59 Facts About Jerusalem


The part of Jerusalem called the City of David shows first signs of settlement in the 4th millennium BCE, in the shape of encampments of nomadic shepherds.

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In 2015, Jerusalem had a population of some 850, 000 residents, comprising approximately 200, 000 secular Jewish Israelis, 350, 000 Haredi Jews and 300, 000 Palestinians.

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Today, the status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

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All branches of the Israeli government are located in Jerusalem, including the Knesset, the residences of the Prime Minister (Beit Aghion) and President (Beit HaNassi), and the Supreme Court.

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Name "Jerusalem" is variously etymologized to mean "foundation of the god Shalem"; the god Shalem was thus the original tutelary deity of the Bronze Age city.

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One of the earliest extra-biblical Hebrew writing of the word Jerusalem is dated to the sixth or seventh century BCE and was discovered in Khirbet Beit Lei near Beit Guvrin in 1961.

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An ancient settlement of Jerusalem, founded as early as the Bronze Age on the hill above the Gihon Spring, was, according to the Bible, named Jebus.

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When Hezekiah ruled, Jerusalem had no fewer than 25, 000 inhabitants and covered 25 acres.

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The choice was perhaps dictated by the fact that Jerusalem did not form part of Israel's tribal system, and was thus suited to serve as the center of its confederation.

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Sometime soon after 485 BCE Jerusalem was besieged, conquered and largely destroyed by a coalition of neighbouring states.

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Jerusalem resumed its role as capital of Judah and center of Jewish worship.

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In 63 BCE, Pompey the Great intervened in a struggle for the Hasmonean throne and captured Jerusalem, extending the influence of the Roman Republic over Judea.

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Jerusalem built walls, towers and palaces, and expanded the Temple Mount, buttressing the courtyard with blocks of stone weighing up to 100 tons.

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Jerusalem was captured in 1073 by the Seljuk Turkish commander Atsiz.

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Messianic Karaite movement to gather in Jerusalem took place at the turn of the millennium, leading to a "Golden Age" of Karaite scholarship there, which was only terminated by the Crusades.

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However, for most of the 13th century, Jerusalem declined to the status of a village due to city's fall of strategic value and Ayyubid internecine struggles.

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From 1229 to 1244, Jerusalem peacefully reverted to Christian control as a result of a 1229 treaty agreed between the crusading Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and al-Kamil, the Ayyubid sultan of Egypt, that ended the Sixth Crusade.

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In 1244, Jerusalem was sacked by the Khwarezmian Tatars, who decimated the city's Christian population and drove out the Jews.

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Jerusalem commissioned the building of the Madrasa al-Ashrafiyya, completed in 1482, and the nearby Sabil of Qaytbay, built shortly after in 1482; both were located on the Temple Mount.

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Jerusalem enjoyed a prosperous period of renewal and peace under Suleiman the Magnificent—including the rebuilding of magnificent walls around the Old City.

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The English reference book Modern history or the present state of all nations, written in 1744, stated that "Jerusalem is still reckoned the capital city of Palestine, though much fallen from its ancient grandeaur".

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In 1872 Jerusalem became the center of a special administrative district, independent of the Syria Vilayet and under the direct authority of Istanbul called the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem.

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Israeli authorities neglected to protect the tombs in the Muslim Mamilla Cemetery in West Jerusalem, which contains the remains of figures from the early Islamic period, facilitating the creation of a parking lot and public lavatories in 1964.

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The Israeli Foreign Ministry disputes that the annexation of Jerusalem was a violation of international law.

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The final status of Jerusalem has been one of the most important areas of discord between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators for peace.

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From 1923 until 1948, Jerusalem served as the administrative capital of Mandatory Palestine.

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From 1949 until 1967, West Jerusalem served as Israel's capital, but was not recognized as such internationally because UN General Assembly Resolution 194 envisaged Jerusalem as an international city.

