed=$10 private =$15 free tea or coffee.  edit
  • Jerusalem Panorama Hotel, P. O. Box 19768, Jerusalem 97400, +972 2 6284887, [26]. The Jerusalem Panorama Hotel is situated on the Hill of Gethsemane overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem and within walking distance from the Old City Walls.  edit
  • Harmony Hotel Jerusalem, 6 Yoel Moshe Salomon Street (Nahalat Sheva), [27]. This Jerusalem Hotel is in the heart of Jerusalem in the main tourists area Single: 120$; Double: 140$.  edit
  • Jerusalem Inn, 7 Horkanos St., [28]. One of the best value B&B in Jerusalem. Located at city center just steps from all the major sites and night life of the city. Israeli buffet breakfast and free Wi Fi included. Price includes a complete buffet breakfast, all rooms have a private bath and toilet, a balcony, TV, airconditioning, mini-bar and a safe. [29]  edit
  • Montefiore Hotel, 7 Shatz Street., [30]. One of the The best value hotels in Jerusalem. Located at city center with easy access to all the major sites and night life locations. Special chef restaurant. Free Wi Fi included, highly equipped rooms.  edit
  • Park Hotel, 2 Vilnay Street., [31]. Under the shade of the new Calatrava Railway Bridge, Park Hotel stands adjacent to modern Jerusalem's International Convention Center and is only a short walk from the Israel Museum, the Hebrew University's Givat Ram campus, the Knesset (home of Israel's Parliament) and the Government’s most important buildings.  edit
  • Tower hotel Jerusalem, 23 Hillel st., [32].  edit
  • Colony Suites, Hananya St. (German Colony). Stylish, self-contained, serviced vacation apartments for short term accommodation. Each apartment is renovated and equipped with all the amenities for a comfortable stay. The perfect location, around the corner from the supermarket, close to all major hotels and walking distance to synagogues and the old city. url="" 50USD - 180USD.  edit

St. Andrew's Scottish Guest House[33]PO Box 8619 1 David Remez Street Jerusalem 91086 Israel email: Tel: Fax: . Single: 90 USD. No curfew. Overlooks the Hinnom Valley and located between the picturesque Mishkenot Shaananim/Yemin Moshe district and the bustling Emek Refaim. Easy ten/fifteen minute walk to the downtown area as well as to the Old City. The Guest House is situated closest to Zion Gate.

  • Capitol Hotel, Salah Eddin Street, P. O. Box 19459, Jerusalem, [34]. The Capitol Hotel welcomes you to an ideal base for travelers. Centrally located two minutes walk from the Old City Walls. It is also at a walking distance from the major historical and biblical sites of the Holy City. Capitol is a deluxe hotel that offers 54 guest rooms. Rates start at USD $99.  edit
  • The King David Hotel, 23 King David St., (), [35]. King David Hotel Jerusalem is an Israel landmark and one of the most famous and luxurious hotels in Jerusalem, The flagship of the Dan Hotels. Marvel at the fabled skyline of the Old City. overlooks the famous Old City, and is within walking distance of major historic sites and the capital’s newest commercial centers. a Jerusalem landmark and Israel's most famous and luxurious hotel. The perennial host to world leaders and celebrities and flagship of the Dan Hotels.  edit
  • The Dan Panorama Jerusalem Hotel, 39 Keren Hayesod St., (), [36]. Located in the center of Jerusalem within comfortable walking distance of all the major sites in both the Old and New Cities. Somewhat old and faded with dated rooms, and a dingy lobby. Filled with tour groups of your aunt Sadie and her friends. Very nice service. Mediocre food.  edit
  • The Dan Boutique Jerusalem Hotel, 31 Hevron Rd., (), [37]. The Dan Boutique Jerusalem Hotel is a hotel with a contemporary interior design combining motifs from both East and West. Located opposite Mount Zion and the Old City Walls, in proximity to many tourist attractions and near Jerusalem's old Turkish railway station complex, which is being transformed into a world center for animation and the entertainment hub of Jerusalem.  edit
  • Novotel Jerusalem, 9 Saint George St., [38]. Not one of Novotel's finest hotels, located a very short walk from the Wailing Wall. Some refurbishment is needed. Starting at $115/night with breakfast.  edit
  • The David Citadel Hotel, 7 King David St., (), [39]. Brand new, very luxurious and modern. Close to the brand new luxury shopping mall and very close to the Jaffa Gate  edit
  • Crowne Plaza Jerusalem, Haaliya Hashniya 1.  edit</sleep>
  • Grand Court Jerusalem, 15 Saint George St, [40].  edit
  • Mamilla Jerusalem Hotel, 11 King Solomon St., 02-5482222 (fax: 02-5482220), [41]. A 5-star luxury hotel located in the City Center near the Old City few minutes walk from Jaffa Gate, Tower of David and Alrov Mamilla Avenue  edit
  • Grand Court Jerusalem Hotel, 15 Saint Georges St (Jerusalem), 972-2-591-7777, [42]. Grand Court is a new hotel features 442 luxurious rooms including family rooms and specially designed rooms for handicapped guests.  edit

On Eastern side:

  • American Colony Hotel, Nablus Road (''located about 10 minutes' walk from the Old City of Jerusalem and near to the commercial and shopping areas of West and East Jerusalem''), (), [43].  edit



The area code prefix for Jerusalem is: 02. Israel's country code is: 972.

Public telephones take prepaid phone cards which can be purchased at post offices, shops and lottery kiosks. They are available in the following denominations: 20 units (13 NIS), 50 units (29 NIS), or 120 units (60 NIS). Calls made on Saturdays and Friday evenings are 25% cheaper than the standard rate.

For international calls prepaid cards can be bought from post offices, including the new VOIP calling card "x-phone".


Israeli Post offices are available for service from 8 AM–12 PM and 2 PM–6 PM, Sunday through Thursday.

  • The central post office for West Jerusalem is located near the head of Jaffa Road, close to the municipality ofices. Open until 7 PM.
  • In the Old City, post offices can be found in the Armenian Quarter near the Jaffa Gate, diagonally opposite the Tower of David Museum, as well as the Jewish Quarter on Plugat Ha-Kotel near the Broad Wall.
  • A post office is in a small shopping mall on King George Street, immediately south of Jaffo street.

Israel uses the red British "pillar" mail boxes in some areas of Jerusalem, a reminder of the previous British Mandate.

Internet cafes

The most common price for internet cafes in Jerusalem is 15 NIS per hour.

