30 Facts about Jerusalem Everyone Should Know

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Known as one of the holiest cities in the entire world, especially for three religions in particular, Jerusalem or Yerushalayim in Israel is a city that boasts of immense culture and tradition. However, It is not only a pilgrimage site but also a very popular tourist destination owing to numerous historical monuments such as mosques, churches, temples, various quarters, markets, museums and much more. If you are planning on visiting Jerusalem and are looking for some information about this wonderful city, then keep on reading!

30 Fascinating Facts about Jerusalem

1. The Hebrew word for Jerusalem which is Yerushalayim contains the word “shalom” which signifies peace. 

2. The Jerusalem emblem features a lion (symbolising the Lion of Judah), an olive branch and a wall.

The Jerusalem emblem
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3. Jerusalem, which is the capital of Israel, is one of the oldest cities in the world and is said to have been founded as the City of David in 1010 BCE. There is also evidence of settlements here that date back to 4500 BCE.

4. It is the largest city in the country and spans an area of about 50 square miles

5. The city has been the centre of several conflicts over the years and is believed to have been captured and recaptured 44 times by groups such as the Romans, Ottoman Turks, the British, Persians etc. Over 100 battles were fought in order to gain control of Jerusalem.
                                                         
The Dome of Rock
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6. Jerusalem is an especially important city for Christians (Jesus preached, died and resurrected here), for Jews (this is where Abraham is said to have nearly sacrificed his son to God and is also the site of the First and Second Temples) and for Muslims (it is believed that Prophet Muhammad travelled to the Al-Aqsa Mosque here during his Night Journey and then ascended to heaven).

7. The city is home to about 300 Jewish synagogues, 50 Christian churches and 33 mosques

8. Mount of Olives, the world’s oldest active burial site, is located here and is also the largest and most important Jewish cemetery in the world. Numerous prominent Jewish leaders like prophets and rabbis have been buried here; nearly 1,50,000 Jewish graves are here. It is also said that Jesus Christ ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives. 

Mount of Olives in Jerusalem
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9. Jews have been the dominant ethnic group in Jerusalem since 1840.

10. The entire city of Jerusalem is walled; the walls are approximately 40 feet tall, 2.5 miles long and 8 feet thick. There are 7 gates that allow access to the city and 34 watchtowers along the walls. 

11. In order to preserve the historical look of the city, the municipal law has required for all of its structures to be covered in Jerusalem stone

12. While most of Israel is administered by the Israel Land Authority, some parts of the country, even within Jerusalem, do not belong to Israel. A large portion of land in Jerusalem is owned by different church denominations including the Knesset, the Prime Minister’s Residence, the President’s residence and the Great Synagogue.      

Knesset in Jerusalem
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13. There are over 60 museums here. The Israel Museum houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest Biblical manuscripts while the Yad Vashem is a Holocaust museum featuring more than 179 million pages of documents and 4,50,000 photographs. 

14. The city has over 2,000 active archaeological sites

15. Although located in a desert region, the city has over 1,500 public parks and gardens.
  
Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem
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16. The Garden of Gethsemane here has been mentioned in the New Testament and is believed to be where Jesus was praying before his crucifixion. Some of the olive trees here over 800 years old and are the oldest known to science

17. Jerusalem is home to the Biblical Zoo which consists of a number of animals mentioned in the Bible including the Asian Lion, Cheetah, Griffon vulture, Syrian Brown bear, sheep, Nile crocodile and common ostrich.

18. There is also a gazelle sanctuary just about a mile from the Old City Walls.       

Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
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19. Jerusalem has about over 26 wineries

20. The Kraft Family Stadium here is an American football stadium that was donated by the Kraft family (the owners of the New England Patriots) in 2017.

21. Interestingly, despite being a desert region, Jerusalem receives snowfall during the wintertime owing to its elevation of over 700 metres above sea level.                     

Snow in Jerusalem
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22. Jerusalem Day is celebrated annually and commemorates the reunification of East and West Jerusalem in 1967 following the Six-Day War. 

23. The city is known to be quite festive and hosts over 30 festivals every year, including Shavuot, Eid ul-Fitr, Christmas, Passover, Hanukkah, Purim etc. along with those for film, opera, wine tasting, sports, music, books and more. 

24. Jerusalem is famous for organising the second-largest Pride parade in Israel; it is attended by more than 25,000 people. 

 

Pride parade in Jerusalem
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25. Jerusalem and Bethlehem, in spite of being two different cities, are not too far from each other. One can see Bethlehem from the city and can get there on foot too! 

26. All around the city are Kippah shops; Kippah are skull caps worn by the men while praying to God and come in solid colours as well as intricate designs. 

27. Jerusalem is the first city in Israel to operate a light rail. It runs through the heart of the city and connects to different parts of Jerusalem.  
                                                            
Jerusalem Light Rail
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28. The Time magazine in 2015 named Jerusalem one of the fastest growing high-tech hubs in the world. 

29.The city has emergency responders on bike that are especially useful for the narrow streets of the Old City.

30. The Hadassah Hospital is the first to perform computer-guided hip replacement surgery.

There is plenty for you to know about when it comes to Jerusalem, a city that is historic and modern at the same time. With such an illustrious past that dates back thousands of years, often marked by conflict, Jerusalem is quite a captivating destination to visit owing to its cultural diversity and is sure to leave an impact on long after your visit.

This post was published by Arushi Bhowmick

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