Jericho Travel Overview
Jericho is situated 825 feet below sea level and is located on the west side of the Jordan River, approximately 25 minutes east of Jerusalem. It is very near the area where the Israelites crossed the Jordan, and it is here where one encounters their first destination, the rich oasis of Jericho, also known as the oldest city in the world. The main road detours the city and passes the entrance to the Jordan border crossing closest to Jerusalem, known as the Allenby Bridge after the British General Edmund Allenby. General Allenby, on December 11, 1917, was the first Christian to come into the holy city of Jerusalem after 400 years of Ottoman rule, when he led the British to their defeat of the Turks.
The archaeological excavations of ancient Jericho (known as Tel Jericho) have revealed 23 layers of ancient settlements and among other things features the oldest known stairs in the world. The excavations can be seen on the hill north-west of present day Jericho and is truly the highlight of a visit to Jericho.
During its long 10,000 years, Jericho has seen much. If the city’s ancient stones could talk, they would fill several libraries with their stories. Empires have come and gone, but still the ancient city of Jericho thrives as an oasis in a dry and arid region and is a popular destination not only for tourists but for local Palestinians who travel to the area to visit the local Dead Sea beaches and many restaurants and hotels.
Photo courtesy: Travelujah
In many ways, Jericho is the very symbol of man’s transition from a wandering, nomadic society that relied solely on hunting and gathering to a settled existence made possible by the discovery of agriculture. In other words, the building of ancient Jericho’s walls in roughly 8,000 BC marks the change from a wild existence to civilization. That this symbol still exists as a living city is nothing short of astonishing.
Many interesting sites await the visit in the Jericho area including the Greek Orthodox monastery of Dir Hijleh, Wadi Qelt, the St. Georges Monastary, Hisham’s Palace and teh ancient city of Jericho with its spectacular archaeological excavations. The new baptismal site at Qasr Al Yehud is well worth a visit. The Old Testament site of Tell es-Sultan is just beyond the city.
Jericho is known as the “City of Palms” and is located just a few minutes from the Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth. Other nearby places to visit include Qumran and Ein Fashka Nature Reserve.
Highlights of Jericho
The archaeological excavations of ancient Jericho have been taking place since the late 1800s. They have revealed 23 layers of ancient settlements, ancient pottery, and other artifacts which have enabled us experts gain understanding into how people lived thousands of years ago in Jericho. Jericho features many impressive sites, including the oldest known stairs in the world. The excavations can be seen on the hill north-west of present day Jericho and is truly the highlight of a visit to Jericho.
Jericho is accessible via Route 1 which travels east from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. Most tourists generally will travel there as part of a group tour or, alternatively, on a private day tour that can also include other sites in the area not included in the standard group bus tour (such as Qasr El Yahud, Mt. of Temptations, St. Georges Monastery).
Background of Jericho in the Holy Land
Jericho is the lowest city on earth in addition to being the longest continuously inhabited city on earth, and excavations have revealed continuous settlement there for more than 11000 years. In addition Jericho’s history through those many centuries has been rich and many times turbulent, up until recent time. Jericho is probably best known as the first city the Israelites conquered after 40 years in the desert upon leaving Egypt, when its walls fell as a result of the Israelite siege. Jericho was at the crossroads of trade between Jordan, the harbours at the coast and the north, in addition to it having a very rich farmland bringing forth best quality produce, all elements contributing it being a central place in ancient times.
Jericho is situated in the Palestinian Authority area and passports are required upon entering.
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