  • Cafe Net, 3rd floor (Departures) of the new Central Bus station (232 Jaffa Road), (), [44].  edit
  • Netcafe, 9 Heleni Hamalka Street, Russian Compound. Call for opening times, as these vary. Closed Shabbat.  edit
  • Ali Baba, Via Dolorosa, Old City. Free tea and coffee 6 nis/h.  edit

Wireless Internet

There is now a wireless internet connection in some of the streets in Jerusalem. The service is free of charge and can be accessed in the center of the city (Nov. 2004). The streets are: Ben-Yehuda, Nahalat Shiva, Shlomzion Hamalka. There is also wireless internet in the food court of the central bus station and in most chain coffee shops. Free access is also available at the airport.

Explosive Souvenirs?

Due to high security levels throughout Israel, any unattended packages will be assumed to be explosive in nature and will be destroyed. Standard procedure requires that a bomb squad treat all such packages as live ordnance. A large majority of unattended packages turn out to be souvenirs that have been left by preoccupied or absent minded tourists.

Despite alarming news headlines, Jerusalem is safe for tourists. Street crime is nearly nonexistent, although pickpockets may work in crowds in the Old City, particularly in areas near the Western Wall.

There are, however, a few areas in the city where it is important to be mindful of one's dress, religion, and time period visiting. Here are some guidelines:

  • Dress. When visiting any holy site or religious neighborhood one should dress modestly. For men this means long pants, a closed shirt with sleeves, and a head covering. For women, it means a skirt that falls below the knee, a shirt with elbow-length sleeves and no exposed cleavage or stomach. This applies to churches, mosques, and synagogues, as well as the Temple Mount (Noble Sanctuary) and Western Wall (the plaza by the Wall is essentially an open-air synagogue, and there are mosques on the Temple Mount). When in religious neighborhoods as well, such as Mea Shearim, it is advisable to follow these guidelines.
  • Religion. Although all of Jerusalem is accessible to members of all religions, it is not always safe for those obviously of the Islamic faith (e.g. wearing a hijab or kufi) to enter Jewish concerntrated areas, especially on Sabbath, as well as those obviously of a Jewish faith (e.g. wearing a kipah) to enter Muslim concentrated areas, especially at night.
  • Time Non-Muslims are not allowed on the Temple Mount (Noble Sanctuary) during times of Muslim prayer. During Shabbat and Jewish holidays, one should not publicly use electronic devices or smoke in any synagogue, at the Western Wall, or in any ultra-Orthodox ("hareidi") Jewish neighborhood.

Security checks can be frequent, especially when entering hotels, cinemas/theaters and shopping areas. It is wise to carry some identification.

On the whole, theft is not a large-scale problem. To minimize risk, however, do not leave valuable objects inside a car or in full view in your hotel room. There are many ATMs throughout the city and credit cards are widely accepted, so there is no need to carry large amounts of cash.

Visitors may notice a large amount of military personnel on the streets of Jerusalem, especially around certain sites. Every citizen must perform military service in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) as soon as they reach the age of 18. Many servicemen and civilians carry firearms (military rifles and handguns) in public. It was, in fact, an off-duty soldier who stopped the driver of the tractor in the incident in July, 2008. There are always large concentrations of soldiers around bus stations, as they are usually on their way to or from their bases.

As of 2007, bombings and other terror attacks have virtually ceased in Jerusalem. Israeli strikes and Palestinian attacks are not major worries. Tourists have never been the target of attacks and most have occurred well away from tourist sites. Naturally it is important to remain vigilant and alert, as outlying cities have experienced uprisings and bombings (Hebron, Ramallah, and most recently, Tel Aviv in February of 2004).

In the case of injury or incident, Police services can be reached by dialing 100. Ambulance services can be reached by dialing 101.

Crowne Plaza Jerusalem, Haaliya Hashniya 1, [45].  edit Tower hotel Jerusalem, 23 Hillel st., [46].  edit

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

Tower hotel Jerusalem, 23 Hillel st., [47]. A traveller arriving in Jerusalem will deal with Israeli customs and military officials. Both halves of Jerusalem are under control of Israel. When we have multiple breadcrumb menus, this will show up as two lists. Until then, we have the "main" one for Israel.  edit

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

This is a disambiguation page, which lists works which share the same title. If an article link referred you here, please consider editing it to point directly to the intended page.

Jerusalem may refer to:

  • Jerusalem, subtitled "The Emanation of The Giant Albion", a poem by William Blake
  • Jerusalem (Blake), an anthem and hymn
  • Jerusalem, a literary guidebook by Laurence Hutton

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

JERUSALEM (Heb. a120 -1, Yerushala'im, pronounced as a dual), the chief city of Palestine. Letters found at Tell elAmarna in Egypt, written by an early ruler of Jerusalem, show that the name existed under the form Urusalim, i.e. " City of Salim" or "City of Peace," many years before the Israelites under Joshua entered Canaan. The emperor Hadrian, when he rebuilt the city, changed the name to Aelia Capitolina. The Arabs usually designate Jerusalem by names expressive of holiness, such as Beit el Makdis and El Mukaddis or briefly El Kuds, i.e. the Sanctuary.

Natural Topography

Jerusalem is situated in 31 ° 47' N. and 35 ° 15' E., in the hill country of southern Palestine, close to the watershed, at an average altitude of 2500 ft. above the Mediterranean, and 3800 ft. above the level of the Dead Sea. The city stands on a rocky plateau, which projects southwards from the main line of hills. On the east the valley of the Kidron separates this plateau from the ridge of the Mount of Olives, which is 100 to 200 ft. higher, while the Wadi Er Rababi bounds Jerusalem on the west and south, meeting the Valley of Kidron near the lower pool of Siloam. Both valleys fall rapidly as they approach the point of junction, which lies at a depth of more than 600 ft. below the general valley of the plateau. The latter, which covers an area of about moo acres, has at the present time a fairly uniform surface and slopes gradually from the north to the south and east. Originally, however, its formation was very different, as it was intersected by a deep valley, called Tyropoeon by Josephus, which, starting from a point N.W. of the Damascus gate, followed a course first south-east and then west of south, and joined the two main valleys of Kidron and Er Rababi at Siloam. Another shorter valley began near the present Jaffa gate and, taking an easterly direction, joined the Tyropoeon; while a third ravine passed across what is now the northern part of the Haram enclosure and fell into the valley of the Kidron. The exact form of these three interior valleys, which had an important influence on the construction and history of the city, is still imperfectly known, as they are to a great extent obliterated by vast accumulations of rubbish, which has filled them up in some places to a depth of more than 100 ft. Their approximate form was only arrived at by excavations made during the later years of the 19th century. The limited knowledge which we possess of the original features of the ground within the area of the city makes a reconstruction of the topographical history of the latter a difficult task; and, as a natural result, many irreconcilable theories have been suggested. The difficulty is increased by the fact that the geographical descriptions given in the Old Testament, the Apocrypha and the writings of Josephus are very short, and, having been written for those who were acquainted with the places, convey insufficient information to historians of the present day, when the sites are so greatly altered. All that can be done is to form a continuous account in accord with the ancient histories, and with the original formation of the ground, so far as this has been identified by modern exploration. But the progress of exploration and excavation may render this subject to further modification.

