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View over Jericho
Administration : Palastina autonomous areasPalestine Palestinian Territories
Area: West Bank
Governorate : Jericho
Founded : 9000 BC Chr.
Coordinates : 31 ° 51 '  N , 35 ° 28'  E Coordinates: 31 ° 51 '20 "  N , 35 ° 27' 44"  E
Height : −250 m
Area : 59  km²
Residents : 22,006 (2014)
Population density : 373 inhabitants per km²
Time zone : UTC + 2
Telephone code : (+970) 02
Community type: city
Mayor : Hassan Saleh
Jericho (Palestinian Territories)

Jericho ( Hebrew יְרִיחוֹ; Arabic أريحا Ariha , DMG ʾArīḥā ) is a city in the Palestinian Territories on the west bank of the Jordan . Due to its location in the Jordan Valley , it is the lowest city in the world; the city center is around 250 meters below sea ​​level , around seven kilometers west of the border with Jordan and around ten kilometers north of the Dead Sea . The city is nicknamed the Palm City.

The place, whose name is derived from the moon god Jarich , is located on an old trade or caravan route. Today's population is around 22,000. Jericho calls itself the " oldest city in the world ", but the first city walls are only documented about 2000 years after the first settlement. According to archaeological findings, Jericho has fallen into ruins several times and has been rebuilt after long interruptions.



The first traces of settlement near today's city go back to the 10th millennium BC. BC back. During the Pre-Ceramic Neolithic B (PPNB), agriculture and cattle breeding can be traced on Tell es-Sultan . According to the archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon, a city wall (as yet unexplained) was built no later than about 8300 BC. In addition to the tower of Jericho and probably defensive structures. According to other archaeologists, it was a protective wall against the winter rains from the mountains. At that time, the settlement is estimated to have around 3000 residents. However, pottery and metalworking were still unknown. After a period without settlement, at the end of the 7th millennium BC New types of settlement findings, such as the construction of the now rectangular houses and a new cult of the dead . Around 5500 BC The inhabitants left the settlement at Tell es-Sultan again for unknown reasons. A horizon of destruction is not recognizable.

Over the next 1000 years, Jericho was abandoned and repopulated several times. Around the 5th millennium, new settlers brought the pottery trade to the city. The new houses were now square in shape. In the period that followed, there were new settlements, which are attested by the changed construction of the houses with bricks and stone foundations. Around 4000 BC This settlement phase ended. Jericho fell into disrepair and remained an abandoned ruin for several centuries.

Early Bronze Age (3300–2000 BC)

After a long pause in settlement, finds from the grave complexes in the neighboring hills reveal a renewed construction in the Early Bronze Age I (3300-3000 BC). Two different settlement groups must have inhabited Jericho because of two types of ceramic ware . With the immigrant shepherds, the residents laid the foundation for the Bronze Age urban culture with their activities . Jericho received two curtain walls during the Early Bronze Age II-III (3000–2200 BC). The numerous construction phases suggest increasing armed conflicts. A trench was added later. In this epoch the living quarters consisted of round and rectangular houses.

The objects found refer to numerous trade relations, especially with Syria , Anatolia and Egypt . At the end of the Early Bronze Age III B, Jericho was destroyed by a fire disaster, possibly caused by an earthquake . On Tell es-Sultan , with the beginning of the Early Bronze Age IV / Middle Bronze Age I (2200–2000 BC) a new settlement on a smaller scale could be proven. The residents there were probably cattle breeders and semi-nomads , but their origins are not clear. In this epoch, which lasted until around 1950 BC. Chr. Lasted, new tombs were introduced, which were accessed via vertical shafts. It is also noteworthy that the graves, which only served individuals during this period of settlement, were more or less lavishly furnished according to the rank or property status of the respective deceased.

Middle Bronze Age (2000–1550 BC)

Canaanite settlers did not build the new place on the ruins of Jerichos until 400 years after the destruction. The Hyksos extended it to an area of ​​more than four hectares and surrounded it with a city wall. 1550 BC It is proven that Jericho was destroyed by a conflagration. Another earthquake was probably partly responsible. In addition, a downward shift to the east of the ground in the south-east of the city that was detected at the same time indicates an earthquake. Earlier research suspected the ancient Egyptian king Ahmose I in connection with the Hyksos expulsion as the reason for the destruction of Jerichos. Only for this period is a wall for protection purposes also considered proven, but was no later than 1580 BC. And thus, according to some scholars, destroyed long before the time of the biblical Joshua.

