Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The walled Old city, Jerusalem, showing Western wall of the ancient Temple as well as the Dome of the Rock

Old city, Jerusalem
Originally uploaded by Stuart-Cohen
(help·info), Yerushaláyim; Arabic: القُدس (help·info), al-Quds)[ii] is the capital and largest city of Israel[2] in both population and area,[3] with 732,100 residents in an area of 126 square kilometers (49 sq mi).[1] Located in the Judean Mountains, between the Mediterranean Sea and the northern tip of the Dead Sea, the city has a history that goes back as far as the 4th millennium BC, making it one of the oldest cities in the world.[4] Jerusalem has been the holiest city in Judaism and the spiritual center of the Jewish people since the 10th century BC.[5] The city contains a number of significant ancient Christian sites and is considered the third-holiest city in Islam.[6]

The walled area of Jerusalem, which constituted the entire city until the 1860s, is now called the Old City, and was added to the List of World Heritage Sites in danger in 1982.[7] The Old City has been traditionally divided into four quarters, says, although the names used today—the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters—were only introduced in the early 19th century.[8]

Despite having an area of only 0.9 square kilometer (0.35 square mile),[9] the Old City is home to several sites of key religious importance: the Temple Mount and its Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians, and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims.

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