The geological formation of the plateau consists of thin beds of hard silicious chalk, locally called misse, which overlie a thick bed of soft white limestone, known by the name of meleke. Both descriptions of rock yielded good material for building; while in the soft meleke tanks, underground chambers, tombs, &c., were easily excavated. In ancient times a brook flowed down the valley of the Kidron, and it is possible that a stream flowed also through the Tyropoeon valley. The only known spring existing at present within the limits of the city is the "fountain of the Virgin," on the western side of the Kidron valley, but there may have been others which are now concealed by the accumulations of rubbish. Cisterns were also used for the storage of rain water, and aqueducts, of which the remains still exist (see Aqueducts ad inst.), were constructed for the conveyance of water from a distance. Speaking generally, it is probable that the water supply of Jerusalem in ancient times was better than it is at present.


The early history of Jerusalem is very obscure. The Tell el-Amarna letters show that, long before the invasion by Joshua, it was occupied by the Egyptians, and was probably a stronghold of considerable importance, as it formed a good strategical position in the hill country of southern Palestine. We do not know how the Egyptians were forced to abandon Jerusalem; but, at the time of the Israelite conquest, it was undoubtedly in the hands of the Jebusites, the native inhabitants of the country. The exact position of the Jebusite city is unknown; some authorities locate it on the western hill, now known as Zion; some on the eastern hill, afterwards occupied by the Temple and the city of David; while others consider it was a double settlement, one part being on the western, and the, other on the eastern hill, separated from one another by the Tyropoeon valley. The latter view appears to be the most probable, as, according to the Biblical accounts, Jerusalem was partly in Judah and partly in Benjamin, the line of demarcation between the two tribes passing through the city. According to his theory, the part of Jerusalem known as Jebus was situated on the western hill, and the outlying fort of Zion on the eastern hill. The men of Judah and Benjamin did not succeed in getting full possession of the place, and the Jebusites still held it when David became king of Israel. Some years after his accession David succeeded after some difficulty in taking Jerusalem. He established his royal city on the eastern hill close to the site of the Jebusite Zion, while Jebus, the town on the western side of the Tyropoeon valley, became the civil city, of which Joab, David's leading general, was appointed governor. David surrounded the royal city with a wall and built a citadel, probably on the site of the Jebusite fort of Zion, while Joab fortified the western town. North of the city of David, the king, acting under divine guidance, chose a site for the Temple of Jehovah, which was erected with great magnificence by Solomon. The actual site occupied by this building has given rise to much controversy, though all authorities are agreed that it must have stood on some part of the area now known as the Haram. James Fergusson was of opinion that the Temple stood near the south-western corner. As, however, it was proved by the explorations of Sir Charles Warren in1869-1870that the Tyropoeon valley passed under this corner, and that the foundations must have been of enormous depth, Fergusson's theory must be regarded as untenable (see also Sepulchre, Holy). On the whole it is most likely that the Temple was erected by Solomon on the same spot as is now occupied by the Dome of the Rock, commonly known as the Mosque of Omar, and, regard being had to the levels of the ground, it is possible that the Holy of Holies, the most sacred chamber of the Temple, stood over the rock which is still regarded with veneration by the Mahommedans. Solomon greatly strengthened the fortifications of Jerusalem, and was probably the builder of the line of defence, called by Josephus the first or old wall, which united the cities on the eastern and western hills. The kingdom reached its highest point of importance during the reign of Solomon, but, shortly after his death, it was broken up by the rebellion of Jeroboam, who founded the separate kingdom of Israel with its capital at Shechem. Two tribes only, Judah and Benjamin, with the descendants of Levi, remained faithful to Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. Jerusalem thus lost much of its importance, especially after it was forced to surrender to Shishak, king of Egypt, who carried off a great part of the riches which had been accumulated by Solomon. The history of Jerusalem during the succeeding three centuries consists for the most part of a succession of wars against the kingdom of Israel, the Moabites and the Syrians. Joash, king of Israel, captured the city from Amaziah, king of Judah, and destroyed part of the fortifications, but these were rebuilt by Uzziah, the son of Amaziah, who did much to restore the city to its original prosperity. In the reign of Hezekiah, the kingdom of Judah became tributary to the Assyrians, who attempted the capture of Jerusalem. Hezekiah improved the defences and arranged for a good water supply, preparatory to the siege by Sennacherib, the Assyrian general. The siege failed and the Assyrians retired. Some years later Syria was again invaded by the Egyptians, who reduced Judah to the position of a tributary state. In the reign of Zedekiah, the last of the line of kings, Jerusalem was captured by Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, who pillaged the city, destroyed the Temple, and ruined the fortifications (see Jews, § 17). A number of the principal inhabitants were carried captive to Babylon, and Jerusalem was reduced to the position of an insignificant town. Nebuchadrezzar placed in the city a garrison which appears to have been quartered on the western hill, while the eastern hill on which were the Temple and the city of David was left more or less desolate. We have no information regarding Jerusalem during the period of the captivity, but fortunately Nehemiah, who was permitted to return and rebuild the defences about 445 B.C., has given a fairly clear description of the line of the wall which enables us to obtain a good idea of the extent of the city at this period. The Temple had already been partially rebuilt by Zedekiah and his companions, but on a scale far inferior to the magnificent building of King Solomon, and Nehemiah devoted his attention to the reconstruction of the walls. Before beginning the work, he made a preliminary reconnaissance of the fortifications on the south of the town from the Valley Gate, which was near the S.E. corner, to the pool of Siloam and valley of the Kidron. He then allotted the reconstruction of wall and gates to different parties of workmen, and his narrative describes the portion of wall upon which each of these was employed.' It is clear from his account that the lines of fortifications included both the eastern and western hills. North of the Temple enclosure there was a gate, known as the Sheep Gate, which must have opened into the third valley mentioned above, and stood somewhere near what is now the north side of the Haram enclosure, but considerably south of the present north wall of the latter. To the west of the Sheep Gate there were two important towers in the wall, called respectively Meah and Hananeel. The tower Hananeel is specially worthy of notice as it stood N.W. of the Temple and probably formed the basis of the citadel built by Simon Maccabaeus, which again was succeeded by the fortress of Antonia, constructed by Herod the Great, and one of the most important positions at the time of the siege by Titus. At or near the tower Hananeel the wall turned south along the east side of the Tyropoeon valley, and then again westward, crossing the valley at a point probably near the remarkable construction known as Wilson's arch. A gate in the valley, known as the Fish Gate, opened on a road which, leading from the north, went down the Tyropoeon valley to the southern part of the city. Westward of this gate the wall followed the south side of the valley which joined the Tyropoeon from the west as far as the north-western corner of the city at the site of the present Jaffa Gate and the socalled tower of David. In this part of the wall there were apparently two gates facing north, i.e. the Old Gate and the Gate of Ephraim, 400 cubits from the corner.' At the corner stood the residence of the Babylonian governor, near the site upon which King Herod afterwards built his magnificent palace. From the corner at the governor's house, the wall went in a southerly direction and turned south-east to the Valley Gate, remains of which were discovered by F. J. Bliss and fully described in his Excavations in Jerusalem in 1894-1897. From the Valley Gate the wall took an easterly course for a distance of woo cubits to the Dung Gate, near which on the east was the Fountain Gate, not far from the lower pool of Siloam. Here was the most southerly point of Jerusalem, and the wall turning hence to the north followed the west side of the valley of the Kidron, enclosing the city of David and the Temple enclosure, and finally turning west at some point near the site of the Golden Gate joined the wall, already described, at the Sheep Gate. Nehemiah mentions a number of places on the eastern hill, including the tomb of David, the positions of which cannot with our present knowledge be fixed with any certainty.

