Jerusalem, which means “The Holy [City/Home]”), is one of the world’s oldest cities, lying on a plateau in the Judean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. During the early Canaanite era, Jerusalem was known as “Urusalima,” which meant “City of Peace” in ancient cuneiform (approximately 2400 BC). It is sacred to the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital, since Israel retains its core administrative institutions there and the State of Palestine eventually intends to use it as its seat of power; however, neither claim is commonly accepted internationally.
Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, assaulted 52 times, and seized and regained 44 times throughout its lengthy history. The City of David area of Jerusalem was established in the fourth millennium BCE. Suleiman the Magnificent erected fortifications around Jerusalem in 1538. Today, those walls define the Old City, which has historically been split into four quarters—known as the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters since the early nineteenth century. The Old City was designated a World Heritage Site in 1981 and is now included on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Modern Jerusalem has expanded well beyond the walls of the Old City.
According to Biblical legend, King David captured the city from the Jebusites and made it the capital of the United Kingdom of Israel, and his son, King Solomon, commissioned the construction of the First Temple. These foundational events, which occurred around the turn of the first millennium BCE, took on vital symbolic significance for the Jewish people. The epithet holy city (, transliterated ‘ir haqodesh) was most likely applied to Jerusalem in post-exilic periods. The sanctity of Jerusalem in Christianity was strengthened by the New Testament story of Jesus’ crucifixion there, which was preserved in the Septuagint, which Christians took as their own authority. After Mecca and Medina, Jerusalem is the third holiest city in Sunni Islam. According to the Quran, it became the first qibla, the center point for Muslim prayer (salat), in 610 CE, and Muhammad undertook his Night Journey there ten years later, rising to heaven and speaking to God. As a consequence, despite its small size of 0.9 square kilometers (0.35 square miles), the Old City is home to several religiously significant landmarks, including the Temple Mount and its Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock, the Garden Tomb, and the al-Aqsa Mosque.
The status of Jerusalem is still one of the most contentious topics in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict today. West Jerusalem was taken and subsequently annexed by Israel during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, while East Jerusalem, including the Old City, was captured and then annexed by Jordan. During the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel seized East Jerusalem from Jordan and annexed it, along with other surrounding area, into Jerusalem. The 1980 Jerusalem Law, one of Israel’s Basic Laws, refers to Jerusalem as the country’s undivided capital. All branches of the Israeli government, including the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), the Prime Minister’s and President’s homes, and the Supreme Court, are based in Jerusalem. While the international world has condemned the annexation as unlawful and considers East Jerusalem to be Palestinian territory seized by Israel, Israel claims greater control over West Jerusalem. The international world does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and no foreign embassies are located there. Non-governmental Israeli institutions of national significance, such as the Hebrew University and the Israel Museum with its Shrine of the Book, are also located in Jerusalem.
In 2011, Jerusalem’s population was 801,000, with Jews accounting for 497,000 (62 percent), Muslims accounting for 281,000 (35 percent), Christians accounting for 14,000 (approximately 2 percent), and the remaining 9,000 (1 percent) unaffiliated.
Jerusalem – Info Card
|POPULATION :||• City 849,782|
• Metro 1,124,300
|TIME ZONE :||• (UTC+2)|
• Summer (DST) : (UTC+3)
|LANGUAGE :||Hebrew (official), Arabic used officially for Arab minority, English most commonly used foreign language|
|RELIGION :||64% Jewish, 32% Muslim, and 2% Christian.|
|AREA :||• City 125,156 dunams (125.156 km2 or 48.323 sq mi)|
• Metro 652,000 dunams (652 km2 or 252 sq mi)
|ELEVATION :||754 m (2,474 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||31°47′N 35°13′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.50%|
• Female: 50.50%
|AREA CODE :||2|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||Overseas dialling: +972-2|
Local dialling: 02
|WEBSITE :||Official Website|
Tourism in Jerusalem
Jerusalem is regarded holy by the three main Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is located in the Judean Mountains between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea. Since the 10th century BCE, it has been the holiest city in Judaism and the spiritual heart of the Jewish people, as well as the third-holiest in Islam and one of the holiest in Christianity. It has an approximately 4000-year history and has been battled over and conquered several times throughout that time. While the city has had a substantial Jewish majority since 1967, it is home to a diverse spectrum of national, religious, and socioeconomic communities.
The walled section of Jerusalem, which constituted the whole city until the 1860s, is today known as the Old City and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. It is divided into four ethnic and religious quarters: Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. The Old City, which is just one square kilometer in size, is home to some of Jerusalem’s most significant and contentious 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.
More contemporary suburbs of Jerusalem surround the Old City. The civic and cultural core of contemporary Israel is located in western Jerusalem, whereas the eastern neighborhoods are mostly inhabited by Arabs. When Israel gained independence, Jerusalem became its capital, and the city was reunited following the 1967 war, when Israel took East Jerusalem.
Climate of Jerusalem
The city has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and warm, rainy winters. Snow flurries occur once or twice a winter on average, while the city gets major snowfall every three to four years, with short-lived accumulation. The coldest month of the year is January, with an average temperature of 9.1 °C (48.4 °F); the warmest months are July and August, with average temperatures of 24.2 °C (75.6 °F), and the summer months are typically rainless. The average annual precipitation is roughly 550 mm (22 in), with the majority of rain falling between October and May. Snowfall is uncommon, and significant snowfalls are much more so. On December 13, 2013, Jerusalem experienced more than 30 centimetres (12 in) of snow, virtually paralyzing the city. On average, a day in Jerusalem receives 9.3 hours of sunlight.
