We departed Tiberias, Israel and headed south to Jericho. As we drove further south, the landscape changed dramatically from the day before. We went from land that was green to a very barren environment as we got closer to Jericho.
Jericho is approximately 110 kilometers south of Tiberias. We knew we would be entering Palestinian Territory as we approached Jericho, but we weren’t quite sure of the exact spot. While we were still 20 minutes away, we passed a spot where there was an extra lane and an armed soldier. We kept driving because other people kept driving. We stopped for gas a few kilometers down the road and asked about entering Jericho and the Palestinian Territory. The young man looked at us and said, “You are in Palestine. I am Palestinian.” We all smiled, laughed and he helped us with anything we needed. Meeting new people and learning about other places in the world…….both joys of traveling!
If you’ve traveled in this area, you know the West Bank is a very divided land with different areas having different levels of security. Israel and Palestine have a very complicated history. It is one that I’m still working hard to learn about. So let’s go back thousands of years ago to the history of Jericho that we came to see.
Jericho is considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. There is evidence through archaeological exploration, which first began in Jericho in 1868, that the city’s history goes back more than 10,000 years. It is also a town that is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
Tel al-Sultan is historical Jericho and consists of mounds and ruins. What I found to be the most interesting part of it was a tower deep in the ground, the Tower of Jericho. This tower has been established to have been built in the era of 8600 – 7500 BC.
One way to see Jericho, which is situated at 223 meters below sea level, is to take the cable car. This cable car is the longest cable car/aerial tramway below sea level in the world at 1330 meters. This has been certified by Guinness World Records.
The cable car leads to the Mount of Temptation. It is believed that on this mountain is where Jesus was tempted by the devil. From the cable car station, one can walk up to the Monastery of the Temptation which can be seen in this post’s featured image. Unfortunately, the monastery closed shortly before we arrived so we were unable to visit it.
Tomorrow we will continue our exploration of Jericho……on donkeys!!!!