After the restoration of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, a considerable number of Jews returned to the city, but we know practically nothing of its history for more than a century until, in 332 B.C., Alexander the Great conquered Syria. The gates of Jerusalem were opened to him and he left the Jews in peaceful occupation. But his successors did not act with similar leniency; when the city was captured by Ptolemy I., king of Egypt, twelve years later, the fortifications were partially demolished and apparently not again restored until the period of the high priest Simon II., who repaired the defences and also the Temple buildings. In 168 B.C. Antiochus Epiphanes captured Jerusalem, destroyed the walls, and devastated the Temple, reducing the city to a worse position than it had occupied since the time of the captivity. He built a citadel called the Acra to dominate the town and placed in it a strong garrison of Greeks. The position of the Acra is doubtful, but it appears most probable that it stood on the eastern hill between the Temple and the city of David, both of which it commanded. Some writers place it north of the Temple on the site afterwards occupied by the fortress of Antonia, but such a position is not in accord with the descriptions either in Josephus or in the books of the Maccabees, which are quite consistent with each other. Other writers again have placed the Acra on the eastern side of the hill upon which the church of the Holy Sepulchre now stands, but as this point was probably quite outside the city at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and is at too great a distance from the Temple, it can hardly be accepted. But the site which has been already indicated at the N.E. corner of the present Mosque el Aksa meets the accounts of the ancient authorities better than any other. At this point in the Haram enclosure there is an enormous underground cistern, known as the Great Sea, and this may possibly have been the source of water supply for the Greek garrison. The oppression of Antiochus led to a revolt of the Jews under the leadership of the Maccabees, and Judas Maccabaeus succeeded in capturing Jerusalem after severe fighting, but could not get The sites shown on the plan are tentative, and cannot be regarded as certain; see Nehemiah ii. 12-15, iii. 1-32, xii. 37-39.

2 See 2 Kings xiv. 13.

possession of the Acra, which caused much trouble to the Jews, who erected a wall between it and the Temple, and another wall to cut it off from the city. The Greeks held out for a considerable time, but had finally to surrender, probably from want of food, to Simon Maccabaeus, who demolished the Acra and cut down the hill upon which it stood so that it might no longer be higher than the Temple, and that there should be no separation between the latter and the city. Simon then constructed a new citadel, north of the Temple, to take the place of the Acra, and established in Judaea the Asmonean dynasty, which lasted for nearly a century, when the Roman republic began to make its influence felt in Syria. In 65 B.C. Jerusalem was captured by Pompey after a difficult siege. The Asmonean dynasty lasted a few years longer, but finally came to an end when Herod the Great, with the aid of the Romans, took possession of Jerusalem and became the first king of the Idumaean dynasty. Herod again raised the city to the position of an important capital, restoring the fortifications, and rebuilding the Temple from its foundations. He also built the great fortress of Antonia, N.W. of the Temple, on the site of the citadel of the Asmoneans, and constructed a magnificent palace for himself on the western hill, defended by three great towers, which he named Mariamne, Hippicus and Phasaelus. At some period between the time of the Maccabees and of Herod, a second or outer wall had been built outside and north of the first wall, but it is not possible to fix an accurate date to this line of defence, as the references to it in Josephus are obscure. Herod adorned the town with other buildings and constructed a theatre and gymnasium. He doubled the area of the enclosure round the Temple, and there can be little doubt that a great part of the walls of the Haram area date from the time of Herod, while probably the tower of David, which still exists near the Jaffa Gate, is on the same foundation as one of the towers adjoining his palace. Archelaus, Herod's successor, had far less authority than Herod, and the real power of government at Jerusalem was assumed by the Roman procurators, in the time of one of whom, Pontius Pilate, Jesus Christ was condemned to death and crucified outside Jerusalem. The places of his execution and burial are not certainly known (see Sepulchre, Holy).