Late Bronze Age (1550–1150 BC)

Ceramic ware , partly imported from Cyprus , as well as several scarabs from Hatshepsut , Thutmose III, found in the surrounding graves . and Amenhotep III. prove that Jericho was after the 1550 BC. The 15th century BC was destroyed. It was inhabited until the Late Bronze Age II A (1400–1300 BC). Further evidence is a cuneiform tablet and some remains of houses from the southeastern local area. In contrast to the earlier local area, however, there was less development with a village character. The latest excavations confirm that the destroyed earlier city walls were not rebuilt and that the place had no city wall at this time.

Also in the surrounding areas since the reign of Thutmose III. Hardly any fortifications can be proven. The reasons for this finding are likely to be related to the political rulership of Egypt. At least since the beginning of the 13th century BC. Jericho was just an uninhabited hill of ruins. The reasons for the abandonment are unknown. A horizon of destruction is not recognizable.

In the 11th or 10th century BC New colonization attempts can be determined.

Research history

The archaeological site of Tell es-Sultan

Charles Warren undertook the first archaeological excavations in 1868. Ernst Sellin and Carl Watzinger excavated Tell es-Sultan between 1907 and 1909 and Tulul Abu al-'Alaiq in 1911. John Garstang led excavations between 1930 and 1936. Major research using modern technology was undertaken by Kathleen Kenyon between 1952 and 1958 . Since 1997, a team from La Sapienza University (Rome), led by Lorenzo Nigro and the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Palestine, has been carrying out investigations and restoration work on the ruins.

Tell it-Sultan

The earliest settlement was at today's Tell es-Sultan (or Tell Sultan ), two kilometers northwest of today's city center ( 31 ° 52 ′ 15.8 ″  N , 35 ° 26 ′ 38.1 ″  E ). In particular, the archaeological findings of the Neolithic dating back up to 13,000 years are of global importance. These include the oldest stone buildings of mankind, as well as the oldest staircase. Since 1868 Jericho is considered to be the oldest city in the world, with the restriction that Jericho was initially just a large settlement with a village character. On the other hand, Tell Brak in Syria is the oldest known city , where a division into functional areas from the early 4th millennium BC is typical for a city. Existed.

Herodian winter palaces

Walls made in opus reticulatum technique in Herod the Great's Winter Palace
The late antique oasis city of Jericho (bottom center) in its surrounding area ( mosaic map of Madaba ).

The pleasant winter climate at Jericho prompted at the end of the 2nd century BC. The Hasmonean kings built winter palaces ( 31 ° 51 ′ 1 ″  N , 35 ° 26 ′ 0.2 ″  E ) at the exit of the Wadi Qelt . The oasis provided fertile soil and abundant spring water for creating gardens, fields and for growing dates. In addition, it was only a day's journey from Jerusalem.

Even Herod the Great built here - much bigger and grander than its predecessors. His first palace was built from 36 BC. On the south side of the Wadi Qelt in Roman architecture with a large peristyle courtyard , which was surrounded by rooms on three sides. On the fourth side there was a large guest hall with a colonnade. As an innovation for the region, he also had a bathhouse built in the Roman style.

When his palace suffered an earthquake in 31 BC. Was destroyed, Herod built a new one on the north side of Wadi Qelt next to the old palace of his predecessors. It was given a large (32 × 18 m) swimming pool and was surrounded by gardens. Finally, Herod had a third palace built on both sides of the wadi, which stretched over three hectares. A bridge led over the wadi and connected both areas. Since some walls were built with Roman cement and opus reticulatum , it is believed that Roman craftsmen were involved in the construction.

The artificial hills known today as Tulul Abu al-Alaiq also belong to the complex. Until the Jewish uprising against Rome (66-70), the square was used by members of the royal family.

Khirbat al-Mafjar

Five kilometers north of Jericho is the former Umayyad palace complex Khirbat al-Mafjar ( 31 ° 52 ′ 57 "  N , 35 ° 27 ′ 35"  E ), also known as the "Palace of Hisham ". The complex is one of the oldest and most archaeologically and historically significant secular buildings in Palestine. The site was first examined archaeologically in the 1930s, and extensive restoration and excavation work has been taking place there again since 1990.

