21/06/2019, by Ilham Younes
Located in the Jordan valley in occupied Palestine, 270 yards below sea level, Jericho is both the lowest city in the world and one of the first inhabited, since its first foundations date back to more than 9,000 years BCE. As its rich past testifies, Jericho is all about diversity: mosques blend with Orthodox, Latin, Coptic, and Armenian churches.
Described as the ‘city of palm trees’ in the Jewish Bible (Deuteronomy 34:3), Jericho is a true oasis in an arid place, thanks to its proximity with the Jordan river. It holds inestimable archeological treasures, such as Tell-es-Sultan. Located in the very center of the city, this site contains the ruins of the Ancient town and testifies to its different occupation phases. A few miles away are the ruins of Hisham’s palace, also known as Khirbat al-Mafjar, built under Caliph Hisham, the 8th ruler of the Umayyad dynasty. The most impressive mosaic discovered in the region can be found at the site. What’s more, the city also shelters the Orthodox Monastery of the Temptation, which was built in the twelfth century.
Though stimulated by agriculture thanks to its fertile soils and held by tourism, Jericho remains a highly-important historic town heavily impacted by Israeli occupation.