Herod Agrippa, who succeeded to the kingdom, built a third or outer wall on the north side of Jerusalem in order to enclose and defend the buildings which had gradually been constructed outside the old fortifications. The exact line of this third wall is not known with certainty, but it probably followed approximately the same line as the existing north wall of Jerusalem. Some writers have considered that it extended a considerable distance farther to the north, but of this there is no proof, and no remains have as yet been found which would support the opinion. The wall of Herod Agrippa was planned on a grand scale, but its execution was stopped by the Romans, so that it was not completed at the time of the siege of Jerusalem by Titus. The writings of Josephus give a good idea of the fortifications and buildings of Jerusalem at the time of the siege, and his accurate personal knowledge makes his account worthy of the most careful perusal. He explains clearly how Titus, beginning his attack from the north, captured the third or outer wall, then the second wall,'` and finally the fortress of Antonia, the Temple, and the upper city. After the capture, Titus ordered the Temple to be demolished and the fortifications to be levelled, with the exception of the three great towers at Herod's palace. It is, however, uncertain how far the order was carried out, and it is probable that the outer walls of the Temple enclosure were left partially standing and that the defences on the west and south of the city were not completely levelled. When Titus and his army withdrew from Jerusalem, the 10th legion was left as a permanent Roman garrison, and a fortified camp for their occupation was established on the western hill. We have no account of the size or position of this camp, but a consideration of the site, and a comparison with other Roman camps in various parts of Europe, make it probable that it occupied an area of about so acres, extending over what is now known as the Armenian quarter of the town, and that it was bounded on the north by the old or first wall, on the west also by the old wall, on the south by a line of defence somewhat in the same position as the present south wall where it passes the Zion Gate, and on the east by an entrenchment running north and south parallel to the existing thoroughfare known as David Street. For sixty years the Roman garrison were left in undisturbed occupation, but in 132 the Jews rose in revolt under the leadership of Bar-Cochebas or Barcochba, and took possession of Jerusalem. After a severe struggle, the revolt was suppressed by the Roman general, Julius Severus, and Jerusalem was recaptured and again destroyed. According to some writers, this devastation was even more complete than after the siege by Titus. About 130 the emperor Hadrian decided to rebuild Jerusalem, and make it a Roman colony. The new city was called Aelia Capitolina. The exact size of the city is not known, but it probably extended as far as the present north wall of Jerusalem and included the northern part of the western hill. A temple dedicated to Jupiter Capitolinus was erected on the site of the Temple, and other buildings were constructed, known as the Theatre, the Demosia, the Tetranymphon, the Dodecapylon and the Codra. The Jews were forbidden to reside in the city, but Christians were freely admitted. The history of Jerusalem during the period between the foundation of the city of Aelia by the emperor Hadrian and the accession of Constantine the Great in 306 is obscure, but no important change appears to have been made in the size or fortifications of the city, which continued as a Roman colony. In 326 Constantine, after his conversion to Christianity, issued orders to the bishop Macarius to recover the site of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and the tomb in which his body was laid (see Sepulchre, Holy). After the holy sites had been determined, Constantine gave orders for the construction of two magnificent churches, the one over the tomb and the other over the place where the cross was discovered. The present church of the Holy Sepulchre stands on the site upon which one of the churches of Constantine was built, but the second church, the Basilica of the Cross, has completely disappeared. The next important epoch in building construction at Jerusalem was about 460, when the empress Eudocia visited Palestine and expended large sums on the improvement of the city. The walls were repaired by her orders, and the line of fortifications appears to have been extended on the south so as to include the pool of Siloam. A church was built above the pool, probably at the same time, and, after having completely disappeared for many centuries, it was recovered by F. J. Bliss when making his exploration of Jerusalem. The empress also erected a large church in honour of St Stephen north of the Damascus Gate, and is believed to have been buried therein. The site of this church was discovered in 1874, and it has since been rebuilt. In the 6th century the emperor Justinian erected a magnificent basilica at Jerusalem, in honour of the Virgin Mary, and attached to it two hospitals, one for the reception of pilgrims and one for the accommodation of the sick poor. The description given by Procopius does not indicate clearly where this church was situated. A theory frequently put forward is that it stood within the Haram area near the Mosque of el Aksa, but it is more probable that it was on Zion, near the traditional place of the Coenaculum or last supper, where the Mahommedan building known as the tomb of David now stands. In 614 Chosroes II., the king of Persia, captured Jerusalem, devastated many of the buildings, and massacred a great number of the inhabitants. The churches at the Holy Sepulchre were much damaged, but were partially restored by the monk Modestus, who devoted himself with great energy to the work. After a severe struggle the Persians were defeated by the emperor Heraclius, who entered Jerusalem in triumph in 62 9 bringing with him the holy cross, which had been carried off by Chosroes. At this period the religion of Mahomet was spreading over the east, and in 637 the caliph Omar marched on Jerusalem, which capitulated after a siege of four months. Omar behaved with great moderation, restraining his troops from pillage and leaving the Christians in possession of their churches. A wooden mosque was erected near the site of the Temple, which was replaced by the Mosque of Aksa, built by the amir Abdalmalik (Abd el Malek), who also constructed the Dome of the Rock, known as the Mosque of Omar, in 688. The Mahommedans held Jerusalem until 1099, when it was captured by the crusaders under Godfrey of Bouillon, and became the capital of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (see Crusades, vol. viii. p. 401) until 1187, when Saladin reconquered it, and rebuilt the walls. Since that time, except from 1229 to 12 3 9, and from 124 3 to 1244, the city has been held by the Mahommedans. It was occupied by the Egyptian sultans until 1517, when the Turks under Selim I. occupied Syria. Selim's successor, Suleiman the Magnificent, restored the fortifications, which since that time have been little altered.

Modern Jerusalem

Jerusalem is the chief town of a sanjak, governed by a mutessarif, who reports directly to the Porte. It has the usual executive and town councils, upon which the recognized religious communities, or millets, have representatives; and it is garrisoned by infantry of the V. army corps. The city is connected with its port, Jaffa, by a carriage road, 41 m., and by a metre-gauge railway, 54 m., which was completed in 1892, and is worked by a French company. There are also carriage roads to Bethlehem, Hebron and Jericho, and a road to Nablus was in course of construction in 1909. Prior to 1858, when the modern building period commenced, Jerusalem lay wholly within its 16th-century walls, and even as late as 1875 there were few private residences beyond their limits. At present Jerusalem without the walls covers a larger area than that within them. The growth has been chiefly towards the north and north-west; but there are large suburbs on the west, and on the southwest near the railway station on the plain of Rephaim. The village of Siloam has also increased in size, and the western slopes of Olivet are being covered with churches, monasteries and houses. Amongst the most marked features of the change that has taken place since 1875 are the growth of religious and philanthropic establishments; the settlement of Jewish colonies from Bokhara, Yemen and Europe; the migration of Europeans, old Moslem families, and Jews from the city to the suburbs; the increased vegetation, due to the numerous gardens and improved methods of cultivation; the substitution of timber and red tiles for the vaulted stone roofs which were so characteristic of the old city; the striking want of beauty, grandeur, and harmony with their environment exhibited by most of the new buildings; and the introduction of wheeled transport, which, cutting into the soft limestone, has produced mud and dust to an extent previously unknown. To facilitate communication between the city and its suburbs, the Bab ez-Zahire, or Herod's Gate, and a new gate, near the north-west angle of the walls, have been opened; and a portion of the wall, adjoining the Jaffa Gate, has been thrown down, to allow free access for carriages. Within the city the principal streets have been roughly paved, and iron bars placed across the narrow alleys to prevent the passage of camels. Without the walls carriage roads have been made to the mount of Olives, the railway station, and various parts of the suburbs, but they are kept in bad repair. Little effort has been made to meet the increased sanitary requirements of the larger population and wider inhabited area. There is no municipal water-supply, and the main drain of the city discharges into the lower pool of Siloam, which has become an open cesspit. In several places the debris within the walls is saturated with sewage, and the water of the Fountain of the Virgin, and of many of the old cisterns, is unfit for drinking. Amongst the more important buildings for ecclesiastical and philanthropic purposes erected to the north of the city since 1860 are the Russian cathedral, hospice and hospital; the French hospital of St Louis, and hospice and church of St Augustine; the German schools, orphanages and hospitals; the new hospital and industrial school of the London mission to the Jews; the Abyssinian church; the church and schools of the Church missionary society; the Anglican church, college and bishop's house; the Dominican monastery, seminary and church of St Stephen; the Rothschild hospital and girls' school; and the industrial school and workshops of the Alliance Israelite. On the mount of Olives are the Russian church, tower and hospice, near the chapel of the Ascension; the French Paternoster church; the Carmelite nunnery; and the Russian church of St Mary Magdalene, near Gethsemane. South of the city are the Armenian monastery of Mount Zion and Bishop Gobat's school. On the west side are the institution of the sisters of St Vincent; the Ratisbon school; the Montefiore hospice; the British ophthalmic hospital of the knights of St John; the convent and church of the Clarisses; and the Moravian leper hospital. Within the city walls are the Latin Patriarchal church and residence; the school of the Freres de la Doctrine Chretienne; the schools and printing house of the Franciscans; the Coptic monastery; the German church of the Redeemer, and hospice; the United Armenian church of the Spasm; the convent and school of the Seeurs de Zion; the Austrian hospice; the Turkish school and museum; the monastery and seminary of the Freres de la Mission Algerienne, with the restored church of St Anne, the church, schools and hospital of the London mission to the Jews; the Armenian seminary and Patriarchal buildings; the Rothschild hospital; and Jewish hospices and synagogues.

