All About Jerusalem: History, Geography,culture, Economy, Transportation
Jerusalem (31°46?N 35°14?E;), the capital city of Israel, is an ancient Middle Eastern city on the watershed between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea at an elevation of 650-840 meters. It is located east of Tel Aviv, south of Ramallah, west of Jericho and north of Bethlehem.
Jerusalem has a long history. Archeaological findings indicate the existence of a settlement in Jerusalem in the 3rd millenium BCE. The first mention of the city in historic sources begins in the 2nd millenium BCE. First built and founded by the Cannanites, it became the capital of the Jewish kingdoms of Israel, Judah and Judea in the First Temple and Second Temple periods. It continued to be the main city in the Holy Land during the Muslim rule. It is the holiest city of Judaism and Christianity. it is the third holiest place in Islam. The Western part of Jerusalem is the capital of the modern State of Israel. The status of the eastern part of Jerusalem as part of the Israeli capital or a capital for the future State of Palestine, and the control over that part of the city and its holy places, are subjects of international controversy.
With a population of 704,900 (as of December 31, 2004 ), it is a heterogeneous city, representing a wide range of national, religious, and socioeconomic groups. The section called the "Old City" is surrounded by walls and consists of four quarters: Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. The current mayor of Jerusalem is Uri Lupolianski, the first Haredi to ever hold such position.
Main article: History of Jerusalem
According to one Jewish mythology and tradition, Jerusalem was founded by Shem and Ever, ancestors of Abraham. It has played an important historical role at various times over the past several millennia.
Modern archeology traces the earliest written record of the city to an Assyrian monument of the 8th Century. It is thought that the city dates back to least as far back as 3000 BCE. It was first built and founded by the Canaanites, who gave it the name Urr Salem, meaning "the land of peace".
From 1600 to 1300 BCE, the city came under Egyptian suzerainty though continued to be governed by Canaanite rulers who paid tribute to the Pharaohs. During this period the city increasingly came under attacks from the Habiru, possibly ancestors of the modern Jewish people.
According to Jewish and Biblical tradition, the city was controlled by the Jebusites until it conquest by King David in approximately 1000 BCE. David expanded the city to the south, and declared it the capital city of the united Kingdom of Israel. Later, the First Jewish Temple was built in Jerusalem by King Solomon. Near the end of the reign of King Solomon, the northern ten tribes split off to form the Kingdom of Israel with its capital at Samaria. Jerusalem then became the capital of the southern kingdom, the Kingdom of Judah.
By the end of the First Temple period, Jerusalem was the sole acting religious shrine in the kingdom and a center of regular pilgrimage. Clear historical records begin to corroborate some of the Biblical history from around the 9th century BCE, the kings of Judah become historically identifiable, and the significance the Temple had in Jewish religious life is clear.
Jerusalem was the capital of the Kingdom of Judah for some 400 years. However, the city was overcome by the Babylonians in 597 BCE. The country rebelled again, prompting the city's repeated conquest and destruction by Nebuchadnezzar in 587/586 BCE. The temple was burnt, and the city's walls were ruined.
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