What is the Capital City of Israel?

City Overview

Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel, is a city steeped in history, religion, and culture. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, with a history that spans over 5,000 years. Located in the Judean Mountains between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea, Jerusalem is a place of immense significance for the three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The city’s rich historical and cultural tapestry is evident in its numerous landmarks, ancient architecture, and vibrant neighborhoods.

City Facts

  • Area: 125.1 square kilometers
  • Population: Approximately 936,425 (as of 2021)
  • Time Zone: Israel Standard Time (IST), UTC +2; Israel Daylight Time (IDT), UTC +3 (during daylight saving time)
  • Highest Mountain: Mount Herzl, approximately 834 meters above sea level
  • Longest River: The Kidron Valley, which stretches about 32 kilometers

Major Landmarks

The Old City

The Old City of Jerusalem is a walled area within the modern city and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is divided into four quarters: the Jewish Quarter, the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, and the Armenian Quarter. Each quarter has its own unique character and historical significance.

The Western Wall

The Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism. It is a remnant of the Second Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. The wall is a place of prayer and pilgrimage for Jews from around the world.

The Dome of the Rock

The Dome of the Rock is an Islamic shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City. It is one of the oldest works of Islamic architecture and is significant to Muslims as the site where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven during the Night Journey.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of the holiest sites in Christianity. It is believed to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. The church is a major pilgrimage destination for Christians.

The Israel Museum

The Israel Museum is the largest cultural institution in Israel and one of the leading art and archaeology museums in the world. It houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, an extensive collection of Jewish artifacts, and a vast array of art from around the world.

Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem is Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. It serves as a museum, research center, and educational institution dedicated to preserving the memory of the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust.

Mount of Olives

The Mount of Olives is a mountain ridge east of Jerusalem’s Old City. It has been used as a Jewish cemetery for over 3,000 years and is also significant in Christian tradition as the place where Jesus ascended to heaven.

The Knesset

The Knesset is the legislative branch of the Israeli government and is located in the Givat Ram neighborhood of Jerusalem. It is the center of political life in Israel and houses the offices of the Prime Minister and other government officials.

The Tower of David

The Tower of David, also known as the Jerusalem Citadel, is an ancient fortress near the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City. It houses a museum that showcases the history of Jerusalem through various periods.

The Garden Tomb

The Garden Tomb is a site outside the Old City walls that some Protestant Christians believe to be the burial and resurrection site of Jesus. It offers a peaceful garden setting for reflection and prayer.

Climate Overview

Jerusalem has a Mediterranean climate, characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The city’s elevation (about 754 meters or 2,474 feet above sea level) contributes to its relatively cooler temperatures compared to other parts of Israel.

Month Average Temperature (°C) Average Precipitation (mm) Average Sunny Days
January 8.7 127 7
February 9.9 108 8
March 12.4 92 9
April 15.9 27 11
May 20.1 3 13
June 23.7 0 14
July 25.8 0 15
August 25.9 0 15
September 24.0 0 14
October 20.2 18 12
November 15.3 63 9
December 10.7 101 8

Historical Capitals

Hebron

Period: Approximately 1010–1003 BCE

Hebron is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and has significant biblical importance. It is located in the southern part of the West Bank and is revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike. According to tradition, it was the first capital of King David before he moved his capital to Jerusalem. Hebron is also the site of the Tomb of the Patriarchs, which is considered the burial place of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their wives.

Shiloh

Period: Approximately 1399–1050 BCE

Shiloh served as the religious capital of Israel during the period of the Judges. It was the location of the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant before they were moved to Jerusalem. Shiloh is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as a major center of worship and pilgrimage. The ancient city is located in the central West Bank, and archaeological excavations have revealed remnants of its historical significance.

Samaria

Period: Approximately 880–722 BCE

Samaria was the capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel after the division of the united monarchy. It was founded by King Omri and served as the political and administrative center of the northern kingdom. The city was strategically located on a hill, providing a natural defense. Samaria is mentioned numerous times in the Bible and has been the site of extensive archaeological excavations.

Tel Aviv

Period: 1948–1949

According to CountryAAH, Tel Aviv served as the temporary capital of Israel during the early years of the state’s establishment. It is a modern city on the Mediterranean coast, known for its vibrant cultural scene, Bauhaus architecture, and bustling economy. Tel Aviv was the center of political and administrative activities until Jerusalem was officially declared the capital of Israel in 1949.

Country Facts

  • Population: Approximately 9.3 million (as of 2021)
  • Area: 20,770 square kilometers
  • Largest City: Jerusalem
  • Currency: Israeli New Shekel (ILS)
  • Official Language: Hebrew; Arabic is a recognized language
  • ISO Country Codes: IL, ISR, 376
  • Time Zone: Israel Standard Time (IST), UTC +2; Israel Daylight Time (IDT), UTC +3 (during daylight saving time)
  • Independence Day: May 14, 1948
  • Government Type: Parliamentary democracy

Israel is a country with a rich history and diverse culture, known for its technological advancements, historical sites, and vibrant cities. It has a unique geographical location at the crossroads of Asia, Africa, and Europe, which has influenced its cultural and political development throughout history.

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