Jericho is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and has a fascinating and history. Situated in the West Bank near the Jordan Valley and close to the Jordan River, Jericho is a place of huge religious and historical significance for locals and tourists alike.
Jericho carries archaeological importance as it is home to many findings from the first development of permanent human settlements along with early civilization dating back 11,000 years (9000 BCE). Today, many visitors explore Jericho, including those on Biblical or Christian Pilgrimage tours, eager to visit major highlights like the Mount of Temptation, Monastery of Saint Gerasimos, and the Spring of Elisha, among others.
History of Jericho
Jericho is mentioned in the Old Testament many times, but beyond its biblical history and record, significant archaeological evidence supports its historical claims. This region has been disputed among archeologists as some findings do not correlate with the timelines and, as a result, there have been several theories about the exact history of Jericho. One thing is certain, the findings in Jericho shed light on the beginning of human development with the earliest settlements dating back to the Neolithic Age.
Around 2900 BCE, Jericho became a significant trading post for those on their way to the Jordan Valley. Even today, Jericho is still known for the same agricultural products as in the past, including dates and citrus fruit.
In 1967, Jericho came under Israel’s rule during the Six-Day War. Then, in 1994, it was the first city to be given to the Palestinian Authority after the Oslo accords. It was then returned again to the Palestinian Authority in 2005. Today, the city is considered part of the West Bank.
Jericho is situated in the lowest region on Earth and, as one of the oldest cities in the world and should, not be missed while visiting Israel. Getting there from Jerusalem is possible but not the easiest of trips to make. There are no direct buses and public transport is subject to security checkpoints. Buses are available to Ramallah from the bus terminal just outside the Old City near the Damascus Gate and several changes will be required en route. For the most up-to-date routes, it is best to inquire at any city’s central bus station.
For those interested in visiting the city and the surrounding area, it is much easier to take a guided tour. Your guide will provide a meaningful look into this historic city and the surrounding region and will take care of all border crossing procedures. Our Bethlehem, Dead Sea, Jericho, and Jordan River Tour departs every Sunday and Wednesday from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and also visits Bethlehem and the famous Dead Sea. Visitors should make sure to bring their passports with them. Israelis and Israeli passport holders may not enter Jericho since it is part of the Palestinian Territories.
What to see in Jericho
Some of the most iconic and noteworthy sites to visit include the Mount of Temptation, a site particularly important to Christian visitors, where it is believed Jesus Christ fasted after being baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. Visitors can take a cable car up the mountain for $17 USD (students only bay $15 and kids age 0-3 ride for free). Another popular site is St. George’s Monastery, founded in 480 AD, which was originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary.