Jericho is the lowest (258 meters below sea level) and the oldest city in the world.

Like its Arabic name Ariha, which means “the city of palm trees”, Jericho has a tropical atmosphere. Its population is about 23,000 (in 2016 by

Jericho city center
Jericho is located 258 meters below sea level. It’s warm even in Winter. David Lisbona

Because Jericho was the royal estate of Cleopatra, many ancient ruins remain. That means Jericho is a must to visit.

It gets extremely hot in summer, but warm in winter because of the low elevation. Jericho has been called “an oasis in the desert” as it’s located along the Jordan River, and is always crowded with people during the winter holiday season.

Agriculture is Jericho’s main industry as well as tourism. Most of the agricultural products sold in Palestine are from Jericho.

Jericho dates are well known as one of the most delicious and luxurious dates.

Jericho Herod’s Winter Palace
Ruins of Herod’s Winter Palace. Mujaddara

History of Jericho

c.10000 BC - 9000 BC

Natufian hunter-gatherer groups started to settle in Jericho for camping.

until c.6th century

After several destroys and reconstructions, a town flourished at Tell es-Sultan.

Tell es-Sultan is said the oldest village surrounded by a wall.

539 BC

Cyrus the Great, the Persian Achaemenid Empire, built a town at the latter place of Jericho. He let the Jews return to Palestine from Babylonian captivity.

336 BC to 323 BC

Alexander the Great possessed Jericho as his private estate.

1st century BC

Fortresses were built during Seleucid Empire Era.

One of them is Wadi Qelt, which was rebuilt by Herod the Great (reign 37–4 BCE).

He built the Winter Palace and the irrigation system, which grew Jericho as a center of agriculture, trading, and a winter resort.


The Jews were defeated by the Roman Empire in the First Jewish–Roman War.

Once Jerusalem was conquered, Jericho became a Roman fortress, then the town declined.

4th century

Christianity became the state religion during the Byzantine Empire era.

A town named Ericha was newly built, and it grew as a Christian town.

5th century

The monastery of St. George of Choziba was constructed, but it was destroyed by Persians in 614.


Umayyad Caliphate conquered Jerusalem. Jericho was under Islam power control.


Hisham’s Palace was built north of Tell es-Sultan during the reign of Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik (reign 724 - 743, the 10th Umayyad caliph).

The mosaics of Hisham’s Palace
The mosaics of Hisham’s Palace. random exposure

However, Hisham’s Palace was destroyed by an earthquake in 747. Abbasid Caliphate defeated Umayyad Caliphate.

until c.10th century

Under Islamic Abbasid Caliphate and following Fatimid Caliphate, Jericho’s agriculture developed.

Jericho has had a reputation for the cultivation of bananas and dates since these periods.


The Crusades took Jerusalem from the Seljuk Turks. Palestine became under the control of Christian power.


The Crusaders reconstructed the Monastery of St. George. They built churches in town, which accelerated Christianization in Jericho.


Saladin’s Egyptian Ayyubid force defeated the Crusaders.

Jericho then became again under Islam power.

Middle Ages

The town gradually declined because of attacks by Bedouins or other forces.

Second half of the 19th century

European archaeologists started ruins excavation; Tell es-Sultan and the monastery of St. George of Choziba etc., were excavated during this period.

Beginning of the 20th century

The Ottoman Empire fell in World War I.

Like other Palestinian cities, Jericho was under the control of the UK. However, the city stayed in peace until the foundation of Israel in 1948.


After the First Arab-Israeli War, like other cities in West Bank, Jericho was under the control of Jordan.

The refugees triggered by the foundation of Israel fled to West Bank cities.

Three refugee camps protecting over 70,000 people in total were built around Jericho, according to Palestine and Palestinians.

In 1952, Jordan formally annexed West Bank. Jericho citizens then got Jordanian nationality like other residents in West Bank.


Israel won the Six-Day War. They took and occupied West Bank.


The Oslo Accords, including an agreement of reducing Israeli settlements, were signed.

May 1994

Palestinian Authority obtained the right of self-government of Jericho as their first city.


The Second Intifada occurred. Israel destroyed buildings and started tightening its control of Palestine.


Israeli troops withdrew from cities. Jericho is developing as a resort city for Palestinians and travelers.

Tourist Information

Jericho Tourist Information Center

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  • Mon-Sun 8:00-17:00
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