Get to know these fascinating UNHEARD facts about Jerusalem!

If you thought you knew all there was to know about Jerusalem, think again! Get ready to be wowed with our list of fascinating facts about Jerusalem that you've never heard of!

The Holy City of Jerusalem is thousands of years old, teeming with ancient Biblical history and the scene of dramatic events whose aftershocks still reverberate today. From the Temple Mount to the Kotel, from the City of David to the Mount of Olives, each site has a story to tell. In the past, in the present, and in the future Jerusalem is at the center of it all!

From all over the Holy Land, hundreds of thousands of people would take the ancient paths toward Jerusalem to celebrate the three-foot festivals of Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot. The city would be filled with rejoicing as they came to pray and bring the choicest offerings to the Holy Temple. The importance of Jerusalem cannot be understated as it was the jewel in the crown of so many empires that desired control of the Holy City. From the Kings, David to Herod, the Roman and Syrian-Greek Empires, all the way to the Ottoman Turks and British Mandate, Jerusalem was the ultimate prize!

Jerusalem: A city with a history like no other.

In 1000 BCE, King David captured the Holy City of Jerusalem, and the first Jewish capital city was declared! Forty years later, it was his son, the great and wise King Solomon, who would build the magnificent first Temple of Jerusalem, which would become the permanent resting place for the Holy Ark, which contained the Ten Commandments. A place where the Jewish people could come at the appointed times during the year to bring offerings and partake in services, such as the monumental service of the High Preist, which occurred once a year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

In 586 BCE, the Temple was tragically destroyed at the hands of the Babylonians, leading to the exile of a large portion of Israel's Jewish population. But then, a mere 70 years later, the ruler of the Persian Empire, Cyrus the Great, would defeat the Babylonians, taking control of Jerusalem and permitting the Jews to return, led by the great prophets Ezra and Nehemiah, and eventually rebuild the Second Temple. It would eventually be expanded by King Herod before its destruction at the hands of the Roman Empire in 70 CE. But that would not be the end of the story of Jerusalem and the Jewish people as thousands of years later, in 1967, Jerusalem would come under Israeli control during the six-day war.

Seven fascinating facts about the Holy City of Jerusalem!

1: Jerusalem has been captured many times

Never in history have so many battles been fought over one city! At the last count, 16 wars were fought for control of Jerusalem, and it has been captured and recaptured 44 times! King David, The Babylonians, the Persian Empire, the Greek-Syrian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Ottomans, and most recently, the British, have all at some point been in control of Jerusalem. But the final capture was by the Young State of Israel in 1967!

2: Jerusalem has thousands of active archaeological sites

Jerusalem is over 5,000 years old and filled with such a monumental history, which is still being revealed today through thousands of active, incredible archaeological sites manned by professional staff and volunteers. Most prominent among them is the Temple Mount Sifting Project, in which tonnes of dirt and debris were saved from an illegal rubbish dump outside of the Old City Walls, with precious artifacts being discovered there even today!

3: The capital of not one but three Jewish states

Jerusalem is not just the capital of the modern-day State of Israel. If we dive back into history, we discover that Jerusalem was first the capital of the ancient kingdom of Israel, and later, following the split of the Kingdom, Jerusalem would function as the capital of Judea!

4: Jerusalem, at the center of it all

If you look at ancient maps of the world, you may notice that Israel, with Jerusalem at its center, is the center of the entire world! It is central to the hearts, minds, and souls of the Jewish people. Did you know that wherever we find ourselves in the world, we pray towards the direction of Jerusalem?
5: Jerusalem's weather is unique!

Right outside the borders of Jerusalem is the Judean Desert, and on occasion, the entire city gets caked in orange sandstorms, typically in the days leading up to the Passover festival, after we have just washed out cars! During the winters, it can get bone-chillingly cold and even snowy! But Jerusalem's location and elevation in the mountains are greatly beneficial during the long summers when the temperatures drop, and a cool breeze brings relief to the residents.

6: Jerusalem: The most beautiful city in the world

We know Jerusalem is beautiful. It is majestic. From the Old City, to the Mount of Olives the beautiful panoramic viewpoints and botanical gardens, it is truly mesmerizing. And it makes sense because, after all, as it says in the Talmud, Ten measures of beauty were given to the world. Nine were taken by Jerusalem, and one was distributed all over earth.

7: Do you know what Jerusalem means

The name Jerusalem is a combination of two Hebrew words: yireh, which means 'will see', and shalem meaning 'peace'. Following the incident of the binding of Isaac, which took place where the Temple Mount in Jerusalem stands today, the Torah states that our forefather Abraham named the place “G‑d will see." Before this episode, the city was called 'Shalem' (Salem). So together, we get Jerusalem, meaning 'will see peace'!

Today, as has always been the case, Jerusalem is growing and thriving.

While the Old City of Jerusalem remains the same, with ancient sites still standing proud outside, Jerusalem is reaching new heights. Modern skyscrapers are being built for the growing population and immigration of Jewish families coming home from around the world. Wherever you go across this magnificent city, evidence of its illustrious Biblical past is present. Burial places of prophets remains of ancient Synagogues, and in the City of David, whole streets from the past! Head to the Kotel on a Shabbat or a Jewish festival and join thousands of prayer-goers as they touch the thousands of year-old stones of the Western Wall and connect with God. There is truly no city like Jerusalem, and there never will be!

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