The climate is naturally good, but continued neglect of sanitary precautions has made the city unhealthy. During the summer months the heat is tempered by a fresh sea-breeze, and there is usually a sharp fall of temperature at night; but in spring and autumn the east and south-east winds, which blow across the heated depression of the Ghor, are enervating and oppressive. A dry season, which lasts from May to October, is followed by a rainy season, divided into the early winter and latter rains. Snow falls two years out of three, but soon melts. The mean annual temperature is 62.8° F., the maximum 112°, and the minimum 25°. The mean monthly temperature is lowest (47.2°) in February, and highest (76.3°) in August. The mean annual rainfall (1861 to 1899) is 26 06 in. The most unhealthy period is from 1st May to 31st October, when there are, from time to time, outbreaks of typhoid, small-pox, diphtheria and other epidemics. The unhealthiness of the city is chiefly due to want of proper drainage, impure drinkingwater, miasma from the disturbed rubbish heaps, and contaminated dust from the uncleansed roads and streets. The only industry is the manufacture of olive-wood and mother-of-pearl goods for sale to pilgrims and for export. The imports (see Joppa) are chiefly food, clothing and building material. The population in 1905 was about 60,000 (Moslems 7000, Christians 13,000, Jews 40,000). During the pilgrimage season it is increased by about 15,000 travellers and pilgrims.

Authorities. - Pal. Exp. Fund Publications - Sir C. Warren, Jerusalem, Memoir (1884); Clermont-Ganneau, Archaeol. Researches (vol. i., 1899); Bliss, Excavns. at Jerusalem (1898); Conder, Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (1897), and The City of Jerusalem (1909), an historical survey over 4000 years; Le Strange, Pal. under the Moslems (1890); Fergusson, Temples of the Jews (1878); Hayter Lewis, Holy Places of Jerusalem(' 888); Churches of Constantine at Jerusalem (1891); Guthe, "Ausgrabungen in Jer.," in Zeitschrift d. D. Pal. Vereins (vol. v.); Tobler, Topographie von Jerusalem (Berlin, 1854); Dritte Wanderung (1859); Sepp, Jerusalem and das heilige Land (1873); Rohricht, Regesta Regni Hierosolymitani; Bibliotheca Geographica Palaestinae (1890); De Vogue, Le Temple de Jerusalem (1864); Sir C. W. Wilson, Golgotha and the Holy Sepulchre (1906); publications of the Pal. Pilgrims' Text Society and of the Societe de l'Orient latin; papers in Quarterly Statements of the P. E. Fund, the Zeitschrift d. D. Pal. Vereins, Clermont-Ganneau's Recueil d'archeologie orientale and Etudes d'arch. orientale, and the Revue Biblique; Baedeker's Handbook to Palestine and Syria (1906); Mommert, Die hl. Grabeskirche zu Jerusalem (1898); Golgotha and das hl. Grab zu Jerusalem (1900); Couret, La Prise de Jerusm. par les Perses, 614. (Orleans, 1896 - Plans, Ordnance Survey, revised ed.; Ordnance Survey revised by Dr Schick in Z.D.P.V. xviii., 1895). (C. W. W.; C. M. W.)

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  • enPR: jə-ro͞o'sə-ləm, jə-ro͞o'zə-ləm, IPA: /dʒəˈruːsələm/, /dʒəˈruːzələm/, SAMPA: /dZ@"ru:s@l@m/, /dZ@"ru:z@l@m/

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  1. Ancient city of Palestine and the current capital of Israel; a holy city for Judaism (Temple of Solomon and the capital of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judeah), Christianity (Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection), and Islam (Muhammad’s ascension to heaven).

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  • al-Quds (especially in the English language Arab press)

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Jerusalem, also called Salem, Ariel, Jebus, the "city of God," the "holy city;" by the modern Arabs el-Khuds, meaning "the holy;" once "the city of Judah" (2Chr 25:28). This name is in the original in the dual form, and means "possession of peace," or "foundation of peace." The dual form probably refers to the two mountains on which it was built, viz., Zion and Moriah; or, as some suppose, to the two parts of the city, the "upper" and the "lower city." Jerusalem is a "mountain city enthroned on a mountain fastness" (comp. Ps. 68:15, 16; 87:1; 125:2; 76:1, 2; 122:3). It stands on the edge of one of the highest table-lands in Palestine, and is surrounded on the south-eastern, the southern, and the western sides by deep and precipitous ravines.

