ISRAEL, PART 8: JERICHO

 From the internet
Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho
Joshua fought the battle of Jericho
And the walls came a-tumbling down
You may talk about your men of Gideon
You may talk about the men of Saul
But there’s none like good old Joshua
At the battle of Jericho (that mornin’)
Up to the walls of Jericho
They marched with spears in hand
“Come blow them ram horns, ” Joshua said
“‘Cause the battle is in our hands.”
Then the lamb ram sheep horns began to blow
The trumpets began to sound
Joshua commanded the children to shout
And the walls came a-tumblin’ down
– song supposedly composed by US slaves in the mid 19th Century

According to the Book of Joshua in the Bible, around 1,400 BCE, Jericho was the first city attacked by the Israelites after they crossed the Jordan River and entered Canaan. The Wall of Jericho was destroyed when the Israelites walked around it for seven days carrying the Ark of the Covenant. On the seventh day, Joshua commanded his people to blow their trumpets made of rams’ horns and shout at the walls until they finally fell down.  Excavations confirm that Jericho is one of the earliest settlements dating back to 9000 BCE. It also has the oldest known protective wall in the world. Most recent excavations have revealed stone towers which date back even further.

As with most other cities we visited, Jericho has been controlled by many factions.  In modern times, Jericho was incorporated into Jordan in 1949, after the State of Israel was created in 1948. After the Six Day War of 1967 Israel occupied the city and finally per the 1993 Oslo Accord Jericho was turned over to the Palestinian administration.

The trip to Jericho wasn’t on our itinerary, but after a vote it was decided that we needed to visit – thanks Moody!  The journey to the city was fascinating as the landscape changed drastically from small cities and flat plains to the stark beauty of the Judean  Desert:

 

 

However, Jericho, which the Hebrew Bible describes as “the city of palm trees” has numerous springs which irrigate its land (and can be thereby called an “oasis”) and as we got close to its border – this name bore fruit:

 

Here is it’s location as seen in Biblical times::

Moody’s suggestion was a hit – Jericho has quite a unique look to it – here are two of its  “downtown” citizens:

Just kidding – while the peacock and his feathered friends walked around freely, they and the camel were strictly for tourist photo opps and rides.  The continued excavation was one of the real attractions as it showed layers and layers of previous settlements.

Looking up there is another unique view – of a monastery that is literally a cliffhanger:

This is St. George’s Monastery, one of the world’s oldest in the Holy Land, which was started in the 4th Century CE.  After being destroyed by the Persians, it was rebuilt by the Crusaders, and renovations continued throughout the years until completed in 1901. Today Greek Orthodox monks reside there.

I wouldn’t suggest stepping out into the backyard.

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