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{{#set:Settlement type=City}}
[[Native name::ירושלם
Hebrew transcription(s)
 - Standard  ירושלם (Yerūshālāyim)
Arabic transcription(s)
 - Common  القـُدْس (al-Quds)
 - (Officially, inside Israel)  أورشليم القدس (Ūrshalīm-Al-Quds)
Jerusalem skyline

Jerusalem Old City from Mount of Olives

Flag of Jerusalem
Nickname(s): Nickname::City of David, Holy City
Location of Jerusalem near the Dead Sea

Location of Jerusalem near the Dead Sea

Coordinates Coordinates::31°46'48"N; 35°13'48"E
Country Country::Israel
District District::Jerusalem (district)
Founded Founded::Ethanim 2957 AM
Founder Founder::David
 - Mayor Mayor::Nir Barkat
 - Total City area::125.156 km²
Elevation Elevation::757 m
 - Total 760,800
 - Density Population density::6078.814 km⁻²
Religion [1]
 - Jews 65.0%
 - Muslims 32.0%
 - Christians 2%
Time zone Time zone::EET (UTCTime offset::+2)
 - Summer (DST) Time zone summer::EEST (UTCTime offset summer::+3)
Postal codes Zip::9xxxx
Area code Area code::2
Website Web site::

Jerusalem (Hebrew: ירושלם, Yerūshālāyim; Greek: Ἱεροσόλυμα, Hierosolyma or Ἰερουσαλήμ, Ierousalēm; Latin: Ierusalem; Armenian: Երուսաղեմ, Erousałem; Arabic: القـُدْس, al-Quds or أورشليم القدس, Ūrshalīm-Al-Quds; "Name means::habitation of peace") is both the capital and largest city in Israel, with a population of 760,800 people. It is located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea. Its elevation of 757 meters makes it one of the highest cities in all of Israel and explains the repeated Biblical references to "going up to Jerusalem."

The major cities around it include the city of Jericho to its northeast, Tel Aviv to the northwest, Ramallah to the north, and Bethlehem to the south. Jerusalem has a assortment of religions and cultures in its countryside. The three most representated are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

The Bible says:

"Now Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD had chosen from all the tribes of Israel to put His name there. And his mother's name was Naamah the Ammonitess." - 1_Kings 14:21 (NASB)

This city has been the chosen city for many important periods of time both in the Bible and in our world history. The very popular Old City, which was named by the show Good Morning America, remains a major tourist attraction to this day. It is covered by four main walls that guard the city. The quarters that stand with the walls have their own names; the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim.



Estimates of the actual founding of the city vary widely. Most archaeologists date the city to the Bronze Age. Jerusalem was most probably founded shortly after the global flood, but a more precise time has been impossible to determine.

The Jewish midrash states that the founders of Jerusalem were Shem and his descendant Eber. The midrash also identifies Melchizedek, "king of Salem," with Shem. While Shem died in {{#show:Shem|?Died}} and thus was still living at the time of the War of the Ten Kings ({{#show:War of the Ten Kings|?Date}}), his identification with Melchizedek, and also the identification of "Salem" with "Jerusalem," is a matter of conjecture only.

The Jebusites possessed Jerusalem during the era of the Judges. The Egyptian El-Amarna Tablets contain several letters from a king named Abdi-Hiba of "Urusalim" to Pharaohs Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IV (aka "Akhenaten"). In those letter, Abdi-Hiba is clearly crying out for help against an invading force that he calls the "Habiru," who were most probably the Hebrews, then under the command of Joshua.[3]

The other early references to Jerusalem are said to be present in the Execration Texts. These are Egyptian texts naming places, Jerusalem among them, on which the Egyptian priesthood pronounced curses. Classically these date back to the 18th century BC, according to standard chronologies.

The many conquests and sieges of Jerusalem that occurred after King David conquered the city in 2957 AM have likely erased the previous history of Jerusalem to the extent that no other reliable evidence of the pre-Israelite history of Jerusalem now remains.

