Jericho, the oldest town in the world
Jericho is famous for being the oldest city in the world, nearly 9,000 years B.C. to the present day, Jericho is a haven of peace in the middle of the desert. It is the lowest city in the world about 250 metres below sea level in the Jordan Valley. Since 1993, it has been located in zone A, which is part of the Palestinian territory. It is also known as "the city of palm trees", thanks to its fertile and water-rich soils, very particular in this arid geographical area.
According to the Bible (Old Testament), it is recalled that Jericho was the first city in the Holy Land to fall into the hands of the Israelites under the orders of Moses' successor, Joshua, upon their entry into the Promised Land in 1200 B.C.
The city was conquered by Joshua and the Israelites after the establishment of an extraordinary military strategy and a mysterious ritual.
According to the Bible account, Joshua sent two spies who went to Rahab, a prostitute who offered them shelter and food. In exchange they promised not to touch her or her family during the siege of the city.
The spies, after learning the ins and outs of the city's weak points from Rahab, returned to Joshua and prepared for the attack.
It is recalled that Jericho's ramparts were impassable. Joshua ordered to go around the city three times while blowing the trumpet and a sign came down from heaven. During the third tour, Jericho's walls gave way and the city was taken by Joshua.
The multitude of archaeological sites in Jericho demonstrates the imprint of religion on this city and the work of the inhabitants who have succeeded one another and who have paid, through their heritage, a tribute to their God or divinities.
Visit the Mount of Temptation, a must for anybody visiting Jericho
The Quarantine Monastery is a Greek Orthodox monastery built more than 350m high above sea level.
In the New Testament he tells the story of Jesus' Temptation by the devil for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert.
It was built in the 12th century and was renovated in the 19th century.
Easily accessible by cable car, we will reach the middle of the Judean desert.
From the mountain we can contemplate the splendid Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, the mountains of Jordan and also, on a clear day, it is possible to see the city of Amman, capital of the Hashemite Kingdom.
Being accompanied by a tour guide will allow to experiences the atmosphere of this highly symbolic place.
Archaeological site called Hisham’s Palace
Near the bottom of the fortress is an archaeological site called "Hisham's Palace.
It is built in three parts, the first one is the palace, filled with places reserved for agriculture.
The archaeological excavations were carried out by American archaeologists named Hamilton and Baramki in the late 20th century.
Their work has brought to light sumptuous statues and presents the life under the first Muslim dynasty, more commonly known as the Umayyad dynasty.
The palace is named after Hisham Abd El'Malik and it was built in 743 AD.
The infamous history of this palace is well known because only 4 years after its construction, it was destroyed by an earthquake.
Jericho is located on the Syrio-African fault, and every century a great earthquake strikes the area around the Jordan Valley.
Archaeological research has allowed us to enjoy magnificent mosaics of the Hisham Palace, which bear witness to Muslim art in the 8th century.
It is striking to see effigies of animals and characters, totally prohibited according to Islam.
According to a theory given by Historians, at the beginning of Islam, the religion was not yet very well constitutionalized and ancestral rites and customs still resided.
Among the mosaics, we can see a magnificent tree with branches filled with fruit. To its left, a lion trying to eat a deer. On the right, we can see a calm landscape with two deers.
This mosaic as a whole is called the "Tree of Life".
Some remains of Hisham's palace are now at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.