You wouldn’t quite believe that a small town like Jericho in Palestine holds two of the world records for cities. While the population of Jericho houses a mere 25,000 people, its worldwide appeal stretches to thousands and millions more as the tranquil settlement of Jericho is literally, “as old as the hills”.
Jericho is oldest city in the world, and also the lowest city in the world. Above, Jericho, Palestine and in the distance, Jordan. At its lowest point, Jericho sits at 260 metres below sea level.
Evidence points to life here, 10,000 years B.C.
Top 10 Things To Do In & Around Jericho
1. Photo by the “World’s Oldest City” Sign: Getting the obligatory photo by “the world’s oldest city” sign is a must – proof you were there as I see it. The sign is at the entrance car park at the foot of the Monastery.
2. Temptation Mountain: So the story says that on Temptation Mountain Jesus refused the three temptations aimed at him by the devil. One for those Bible enthusiasts. Included in the mountain, is also the Monastery itself.
3. The Walls of Jericho: Understandably, the walls of Jericho don’t really exist anymore. Well it’s so old, other things have been built and the walls are ruined. However parts of the walls are still there to see, having been excavated out of the soil to reveal layered walls.
4. Tel Es-Sultan: These are the remains of the old city, dating back 7,000 years or so.
5. Cable Car Ride: Despite being an ancient city, modern inventions, and especially tourism are rife here including the ability to catch a cable car ride all the way to the Monastery.
6. View of the city of Jericho: Just to prove to you how low it lies, it’s nice to get a vantage point of Jericho looking down. Ask your tour guide for a decent spot to look down on the city. We took it in from a raised part of the Tel Es Sultan, though the Monastery will probably beat that.
7. Hisham’s Palace: Hisham’s Palace is on the trek away from the tourist centre and car park, a 3 kilometre walk. You’ll be rewarded with an old hunting lodge and a marvelous mosaic floor from the Byzantine period.
8. Zacchaeus Sycamore Tree: While this story may sound hard to believe, this tree in the city of Jericho is rumored to be the same tree where Zacchaeus climbed to get a decent view of Jesus preaching, which was 2,000 years ago. The tree, the same tree, is still there, in the same place.
9. King Hussein Bridge/Allenby Bridge: Don’t forget you are very close to the border with Jordan here in Jericho. Get your photo with the Jordan and Israel flags both within view and paddle in the water, this is the exit point for Palestinians if they want to leave their own country.
10. Jesus’s Baptismal Site/Qaser El Yahud: The main man that everyone talks about, Jesus, was apparently baptized on the edge of Jericho, and actually in an area which is now only separated from Jordan by a river. While crossing the border here isn’t an option, it’s a good historical spot to visit and nice to see how close Jordan is- basically – there’s just a small river to separate the two countries here!
Top photo credit only: TripAdvisor.