The city of Jerusalem is the center of Judaism. And is a city that stood its ground in history, thus still being a very important city nowadays.
Photo Source: wikipedia
During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed, besieged, attacked, captured and recaptured a lot of times. Its oldest part was settled 6000 years ago, making Jerusalem the oldest city in history.
Below you can see a timeline of the City of Jerusalem:
Photo Source: wikipedia
The Ancient Period (First Temple period)
Ceramic finds in Jerusalem date back to the 4th millennium B.C., this meaning the Copper Age. And other finds confirm it was inhabited permanently throughout the Bronze Age and until these days.
In the late Bronze Age, the area was part of the Egyptian empire, and Jerusalem was the capital of an Egyptian city-state. During this period the city was already being attacked and invaded, the most important invasion being that of king David.He then moved the capital from Hebron to Jerusalem, making it the capital of the united Kingdom of Israel.
This is how the city of Jerusalem may have looked in that time:
Photo Source: stephenmillerbooks.com
Near a remote corner, you can see the Great Temple of Jerusalem, built by David’s son, Solomon. This is where the Ark of the Covenant was placed, giving the temple a great importance for Jews and later for Christians.
Other archaeological remains from that period include Hezekiah’s Tunnel, decorated with the Siloam Inscription, Broad Wall, Monolith of Silwan and Israelite Tower.
The Classical Antiquity (Second Temple period)
After Solomon’s Temple was deserted in the 6th century BCE, Persian king Cyrus the Great called the Jews back to Judah to rebuild it. 70 years after the destruction of the First Temple, the Second Temple was completed. In the 5th century, Jerusalem was again the capital of Judah and the center of Judaism.
Many tombs have been discovered, dated in the Second Temple Period. They were mainly tombs of high priests, decorated with Doric columns and Hebrew and Aramaic inscriptions, dated between 100 BCE and 100 CE.
In the following years, Jerusalem and Judea came under various occupations: Ptolemaic, Seleucid, Maccabean, etc. In the 1st century CE, Jerusalem became the object of Roman disputes. When Herod the Great became king, he expanded and beautified the city, by building walls, towers and palaces. He also butressed the Temple’s courtyard with up to 100 tons of stone blocks.
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After the first Jewish – Roman war and the Bar Kokhba revolt, the Judaea province began to become Syria Palaestina. Being romanized, the Jews were banned to enter the city, on pain of death. This went on until the 7th century CE.
During this time, from the 4th century, emperor Constantine I had built Christian sites in the city, such as The Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Its peak in population and size was reached at the end of the Second Temple period. During almost the whole 7th century, Jerusalem was again attacked and occupied by various civilizations: Persian, Syrian, Sassanid, etc.
At the end of the 7th century, Jerusalem was under siege, and Sassanids and Jews slaughtered thousands of Christians in the city. Its monuments and churches were destroyed.
The Middle Ages
The MIddle Ages was a time of crusades and Muslim conquest. Muslims conquered Jerusalem at the beginning of the 7th century and began the Islamization. This was possible through religious practices, changing the names of the city and important buildings. With the arab conquest, Jews were allowed back to the city and Christians were allowed to keep their feasts and churches.
In the 11th century Christians were expelled from Jerusalem, but soon it was conquered back by crusaders. They massacred most of the Muslim and Jewish population and then recolonized the city with people from many places, to avoid the surviving Muslims and Jews to return.
Photo Source: wikimedia
The 12th century brought another change of situation: Saladin wrested back the city of Jerusalem and allowed Jews and Muslims to come back. Frank soldiers were expelled, but the early Christian population was permitted to stay. After Saladin conquered the city, he began developing and restoring it to its former glory.
In the 13th century, Jerusalem was sacked by Tatars, ruled by Mamluks and disputed between them and Mongols. It was also affected by many earthquakes and the black death.
The Modern Period
From the 16th to 20th century, Jerusalem was ruled by Ottomans and evolved peacefully and beautifully. It remained an important religious center and the walls around the Old City were rebuilt.
Photo Source: anoldrunner.wordpress.com
Many innovations were brought by the ottomans: modern postal systems, regular stagecoach and carriage services, railroads, etc.
The modern period is not free of disputes. Although it flourished peacefully, Jerusalem was still disputed between Christians, Muslims and Jews. It was annexed by Egypt, attacked by Arabs, the most targeted being the Jews and Christians. Once again, Ottoman rule was reinstated at the end of the 19th century, but many Egyptian Muslims remained in the city, along with Jews from Algiers and North Africa. Minorities were harassed and consular representatives tried to do something to stop that. Christian pilgrims doubled the local population around Easter time.
Disputes over the city still go on today. Both Jews and Muslims claim to be the first and rightful occupants of Jerusalem. Some Islamic leaders pretend that Jews have no historical connection with Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is now regarded as a divided city between the Israeli and the Palestinians.
Photo Source: wikimedia commons
Have you ever heard of any other city so full of history and so disputed over the centuries?
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