Capital of the United Kingdom of Israel

Main Articles: David, United Kingdom of Israel

In the fall of 1047 BC (proleptic Gregorian calendar), King David assembled a combined force drawn from all the twelve tribes of Israel and laid siege to the city. He successfully captured the city by penetrating the water tunnel that connected the city to its main water supply and fighting a fierce battle in order to gain entry. Jerusalem then became his capital city, and was called the "City of David," the same name given to David's birth place of Bethlehem.

During his reign David extended the city southward, and gave it the name Yerushalayim which translates to Jerusalem. Jerusalem remained David's capital city throughout the remainder of his reign, except for a brief period during Absalom's civil war in which Absalom forced him to flee.

Solomon built the first Jewish temple in Jerusalem. He broke ground for this structure in 1012 BC, or in the 480th year following the Exodus of Israel.

Capital of the Kingdom of Judah

In 975 BC, Jeroboam I led a revolt of ten of the Twelve Tribes of Israel from the kingdom. The Tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained loyal to Solomon's son and successor, Rehoboam. The House of David maintained Jerusalem as its capital city for an unbroken period of 390 years, until Nebuchadnezzar II captured the city in 586 BC. In that time, Jerusalem did suffer a number of pillaging raids (the first of which was by Pharaoh Shishak in or about 970 BC), and at least one occasion in which a king of the Kingdom of Israel breached its walls. But Jerusalem was never captured during that time.

The Temple of Jerusalem did not remain in constant use, however. King Jotham never entered the Temple after he watched as his father was stricken with leprosy after trying to burn holy incense, which as king he was not authorized to do. Jehoahaz I had the Temple closed during his reign. Hezekiah had the Temple reopened, repaired, and resanctified. King Josiah would have to undertake a similar program after King Manasseh's long and generally sacrilegious reign, followed by the brief reign of King Amon.

Capture by the Babylonians

Main Article: Fall of Jerusalem

In 586 BC, Nebuchadnezzar II captured Jerusalem after a three-year siege. He ordered the execution of all the members of the last Judah-ite king, Zedekiah, after which he had Zedekiah blinded and taken into captivity.

Jerusalem remained unoccupied for seventy years, until at length Kings Cyrus and Darius I issued separate decrees for the rebuilding and reestablishment of Jerusalem as a functioning city.

Greco-Seleucid dominion and revolt

Jerusalem remained essentially as a provincial capital in the Persian Empire until Alexander the Great marched to Jerusalem on his way to Persian-held Egypt. The high priest at the time urged the city leaders of Jerusalem to surrender to Alexander, saying that he was the "mighty king" predicted by the prophet Daniel. (Daniel 11:5

Alexander allowed the inhabitants to remain and to observe their ancient religious laws. When Alexander died, his empire split into four parts, two of which included the Ptolemaic Empire in Egypt and the Seleucid Empire in Syria. Jerusalem now came under Seleucid overlordship and remained under Syrian rule until 165 BC, when Judas Maccabeus led a successful revolt against Antiochus IV Epiphanes, after that king had attempted to "Hellenize" the inhabitants by, among other things, sacrificing a pig inside the Temple. Judas' sacerdotal allies again re-sanctified the Temple, and this was the time when a flask of pressed olive oil, thought to be sufficient for one day only, lasted eight days until more olive oil could be pressed. This incident gave rise to the Feast of Dedication, also known as the Feast of Lights or by its transliterated Hebrew name of Chanukkah.

Idumaean dominion

In the last years of the Republic of Rome, Jerusalem came under the dominion of a family of Idumaeans. Subsequently a rival Israelite family, the Hasmoneans, contested them for dominion over the city and ethnic Israel. The issue remained unsettled until, in 63 BC (Julian calendar), Pompey the Great entered Jerusalem as part of his campaign against the "Two Kings," Mithridates of Pontus and Tigranes of Armenia. Pompey settled the dispute in favor of the Idumaeans.

