Jericho is a city in Area A of Palestine (West Bank) which offers the following points of interest for tourists and photographers;
- Jericho Tell (Tell es-Sultan)
- Elisha Spring
- Mount of temptation (and view of the city)
- Sycamore tree
- Qasr al Yahud (Jesus Christ baptism site)
- Hisham’s palace
Jericho is part of Area A in Palestine, it is illegal for Israeli citizens to enter. As you enter Jericho you will pass a sign explaining you are entering Area A. Palestine is classified into 3 areas, A, B and C;
- Area A – Full control of the Palestinian authority – Israelis forbidden
- Area B – Palestinian civil control, joint Israeli-Palestinian security control – No Israeli settlements
- Area C – Full Israeli civil and security control, except over Palestinian civilians
A visit to Jericho will tick 2 items off your bucket list, Jericho is both the oldest city in the world and the lowest place on earth.
Elisha Spring is located in the town of Jericho. God used prophet Elisha who crossed over the Jordan river and prophesied at the spring which lifted the curse Joshua had put on the land. Ever since, the spring has been holy and rumor has it, if you drink the holy water from the spring you’ll be healed of your illness / problem. The holy spring is the water supply of Jericho and because of this the fruits around the city are growing in doubles.
As well as drinking from Elisha Spring, I ate some locally grown bananas and mandarins to maximize the holy water benefits.
Jericho is famous for the Mount of Temptation and monastery which are visible from all of the city. You can get to the monastery on foot which is a difficult 30 minute walk. As we are now in 2017 you can take the cable car which is an easy and picturesque 5 minute ride. The Mount of Temptation is also known as Mount Quarantania which translates to 40, the number of days of Christ’s fast. Jesus was tempted 3 times by the devil during his fast on the Mount of Temptation. Half way up the mountain you’ll find the a grotto where Jesus received the temptation to turn stone into bread.
With each temptation, Jesus refused with a quotation from the Book of Deuteronomy. The devil then left and angels brought food to Jesus, who was ready to eat after his 40 day fast. For more information about this I recommend you read the bible.
Tell es Sultan archaeological site is a UNESCO world heritage site which dates back over 10,000 years. If you thought your country had history, this takes history to a whole new level. British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon surveyed the site of Tell es Sultan from 1952 – 1958. She confirmed that the site dates back to the Natufian hunter-gatherers age, over 10,000 years ago, whilst visiting Tell es Sultan you’ll see her excavation site.
Another site at Tell es Sultan are the walls of Jericho, most people will have heard of these. The walls of Jericho were built around 8000 BC making Jericho the oldest walled city in the world, another one for the bucket list! The Tower of Jericho is located here too which is one of the earliest stone monuments of mankind, perhaps the oldest.
On the Palestine / Jordan border just outside of Jericho you’ll find Qasr al Yahud, the baptism site of Jesus. Whilst driving out to Qasr al Yahud you’ll pass the sycamore fig tree in Jericho. This sycamore fig tree is actually called Zacchaeus, it is the famous tree which Zacchaeus climbed to see Jesus when he came to Jericho, the tree is over 2000 years old.
At Qasr al Yahud you’ll see Palestinian soldiers on one side and Jordanian soldiers on the other side so it’s not recommended to swim over. You are free to get baptized if desired. I have to admit I put my hand in the water out of curiosity.
The views you’ll see from the road on the way to the capital city of Ramallah are amazing. As you wind around the mountain the views of the valley below become more impressive. The journey to Ramallah takes less than an hour, Ramallah is also in Area A of Palestine.