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On 27 June 1967, the government of Levi Eshkol extended Israeli law and jurisdiction to East Jerusalem, but agreed that administration of the Temple Mount compound would be maintained by the Jordanian waqf, under the Jordanian Ministry of Religious Endowments.

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The Oslo Accords stated that the final status of Jerusalem would be determined by negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

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Under the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1947, Jerusalem was envisaged to become a corpus separatum administered by the United Nations.

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The international community largely considers the legal status of Jerusalem to derive from the partition plan, and correspondingly refuses to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the city.

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At the time of Ben Gurion's proclamations and the ensuing Knesset vote of 24 January 1950, Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Jordan, and thus the proclamation only applied to West Jerusalem.

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The Jerusalem Law was condemned by the international community, which did not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

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The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 478 on 20 August 1980, which declared that the Jerusalem Law is "a violation of international law", is "null and void and must be rescinded forthwith".

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In 1995, the United States Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which required, subject to conditions, that its embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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On 14 May 2018, the United States officially moved the location of its embassy to Jerusalem, transforming its Tel Aviv location into a consulate.

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Palestinian National Authority views East Jerusalem as occupied territory according to United Nations Security Council Resolution 242.

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The Palestinian Authority claims Jerusalem, including the Haram al-Sharif, as the capital of the State of Palestine, The PLO claims that West Jerusalem is subject to permanent status negotiations.

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PLO's position is that East Jerusalem, as defined by the pre-1967 municipal boundaries, shall be the capital of Palestine and West Jerusalem the capital of Israel, with each state enjoying full sovereignty over its respective part of the city and with its own municipality.

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Jerusalem is situated on the southern spur of a plateau in the Judaean Mountains, which include the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus (North East).

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Along the southern side of old Jerusalem is the Valley of Hinnom, a steep ravine associated in biblical eschatology with the concept of Gehenna or Hell.

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In biblical times, Jerusalem was surrounded by forests of almond, olive and pine trees.

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Water supply has always been a major problem in Jerusalem, as attested to by the intricate network of ancient aqueducts, tunnels, pools and cisterns found in the city.

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Many main streets in Jerusalem were not built to accommodate such a large volume of traffic, leading to traffic congestion and more carbon monoxide released into the air.

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Since medieval times, the Old City of Jerusalem has been divided into Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Armenian quarters.

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Nevertheless, the population of Jerusalem continues to rise due to the high birth rate, especially in the Haredi Jewish and Arab communities.

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Arab residents of Jerusalem who choose not to have Israeli citizenship are granted an Israeli identity card that allows them to pass through checkpoints with relative ease and to travel throughout Israel, making it easier to find work.

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Arabs in Jerusalem can send their children to Israeli-run schools, although not every neighborhood has one, and universities.

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In 2008, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reported the number of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem was 208, 000 according to a recently completed census.

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Jerusalem has been sacred to Judaism for roughly 3000 years, to Christianity for around 2000 years, and to Islam for approximately 1400 years.

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Jerusalem has been the holiest city in Judaism and the ancestral and spiritual homeland of the Jewish people since King David proclaimed it his capital in the 10th century BCE.

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The Gospel of John describes it as being located outside Jerusalem, but recent archaeological evidence suggests Golgotha is a short distance from the Old City walls, within the present-day confines of the city.

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The government, centered in Jerusalem, generates a large number of jobs, and offers subsidies and incentives for new business initiatives and start-ups.

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Jerusalem is served by highly developed communication infrastructures, making it a leading logistics hub for Israel.

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Jerusalem is home to several prestigious universities offering courses in Hebrew, Arabic and English.

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The Rockefeller Museum, located in East Jerusalem, was the first archaeological museum in the Middle East.

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Jerusalem is home to the Palestinian National Theatre, which engages in cultural preservation as well as innovation, working to rekindle Palestinian interest in the arts.

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Jerusalem Marathon, established in 2011, is an international marathon race held annually in Jerusalem in the month of March.

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In 2012, the Jerusalem Marathon drew 15, 000 runners, including 1, 500 from fifty countries outside Israel.

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