Today's city

Shoe seller in the central square in Jericho (2006)

The current city of Ariha was conquered by Israel in the Six Day War in 1967 . It was the first city Israel handed over to the Palestinian Authority after the Oslo Accords in 1994 . The main road No. 90 to the north was relocated to the east, the exit there closed. This made Jericho a border town. The pre-processing of residents of the autonomous areas who travel to Jordan over the Allenby Bridge takes place here.

Even after the Sharm El Sheikh Agreement of February 2005, which officially ended the Second Intifada , Jericho was the first city to return to Palestinian control on March 16, 2005. However, the Israeli army is still stationed at the strategically important intersection in front of the city with a checkpoint.

There is a Palestinian prison in Jericho, where Ahmad Sa'adat , leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine , was held from 2002 to 2006 on the basis of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement . The Israeli government blames him for the murder of the tourism minister, Rechaw'am Ze'ewi . On March 14, 2006, the British and US observers who monitored compliance with this agreement were withdrawn, and shortly afterwards the prison was stormed by the Israeli army. As a result, there were Palestinian protests and attacks against citizens of Western states.


As a result of its geographic and topographical location, Jericho's climate is characterized by long, extremely hot and extremely dry summers in which there is almost no rainfall. Temperatures of over 40 ° C are normal in midsummer. In contrast, the winters, albeit very short, are comparatively cool and humid; at night temperatures often drop below freezing point. During the day, however, temperatures of 20 ° C are usually reached.


Greek Orthodox Qarantal Monastery ("Monastery of Temptation")

The first Palestinian casino , financed by the Austrian BAWAG bank and operated by the Austrian Casinos Austria , opened in Jericho in 1998 . Only Israelis and holders of foreign passports were allowed to play. Because of the gambling ban in Israel, the influx was very large, but with the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada, the driveway was closed and the Oasis Casino had to close. During the BAWAG trial, which caused great political excitement in Austria, the deal, in which Martin Schlaff was also involved, was discussed .

There are a few hotels and a water park on the outskirts.

To the west of the city is the Mount of Temptation with the Greek Orthodox Qarantal Monastery. In 1999 the Austrian -made Jericho cable car was built on this mountain. On the occasion of the year 2000 it was supposed to become a tourist counterpoint to Massada , but is more used by Palestinian visitors.

Also to the west of the city is the Wadi Qelt , a ravine that leads towards Jerusalem and is accessible via a narrow road. In the rock there is the picturesque Greek Orthodox monastery of St. George . Visiting this valley is popular with tourists, but it is no longer in the autonomous region. The road is in a very bad condition and was torn up a few meters near the monastery so that tourists would not drive on it. The access is therefore almost always via main road 1.

The number of tourists for 2009 is given as 1.5 million.

Jericho in the Bible

The biblical battle for Jericho ( Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld , 19th century)
Old Testament: The Fall of Jericho ( Jean Fouquet , around 1420)

For Jewish and Christian pilgrims , Jericho was the last stop before the arduous climb to Jerusalem . The city is located in the Jordan Depression and, because of its warmer microclimate, served the rulers of Jerusalem as a place to stay in winter.

According to the Book of Joshua , Jericho, inhabited by Jebusites , was the first city west of the Jordan to be conquered and destroyed by the Israelites when they took the land . The name of the Jericho trumpet is derived from the case of Jerichos mentioned in the Bible, in which the sound of trumpets, more precisely seven shofars , is said to have caused the collapse of the city ​​walls ( Jos 6: 4–20  LUT ).

Whoever rebuilds it is cursed. His first child should die when the city is re-established, his youngest child when the gates are in place ( Jos 6,26  EU ). Later, under King Ahab ( 1 Kings 16.34  EU ), Jericho was fortified again, and the oldest and youngest children of the builder are said to have died. The city was in between but not completely uninhabited, because even at the time of the judges again by a conquest of Jericho by Moab is reported ( Ri 3.13  GNB ).

Archaeological findings do not correspond to the Old Testament descriptions. Jericho was like that in the 14th century BC. A small as well as unfortified village that was abandoned and during the 13th century BC. Remained uninhabited. Since Jericho, like almost all Canaanite cities, was unfortified, there was no city wall at that time. On the basis of these results some historians tried a long time ago to explain the absence of the wall through environmental influences, which made the demonstrable layer "disappeared through soil erosion".

