(photo credit: Travelujah)
ancient city of Jericho is literally older than history itself.
Recorded history started in the 4th millenium BC with the advent of
written language. By that time, Jericho had already existed as an
ancient walled city for 4,000 years.
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.
Elisa Moed, CEO Travelujah, at the entrance to ancient Jericho
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.
mark this incredible anniversary, the Palestinian Authority has decided
to invest heavily in the redevelopment of Jericho as a tourism hub.
Plans include new resorts, an airport and even a 1,000-acre palm tree
forest. Much of the funding will come from private companies, like the
Palestine Development and Investment Limited, which will reportedly put
an estimated $500 million toward various projects.
Sahouri, International Relations Coordinator for the Ministry of
Tourism and Antiquities, told Travelujah, that the vision is to "create a
wide-ranging developmental momentum in the ancient Jericho region that
corresponds to, and tackles the untapped potential of the city in all
its outstanding historical, cultural, natural, religious aspects."
foundations for achieving that are already in place. As noted on the
Jericho 10,000 website, the city is "characterized by a warm
semi-tropical climate, the city teems with life, utilizing its abundant
natural resources: water springs, fertile earth, and hospitable people."
In short, a perfect vacation destination, especially for those
interested in history.
work that has already started in Jericho is bearing fruit. The number
of annual visitors to the city was up 16 percent from 2009 to 2010. More
importantly, visitors are increasingly staying in Jericho overnight and
spending more days in the ancient city. Overnights in Jericho were up
by over 70 percent during the same time period.
remains much work to be done, and the political climate in the region
does not always lend itself to rapid progress, but there is little doubt
that Jericho possesses enormous potential to become one of the world's
premier tourist attractions. After all, mankind has deemed the location a
prime place to live for at least 10,000 years. No other city in the
world can say that.
Photo Courtesy Sami Khoury, ABS Tourism
Sidebar - Ancient Jericho and the surrounding area are rich with tourism treasures
Greek Orthodox monastery, is situated on the Mount of Temptation, and
is the place where Jesus fasted for 40 days and was tempted by Satan and
where Jesus rejects three proposals and is directed by the spirit of
God (Mark 1:12-13, Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13) agree. A cable car brings people from the lowest city on earth up to the cliffs near the monastery.
Photo courtesy Sami Khoury, ABS Tourism
Hisham's Palace, a 6th
century winter retreat built by the Umayyad empire boasts one of the
most expansive mosaic floors ever discovered. Much of the floor has not
yet been uncovered but for a short period this month, part of it is on
public display. A smaller mosaic floor that is situated in the ancient
bathhouse is visible year round.
Photo Courtesy Travelujah -Group visit to Hisham's Palace near Jericho
is an incredible archaeological site with findings from the ancient
biblical city dating back over 10,000 years. Some believe the uncovered
walls correspond with the biblical story of Joshua.
Qasr El Yahud
Baptismal Site, is the ancient baptismal site situated on the Jordan
River and the site that many believe is the actual site where Jesus was
baptized by John the Baptist.
St. Georges Monastary (Greek Orthodox) is
an unusual 5th. Century monastary built by an Egyptian monk, and
re-built in the 19. Century. Its name is derived from the well known
Gorgias of Coziba who lived there. The Prat stream runs through the deep
canyon and parts of the ancient aqueductthat were built to bring its
waters to Herod's Palace in the town of Jericho, still remain
today. According to tradition, this is also where the prophet Elijah was
fed by ravens.
Photo courtesy Sami Khoury, ABS Tourism
Ryan Jones writes for Travelujah, a Christian social network focused on fostering a deeper connection with faith through Holy Land tours. You can plan, learn and share your holy land experiences on Travelujah.