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Jericho SignJericho

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Jericho, believed to be the oldest continuously occupied city in existence, is located 40km west of Jerusalem and 10km northwest of the Dead Sea. At a depth of 250m below sea level, it is also the lowest city on earth.

Today the town has a population of approximately 33,000.


Downtown Jericho on a hot summer afternoon.

lush foliage

Jericho is also known as the "City of Palms" an oasis in the desert thanks to its spring.

Jericho from the Tel

Jericho from Tel al-Sultan.

Even before a permanent settlement was established, its spring, Ein al-Sultan, would have made it a welcome place for the regions nomadic mesolithic hunters to make camp.

Archeological evidence suggests that the first town may have been established as early as 9000 BC, giving it a history of over 11,000 years. By 7500 BC a permanent settlement with a population of around 2000 existed on the site. The earliest discovered building, a rectangluar structure, may have been some sort of shrine for these early inhabitants.

Tel meets urban landscape

Tel meets urban landscape.


Archeological excavations on Tel al-Sultan.


Archeological excavations on Tel al-Sultan.

With summer temperatures reaching the low 40s Celcius (40 C = 104 F), it is better to visit Jericho in the winter.

Unfortunately, since the start of the 2nd Intifada, it is difficult if not impossible for tourists to get to Jericho, or to travel around the area to other nearby sites.


Women crossing the Israeli cordon around Jericho.


Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint.

bombed out building in outskirts of Jericho

Bombed out building in the outskirts of Jericho.

The Tel al-Sultan and the spring are within the city limits. For a small fee one can wander around the archeological site at will, a fascinating way to spend an afternoon.

city walls 2000BC

Ancient city Walls.

city walls 2000BC

Ancient city walls .

ancient well

Ancient well.

Due to the lack of tourists (the Israeli authorities discourage visitors and permit very few to enter Jericho), the Telepherique, the cable car travelling over the archeological site and the old city, was not running when we were there. Also, due to transportation concerns, we were never able to visit Hisham's Palace or the Monastery of the Temptation (the site at which Christ was tempted by Satan). The city is also cut off, by the Israelis, from the Dead Sea.

telepherique station

The Telepherique station, beside the entrance to the archeological site.

old meets new

Old meets new, a "Telepherique" pylon looms over the archeological site.

Cable car suspended over dig, Monastery in background.

Cable car suspended over the dig, Monastery in background on the hillside.


Ancient and modern Jericho, from the archeological site.


Ancient Jericho.

friendly little boy

A friendly (and very bored) little boy, whose father was working nearby, walked around the site with us on our first visit.

Between 2002 and 2004, it was common for the Israeli Airforce to break the sound barrier over Jericho, a gentle reminder that a bombing raid would be just as easy, and a way of keeping the civilian population in a constant state of anxiety. This occurred every time we visited Jericho. We do not know if this is still happening today.

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This page was updated on 26 November 2007.

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