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History & Heritage


48 hours in Jericho

Would you like to go to Palestine? Rich in history, this little piece of land, thousands of years old, offers many surprises. And if there is one city not to be missed on your journey, that would be Jericho. The city is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and stretches between desert, mountains and palm trees 37 kilometres from Jerusalem. It si an oasis with a tropical climate to visit, ideally over two days. Follow the guide!

Jericho is anchored in the Jordan Valley, combining historic monuments and fertile land. In this city, considered as one of the oldest in the world, ruins dating back to 9,000 BC have been discovered. Remains that testify to the imprint of religion on the city and the many tributes paid to God by successive populations. Today, Jericho struggles to make a living from tourism despite its treasures. Yet the situation is stable and the inhabitants are very friendly. All the more reason to go there!


Day 1: The Mount of Temptation

If the city itself is very pleasant, the visit of the Mont de la Tentation is one of the highlights of the stay. Located 3 kilometres from the centre, in the Judean desert, this place appears in religious writings as the cave where Jesus stayed for 40 days and 40 nights to confront the temptation of the devil.

At the foot of the mountain, the spectacle is breathtaking. The vegetation is abundant and contrasts with the ochre of the cliffs. The cliffs shelter on their side the Monastery of Temptation. Built in the 6th century by the Byzantines, this place of worship includes a cave chapel decorated with frescoes and iconographic paintings. And it is precisely in this place that Jesus would have prayed and meditated during his retreat. Imbued with this particular atmosphere, the believers then slip small papers with their vows into the stones. How to get to the monastery? By cable car, by taxi or on foot (count 30 minutes of ascent for this last option). The bonus: a breathtaking view over the whole valley.


Day 2: Hisham Palace

The next day, explore Hisham Palace. This archaeological site, which no text mentions, is a mystery. It is known, however, that the building was built in the early 8th century, during the Umayyad dynasty. It collapsed four years later following an earthquake. So what’s left of it? Implanted in an arid land, the remains show that the palace was divided into three parts: the main dwelling, the thermal baths and the agricultural estate. Among the ruins, you will see sublime mosaics testifying to Muslim Art. One of them, the largest, represents a majestic tree whose branches are laden with fruit. A millenary work entitled “The Tree of Life”. The decorations are clearly visible, allowing one to imagine the opulence of the place.



When you leave, there’s a good chance you’ll take some of the mysterious aura of Jericho with you. And who knows, you might decide to extend your stay in Palestine!


See also

Middle East: an overview of UNESCO World Heritage Sites


Published on 6 July 2020