It is first mentioned in Scripture under the name Salem (Gen 14:18; comp. Ps 762). When first mentioned under the name Jerusalem, Adonizedek was its king (Josh 10:1). It is afterwards named among the cities of Benjamin (Jdg 19:10; 1Chr 11:4); but in the time of David it was divided between Benjamin and Judah. After the death of Joshua the city was taken and set on fire by the men of Judah (Judg. 1:1-8); but the Jebusites were not wholly driven out of it. The city is not again mentioned till we are told that David brought the head of Goliath thither (1Sam 17:54). David afterwards led his forces against the Jebusites still residing within its walls, and drove them out, fixing his own dwelling on Zion, which he called "the city of David" (2Sam 5:5-9; 1 Chr. 11:4-8). Here he built an altar to the Lord on the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite (2 Sam. 24:15-25), and thither he brought up the ark of the covenant and placed it in the new tabernacle which he had prepared for it. Jerusalem now became the capital of the kingdom.

After the death of David, Solomon built the temple, a house for the name of the Lord, on Mount Moriah (B.C. 1010). He also greatly strengthened and adorned the city, and it became the great center of all the civil and religious affairs of the nation (Deut 12:5; comp. Deut 12:14; Deut 14:23; 16:11-16; Ps 1221).

After the disruption of the kingdom on the accession to the throne of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, Jerusalem became the capital of the kingdom of the two tribes. It was subsequently often taken and retaken by the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and by the kings of Israel (2 Kings 14:13, 14; 18:15, 16; 23:33-35; 24:14; 2 Chr. 12:9; 26:9; 27:3, 4; 29:3; 32:30; 33:11), till finally, for the abounding iniquities of the nation, after a siege of three years, it was taken and utterly destroyed, its walls razed to the ground, and its temple and palaces consumed by fire, by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon (2 Kings 25; 2 Chr. 36; Jer. 39), B.C. 588. The desolation of the city and the land was completed by the retreat of the principal Jews into Egypt (Jer. 40-44), and by the final carrying captive into Babylon of all that still remained in the land (52:3), so that it was left without an inhabitant (B.C. 582). Compare the predictions, Deut. 28; Lev. 26:14-39.

But the streets and walls of Jerusalem were again to be built, in troublous times (Dan. 9:16, 19, 25), after a captivity of seventy years. This restoration was begun B.C. 536, "in the first year of Cyrus" (Ezra 1:2, 3, 5-11). The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah contain the history of the re-building of the city and temple, and the restoration of the kingdom of the Jews, consisting of a portion of all the tribes. The kingdom thus constituted was for two centuries under the dominion of Persia, till B.C. 331; and thereafter, for about a century and a half, under the rulers of the Greek empire in Asia, till B.C. 167. For a century the Jews maintained their independence under native rulers, the Asmonean princes. At the close of this period they fell under the rule of Herod and of members of his family, but practically under Rome, till the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 70. The city was then laid in ruins.

The modern Jerusalem by-and-by began to be built over the immense beds of rubbish resulting from the overthrow of the ancient city; and whilst it occupies certainly the same site, there are no evidences that even the lines of its streets are now what they were in the ancient city. Till A.D. 131 the Jews who still lingered about Jerusalem quietly submitted to the Roman sway. But in that year the emperor (Hadrian), in order to hold them in subjection, rebuilt and fortified the city. The Jews, however, took possession of it, having risen under the leadership of one Bar-Chohaba (i.e., "the son of the star") in revolt against the Romans. Some four years afterwards (A.D. 135), however, they were driven out of it with great slaughter, and the city was again destroyed; and over its ruins was built a Roman city called Aelia Capitolina, a name which it retained till it fell under the dominion of the Mohammedans, when it was called el-Khuds, i.e., "the holy."

In A.D. 326 Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the view of discovering the places mentioned in the life of our Lord. She caused a church to be built on what was then supposed to be the place of the nativity at Bethlehem. Constantine, animated by her example, searched for the holy sepulchre, and built over the supposed site a magnificent church, which was completed and dedicated A.D. 335. He relaxed the laws against the Jews till this time in force, and permitted them once a year to visit the city and wail over the desolation of "the holy and beautiful house."

In A.D. 614 the Persians, after defeating the Roman forces of the emperor Heraclius, took Jerusalem by storm, and retained it till A.D. 637, when it was taken by the Arabians under the Khalif Omar. It remained in their possession till it passed, in A.D. 960, under the dominion of the Fatimite khalifs of Egypt, and in A.D. 1073 under the Turcomans. In A.D. 1099 the crusader Godfrey of Bouillon took the city from the Moslems with great slaughter, and was elected king of Jerusalem. He converted the Mosque of Omar into a Christian cathedral. During the eighty-eight years which followed, many churches and convents were erected in the holy city. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was rebuilt during this period, and it alone remains to this day. In A.D. 1187 the sultan Saladin wrested the city from the Christians. From that time to the present day, with few intervals, Jerusalem has remained in the hands of the Moslems. It has, however, during that period been again and again taken and retaken, demolished in great part and rebuilt, no city in the world having passed through so many vicissitudes.

In the year 1850 the Greek and Latin monks residing in Jerusalem had a fierce dispute about the guardianship of what are called the "holy places." In this dispute the emperor Nicholas of Russia sided with the Greeks, and Louis Napoleon, the emperor of the French, with the Latins. This led the Turkish authorities to settle the question in a way unsatisfactory to Russia. Out of this there sprang the Crimean War, which was protracted and sanguinary, but which had important consequences in the way of breaking down the barriers of Turkish exclusiveness.

Modern Jerusalem "lies near the summit of a broad mountain-ridge, which extends without interruption from the plain of Esdraelon to a line drawn between the southern end of the Dead Sea and the southeastern corner of the Mediterranean." This high, uneven table-land is everywhere from 20 to 25 geographical miles in breadth. It was anciently known as the mountains of Ephraim and Judah.

"Jerusalem is a city of contrasts, and differs widely from Damascus, not merely because it is a stone town in mountains, whilst the latter is a mud city in a plain, but because while in Damascus Moslem religion and Oriental custom are unmixed with any foreign element, in Jerusalem every form of religion, every nationality of East and West, is represented at one time."

Jerusalem is first mentioned under that name in the Book of Joshua, and the Tell-el-Amarna collection of tablets includes six letters from its Amorite king to Egypt, recording the attack of the Abiri about B.C. 1480. The name is there spelt Uru-Salim ("city of peace"). Another monumental record in which the Holy City is named is that of Sennacherib's attack in B.C. 702. The "camp of the Assyrians" was still shown about A.D. 70, on the flat ground to the north-west, included in the new quarter of the city.

The city of David included both the upper city and Millo, and was surrounded by a wall built by David and Solomon, who appear to have restored the original Jebusite fortifications. The name Zion (or Sion) appears to have been, like Ariel ("the hearth of God"), a poetical term for Jerusalem, but in the Greek age was more specially used of the Temple hill. The priests' quarter grew up on Ophel, south of the Temple, where also was Solomon's Palace outside the original city of David. The walls of the city were extended by Jotham and Manasseh to include this suburb and the Temple (2 Chr. 27:3; 33:14).