No evidence whatsoever can be established for a capture of Jericho and its destruction in Old Testament times. The biblical description of Jericho shows similarities with the situation in the Middle Bronze Age . The later destruction by the conflagration and the earthquake may possibly have flowed into the Old Testament descriptions as a regional tradition. More likely, however, is the formation of legends in the face of the ruins.

In the New Testament Jericho is mentioned several times, for example, according to Lk 19.1–10  LUT , Jesus meets the tax collector Zacchaeus in Jericho , and according to Mk 10.46–52  LUT he is said to have healed the blind Bartimaeus here. On the Mount of Temptation (Arabic: Jabal al Qurunţul ) near Jericho, he is said to have fasted for 40 days and resisted the temptations of Satan ( Mt 4,1-4  EU ), in the 6th century the Greek became at this place -orthodox monastery Qarantal built. More recently, archaeological excavations have found the remains of the fortress Dok , where the ethnarch Simon and two of his sons are said to have been murdered at the time of the Maccabees' uprising .

The Mount of Temptation near Jericho is the scene of many Bible stories.

Town twinning

Jericho has eight town twinning agreements with:

city country since
Alessandria Alessandria-Stemma.gif ItalyItaly Piedmont, Italy 2004
Campinas Brasão da Cidade de Campinas.png BrazilBrazil São Paulo, Brazil 2001
Iași ROU IS Iasi CoA.png RomaniaRomania Moldova, Romania 2003
Ilio Ilion Siegel.png GreeceGreece Attica, Greece 1999
Lærdal Lærdal komm.svg NorwayNorway Vestland, Norway 1998
Pisa Pisa-stemma 2.svg ItalyItaly Tuscany, Italy 2000
San Giovanni Valdarno San Giovanni Valdarno-Stemma.png ItalyItaly Tuscany, Italy 2003
Santa Bárbara d'Oeste Brasao SantaBarbaradOeste SaoPaulo Brasil.svg BrazilBrazil São Paulo, Brazil 1998

In addition, there is cooperation between Jericho and other cities in Japan, Germany, France, Italy, South Africa, USA, Austria and Great Britain.


  • Shakir al-Absi (1955–2008), leader of the Sunni radical Islamic underground organization Fatah al-Islam

See also


  • Jürgen Bischoff: The oldest village in the world. In: GEO. Issue 1/2008, p. 164.
  • Israel Finkelstein , Neil Asher Silberman : No Trumpets Before Jericho. The Archaeological Truth About the Bible. Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-55531-4 .
  • Kathleen M. Kenyon : Digging up Jericho. Benn, London 1957.
  • Kathleen M. Kenyon, Thomas A. Holland: Excavations at Jericho. Vol. 5. The pottery phases of the tell and other finds. British School of Archeology in Jerusalem, London 1983, ISBN 0-9500542-5-9 .
  • Kathleen M. Kenyon: Excavations at Jericho. Volume 3. The architecture and stratigraphy of the Tell . British School of Archeology in Jerusalem, London 1981, ISBN 0-9500542-3-2 .
  • Hamdan Taha, Ali Qleibo: Jericho, a Living History: Ten Thousand Years of Civilization. Jerusalem 2010, ISBN 978-9950-351-02-8 , online in the Internet archive ( Memento from October 26, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF, 8.1 MB).
  • Schrobsdorff, Angelika: "Jericho - A love story" (German April 2000, 5th edition, ISBN 3-423-12317-6 )

Web links

Commons : Jericho  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Jericho  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Palestinian Central Statistical Office
  2. a b c Jürgen Bischoff: The oldest village in the world in GEO issue 1/2008 p. 164.
  3. ^ Israel Finkelstein, Neil Asher Silberman: No Trumpets Before Jericho. P. 90.
  4. Dirk Husemann: Tell Brak - The oldest city in the world. ( Memento from 7 December 2016 in the Internet Archive ) In: Bild der Wissenschaft, issue 10/2012, p. 74.
  5. Jericho - The Winter Palace of King Herod
  6. Mosaics in the "Palace of Hisham" (English), accessed on November 29, 2016.
  7. ^ Jericho group cable car
  8. ^ Jericho Cablecar
  9. 10,000. Birthday without guests , n-tv on October 24, 2010
  10. ^ Israel Finkelstein, Neil Asher Silberman: No Trumpets Before Jericho , p. 96.
  11. Twinning Relations on the Jericho site. Retrieved February 27, 2017 .