Ed sent us pictures of his travel to Jericho recently. Through his travels, we gain new knowledge - of geography (remember Montenegro) and history. I surfed the net and researched some information about Jericho, which I am posting in this blogsite. If you take some time to read the article below, you'll realize the historical and religious value of Jericho - it is the first city conquered by the Israelites after their 40-day journey out of Egypt. It is also the site of the baptism of St. John the Baptist, and it is believed that it was in the mountain outside Jericho that Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights and was tempted by Satan.
For more pictures of Jericho visit http://picasaweb.google.com/gold50/JerichoPictures
Please continue reading the article about Jericho. I wish we also have the opportunity like Ed to visit the place, but like the Dead Sea, I'll surely be dead before I see it.
Jericho is believed to be one of, if not the oldest cities in the world. It was the first city captured by the Israelites after their 40 years of wandering in the desert after the exodus from Egypt. Ironically, Jericho (along with the Gaza Strip) was the first territory given to the Palestinians by Israel as part of their peace agreement in 1994. Today, the Palestinian Authority is developing the town in hopes of making it a major tourist attraction. It is also where Yasir Arafat maintained a home.
Jericho sits between Mt. Nebo in the east, the Central Mountains to the west and the Dead Sea to the south. In addition to these natural fortifications, Jericho also benefited from natural irrigation afforded by the Jordan River approximately four miles to the west, and from underground tributaries from the Central Mountains which fed her famous oasis. This irrigation resulted in teeming plant life and helped to transform Jericho into a flowing sea of green in an otherwise barren desert. Besides being old, Jericho is also one of the lowest cities in the world, about 800 feet (244 m) below sea level.
Jericho's natural resources, beauty, and natural defenses caused her to become the ideal locale for trade. These attributes also made her the source of envy and a coveted possession for invaders of ancient Palestine. Given that Jericho is located in roughly central Palestine, access to her neighboring city-states was a major key to Jericho's importance to invaders and to traders alike. Jericho's location was ideal for the establishing of trade routes and for communication exchange.
According to Jewish tradition, after the Israelites' 40-year sojourn in the desert, Joshua decides the first city in Canaan he will conquer is Jericho. God tells him that he will be victorious and instructs Joshua to have his troops march around the walls of the city once a day for six days. The force is to be led by seven priests walking beside the Ark of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments and blowing rams' horns (shofarot). On the seventh day, the troops are supposed to circle the city seven more times, then the priests are ordered to blow their horns and the soldiers to shout, and the walls of the city, God tells Joshua, will tumble down. This is precisely what happens according to the Bible (Joshua 6).
Jericho later fell to the Babylonians, but was rebuilt when the Jews were allowed to return from their exile. The city continued to be a resort during the rule of the succeeding empires. For Christians, Jericho took on importance because of its association with John the Baptist, who was said to have been baptized by the banks of the Jordan on the eastern boundary of the city (Matthew 3:13-15), and the story of the temptation of Christ (Matthew 4:1-4).
The Romans destroyed the old city in the first century, but it was rebuilt in its present location by the Byzantines. The city briefly returned to glory when Caliph Hisham Ibn Abd el-Malik built his winter palace in Jericho in 743, but an earthquake destroyed virtually the entire city just four years later. The city later fell to the Crusaders and then was recaptured by Saladin. Jericho was largely ignored and deserted for centuries afterward.
The UN partition decision allocated the area to the Arab state, but, after the 1948 war, it was controlled by Jordan. Many Arabs who left other parts of Palestine moved to the area and a number of UN refugee camps were set up. A Palestinian nationalist named Musa Alami founded an agricultural school to train refugees in 1951, which is still in operation. The territory was subsequently captured by Israel in the Six-Day War.