The most famous of these Idumaeans, Herod, came to power during the Second Civil War of Rome, and made separate peace agreements, first with Mark Antony, Proconsul of the Eastern Empire, and then with Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Octavianus, who became Rome's first Emperor. Herod undertook many massive building projects, the most famous of which was the Second Temple.

Roman dominion

Jerusalem remained under Roman dominion during the reigns of all the emperors of Rome that belonged to the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Jesus Christ was born in nearby Bethlehem during the reign of Augustus, and King Herod received a deputation of astronomers from Susa who had seen "his star" in the east. This prompted Herod to order the execution of every male child two years old or younger; Jesus escaped this execution because his foster father, Joseph of Nazareth, took Him to Egypt until Herod died. Thereafter Jerusalem remained the administrative center of Judaea Province, which came under a succession of Roman magistrates called procurators. The most famous of these procurators, all named in the Bible, were Pontius Pilate, Felix, and Marcus Porcius Festus. (Beginning on or before the procuratorship of Felix, the seat of Roman government was removed to the nearby city of Caesaria, another of Herod the Great's building projects.)

Jesus was, of course, crucified during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius. Tiberius' insane successor Caligula attempted to make himself a God-substitute throughout his empire; how Jerusalem escaped the humiliation of having a statue of Caligula erected in the Temple, no historian has ever explained fully.

Herod's grandson, Herod Agrippa I, attempted to reunite the four parts into which his grandfather's kingdom had been split. But he died of the same disease that killed his grandfather after he unwisely accepted "divine" honors from a throng of people. Subsequently, Paul of Tarsus made Jerusalem his starting and ending point for three missionary journeys during the reigns of Emperors Claudius I and Nero. Paul appeared before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem after his arrest there by the Roman tribune Claudius Lysias and was then taken to Caesaria under guard.

Jerusalem survived the Emperorship of Nero, and the turbulent Year of the Three Emperors (Galba, Otho, and Vitellius) in 69 AD. Then in 70 AD, the Roman general Titus Flavius, son of the Emperor Titus Flavius Vespasianus, laid siege to Jerusalem, captured the city, and destroyed Herod's Temple.

Jerusalem was evidently repopulated under a later Emperor. But when in 135 Simon bar Kochva attempted a rebellion against Rome, Emperor Hadrian sent another expeditionary force to Jerusalem, with orders to deport every inhabitant, and indeed every inhabitant of Judaea Province, to other, far-flung parts of the Empire. Hadrian changed the name of the province from Judaea to Palaestina, a name that the region would continue to have until the establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1947. (Today the West Bank territory, once part of Jordan, now continues as the parallel state of Palestine.)

Further history

By 1099 the First Crusaders came in and took over the city, destroying all its people and buildings in side. But not long after then in 1187 the city was snatched up again by a man named Saladin. Then Jerusalem fell back into the hands of the Egyptian empire and then tossed back out to the Ottoman Turks.

Finally by 1917 the city has a ruler that was there to stay. The British Army, lead by General Allenby, occupied the city and all its wonders. It was then that the city came to a rest and started to build up again. The Hebrew University was found in 1925 while a war that lasted from 1948-1949 spilt the city into two main parts. The cease-fire line divided the city into Israel and Jordan.

Israel crossed that line and captured East Jerusalem in 1969, during the Six-Day War. Then in 1980 Israel passed a law stating that Jerusalem was to no longer be parted and it was to stay "eternal undivided."

Today Jerusalem is still known for having three major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. There are currently standing 1204 synagogues, 158 churches, 73 mosques, 72 monasteries, and 70 mikvahs all of which are used on a regular basis.

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  1. Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, 24 May 2006.
  2. "Entry for Jerusalem", Cities of the World, 30 December 1999. Accessed 27 August 2009.
  3. Jeffrey GR, "The Rocks Cry Out: The Historical Evidence For the Bible," <>, accessed 2 September 2009.

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