Jerusalem is now a town of some 50,000 inhabitants, with ancient mediaeval walls, partly on the old lines, but extending less far to the south. The traditional sites, as a rule, were first shown in the 4th and later centuries A.D., and have no authority. The results of excavation have, however, settled most of the disputed questions, the limits of the Temple area, and the course of the old walls having been traced.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Simple English


יְרוּשָׁלַיִם (Hebrew)

أورشليم القدس (Arabic)
Urshalim-Al Quds
—  City  —
Skyline of Jerusalem
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): The Holy City

Coordinates: 31°47′N 35°13′E / 31.783°N 35.217°E / 31.783; 35.217
District Jerusalem (Mehoz Yerushalayim)
Settled about 3000 BCE by the Jebusites
 - Mayor Nir Barkat
 - City 125.2 km2 (48.3 sq mi)
 - Metro 652 km2 (251.7 sq mi)
Elevation 630 m (2,067 ft)
Population (2009)
 - City 763,600
 Density 6,183/km2 (16,013.9/sq mi)
Time zone Israel Standard Time (IST) (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) Israel Summer Time (IDT) (UTC+3)
Area code(s) +972 (Israel) + 2 (Jerusalem)
Website (English)

Jerusalem is the capital and largest city of Israel. It is also one of the oldest cities in the world that people have lived in continuously.

It is important to many major religions. Jews consider Jerusalem a holy city because it was their religious and political center during Biblical times and the place where the Temple of God stood. Christians consider Jerusalem holy because many events in the life of Jesus Christ took place there. Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad rose to heaven from there.

Jerusalem is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) east of the Mediterranean Sea. It is a hilly city with many valleys around it.



Jerusalem is a very old city. It has great importance for three religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Bible says King David, the second king of the Israel, took this city from pagans and settled his palace there. King Solomon, David's son and the next king, built the Temple in Jerusalem. Later, as capital of Judah, Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II, the king of Babylon. The Palace of King David and the Temple of Solomon were burned and the Jews were captured and taken to Babylon. Seventy years later, the Persian King Cyrus allowed them to return to Jerusalem and to rebuild the Temple.

Later the area was occupied by Romans. King Herod the Great, who ruled for the Roman Emperor, made the Temple larger to try and win Jewish favor. The Temple was famous for its greatness and beauty. Jesus Christ died in Jerusalem around AD 33. In AD 70, the Jews rebelled against the Romans, but the Romans destroyed the city and the Temple. Jewish people who lived in Jerusalem were caught and became slaves. The Romans renamed Jerusalem with a Latin name. Since then, the Temple has not been rebuilt, and only a part of its wall remains until today.

After the Roman Empire was split into two, the Byzantine Empire ruled Jerusalem. Later, Muslims took over the city from them. The Muslims believed Muhammad went to heaven from Jerusalem.

Later, the Pope in Rome sent the Crusaders from Western Europe to try and take it back. They succeeded for a while, but eventually the city fell again to the Saracens. Until the 20th century, Jerusalem was a part of the Ottoman Empire. There were some Jews in Jerusalem all along, even though they were ruled by other people.

The "New City" of Jerusalem is the part outside the old stone walls. People started building the new city in the 1800s. Mishkenot Sha'annanim, Mea Shearim, and the Bukharan Quarter are some of the first neighborhoods in the new city.

In 1949, at the end of the first Arab-Israeli War, Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Jordan. Israel controlled the western part of the city. Jordan controlled the eastern section, including the Old City, a walled section of Jerusalem dating from Biblical times. Israel took control of the entire city during the Six Day War in 1967. Jerusalem today is claimed by both the Palestinians and the Israelis as their capital.

Holy places

Jerusalem has a central place in the worship, doctrine, and daily practice of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The city's large number of synagogues, churches, mosques, and other religious institutions reflects the significance of the city for all three faiths. Each religious community supervises its own holy sites.


File:Jerusalem Dome of the rock BW
The Western Wall with the Dome of the Rock behind it

According to Jewish tradition, Jerusalem is where God told the patriarch Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, to Him. The Jews built the Temple, the center of Jewish worship in ancient times, at the site of Abraham's sacrifice on the Temple Mount in the Old City. Two buildings, one after the other, the First Temple and the Second Temple, stood at the site. The First Temple housed the Ark of the Covenant, a sacred box holding the tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments.

The Western Wall is a part of the Second Temple and Judaism's most sacred shrine. It is a stone wall that streghthened the western side of the Temple Mount in ancient times. The wall is sometimes called the Wailing Wall because of the sad prayers Jewish people said there to mourn the destroyed Temple.

Other sites in the city that are sacred to the Jews include King David's tomb on Mount Zion, and the Jewish Cemetery and the Tombs of the Prophets on the Mount of Olives, a hill just east of the Old City. Many sites associated with Biblical figures are sacred to Christians, too.


Many monasteries, convents, shrines, and religious seminaries in Jerusalem mark events in the life of Jesus Christ and in the formation of the Christian Church. Jesus taught in Jerusalem and performed numerous miracles there. The Last Supper supposedly took place in a room known as the Cenacle (also called Coenaculum) on Mount Zion. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City is said to be the place of Jesus's Crucifixion (called Calvary or Golgotha), as well as His burial and Resurrection. Several Christian sects own the church, which was originally built by Constantine the Great, then rebuilt and dedicated by the Crusaders in 1149 C.E. The building stands at the end of the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows), believed to be the path over which Jesus carried His cross to Calvary. Jesus was last seen by His followers on the Mount of Olives before He went up to heaven. All of these sites attract many religious pilgrims each year.


Jerusalem is Islam's third holiest city, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. According to Muslim tradition, the Prophet Muhammad originally selected Jerusalem as the qibla, the direction Muslims should face during prayer. However, he later told his followers to face Mecca instead of Jerusalem when praying. Muhammad is said to have gone up to heaven from a stone now covered by a golden-domed shrine called the Dome of the Rock. The Dome of the Rock and an ancient mosque called Al Aqsa Mosque are among the holiest sites in Islam. They are the main buidings on the Temple Mount, which Muslims call Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary).


Jerusalem's architecture is a mixture of old and new. The Old City contains architectural examples from each major period in the city's history. Many ancient historical sites and places of worship stand near modern shopping centers and industrial zones. Architecture from the late 1800s and early 1900s shows European influences. Usefulness rather than style characterizes new apartment buildings constructed by the government as housing for immigrants. Many buildings, old and new, have matching exteriors because all construction is required to be faced with a cream-colored limestone called Jerusalem stone, produced by nearby quarries.

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