The majority of Jerusalem’s air pollution is caused by motor activity. Many key roadways in Jerusalem were not designed to handle such a high level of traffic, resulting in traffic congestion and increased carbon monoxide emissions into the atmosphere. Although industrial pollution is minimal inside the city, pollutants from industries on Israel’s Mediterranean coast may flow eastward and settle over the city.
Geography of Jerusalem
Jerusalem is located on the southern escarpment of a plateau in the Judaean Mountains, which also include the Mount of Olives (East) and Mount Scopus (North East). The Old City is around 760 meters above sea level (2,490 ft). Jerusalem is bordered by lowlands and dry riverbeds (wadis). The valleys of Kidron, Hinnom, and Tyropoeon meet immediately south of Jerusalem’s Old City. The Kidron Valley runs east of the Old City, separating the Mount of Olives from the city itself. The Valley of Hinnom, a steep gully along the southern side of ancient Jerusalem, is related in biblical eschatology with the notion of Gehenna or Hell. The Tyropoeon Valley began in the northwest at the Damascus Gate, extended south-southwest through the heart of the Old City down to the Pool of Siloam, and split the lower section of the city into two hills, the Temple Mount to the east and the remainder of the city to the west (the lower and the upper cities described by Josephus). This valley is now obscured by rubbish amassed over the generations. Jerusalem was formerly bordered by forests of almond, olive, and pine trees. These woodlands were decimated during centuries of fighting and neglect. Farmers in the Jerusalem area consequently constructed stone terraces along the slopes to keep back the dirt, a characteristic that can still be seen in the Jerusalem landscape.
Water supply has long been a key issue in Jerusalem, as seen by the city’s sophisticated network of ancient aqueducts, tunnels, pools, and cisterns.
Jerusalem is located 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of Tel Aviv, on the Mediterranean Sea. The Dead Sea, the lowest body of water on Earth, is located on the other side of the city, roughly 35 kilometers (22 miles) away. Bethlehem and Beit Jala are 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.
Mount Herzl, on the city’s western outskirts near the Jerusalem Forest, serves as Israel’s national cemetery.
Economy of Jerusalem
Because Jerusalem is so distant from the main ports of Jaffa and Gaza, its economy has historically relied nearly entirely on religious pilgrims. Today, Jerusalem’s religious and cultural icons continue to be the most popular draws for international visitors, with the bulk of tourists visiting the Western Wall and the Old City.
Since the formation of the State of Israel, the national government has been a prominent stakeholder in the economy of Jerusalem. The Jerusalem-based government creates a huge number of employment and provides subsidies and incentives to new business projects and start-ups. Despite the fact that Tel Aviv is Israel’s financial capital, an increasing number of high-tech businesses are relocating to Jerusalem, creating 12,000 employment in 2006. The Har Hotzvim industrial park in northern Jerusalem and the Jerusalem Technology Park in south Jerusalem are home to huge R&D facilities for multinational technology corporations including as Intel, Cisco, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, IBM, Mobileye, Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, and others. Time Magazine named Jerusalem one of the world’s five rising tech centers in April 2015, declaring that “the city has become a booming center for biomed, cleantech, Internet/mobile entrepreneurs, accelerators, investors, and supporting service providers.”
Education (17.9 percent vs. 12.7 percent); health and welfare (12.6 percent vs. 10.7 percent); community and social services (6.4 percent vs. 4.7 percent); hotels and restaurants (6.1 percent vs. 4.7 percent); and public administration (12.6 percent vs. 10.7 percent) (8.2 percent vs. 4.7 percent ). During the British Mandate, a regulation was issued mandating all structures in Jerusalem to be built of Jerusalem stone in order to maintain the city’s distinctive historic and aesthetic character. In addition to the building code, which is still in effect, heavy industry is discouraged in Jerusalem; only roughly 2.2 percent of Jerusalem’s area is allocated for “industry and infrastructure.” In contrast, the share of land allocated for industry and infrastructure in Tel Aviv is twice as high, and seven times higher in Haifa. Manufacturing employs just 8.5 percent of the Jerusalem District workforce, which is half the national average (15.8 percent ).
Despite the fact that several figures show economic growth in the city, East Jerusalem has lagged behind West Jerusalem in development since 1967. Nonetheless, the number of Arab homes with working people is larger (76.1%) than the percentage of Jewish households (66.8 percent ). The unemployment rate in Jerusalem (8.3 percent) is somewhat lower than the national average (9.0 percent), despite the fact that the civilian work force accounted for less than half of all individuals fifteen years or older—lower than in Tel Aviv (58.0 percent) and Haifa (58.0 percent) (52.4 percent ). Poverty remains an issue in the city, with 37 percent of Jerusalem households living below the poverty level in 2011. According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), 78 percent of Arabs in Jerusalem were poor in 2012, up from 64 percent in 2006. While the ACRI blames the rise on a lack of job prospects, infrastructure, and a deteriorating educational system, Ir Amim blames the legal position of Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Internet, Comunication in Jerusalem
Jerusalem’s area code prefix is 02.
Prepaid phone cards, which may be bought at post offices, stores, and lottery kiosks, are accepted by public telephones. They come in the following sizes: 20 units (13 NIS), 50 units (29 NIS), and 120 units (60 NIS). Saturday and Friday nighttime calls are 25% less expensive than the usual cost.
There are also coin phones (often 1 NIS). Those are private “public phones” that store owners own and operate.
You may be able to access free Wi-Fi on buses or cafés.
Alternatively, most low-cost mobile phone contracts offer a few gigabytes of internet access every month.