Some Fascinating Facts about Jerusalem for Jerusalem Day

Jerusalem Day is a national holiday in Israel that celebrates the unification of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty on the 28th of the Hebrew month of Iyar or June 7, 1967, following the battle for Jerusalem during the Six-Day War.

In honour of the upcoming holiday we have decided to share with you some interesting facts that you might not know about the capital of Israel:

In ancient times, Jerusalem was a Jebusite city, until King David conquered it in 1004 BC and made it the capital of his kingdom. Ancient Jerusalem, Jebus, was situated on a small hill south of today’s Old City, in an area that was only 50 dunams, about 12 acres.

For many years, Jerusalem was ruled by the Romans who changed the name of the city to “Colonia Aelia Capitolina”.  Colonia, meaning colony, and Aelia, derived from the surname of Emperor Hadrian, and finally Capitolina, expressing the three Capitoline gods of Rome.

The walls of the Jerusalem that we know today were built by the Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent. The walls are about four and a half km long, 10m high and average about 2.5m wide. The building of the walls took four and a half years, but they were never completely finished.

From 1948 to 1967, the Jordanian kingdom ruled East Jerusalem, and the areas of Judea and Samaria. Throughout their entire reign, the Jordanians made it forbidden for the Jews to live in the Old City, and this was the first time this happened in more than a thousand years, from the time of the Crusades.

During these years, they destroyed and looted nearly 60 Jewish synagogues that were centuries old bad made them into restrooms and stables. The 2,500-year-old Jewish cemeteries on the Mount of Olives were vandalized, thousands of ancient gravestones were smashed and later used for building  materials. The Intercontinental Hotel was built on cemetery grounds and paved an access road over ancient Jewish graves.

The Armenian Quarter is the smallest quarter in the Old City with 2,819 residents. It has been known by this name since the 19th century, and developed around the St. James Monastery. The Armenian community has been present in Jerusalem since the end of the 4th century AD. 

According to the municipal by-laws in Jerusalem set by the British in 1918, anyone who builds a home or building is required to build its walls of chiselled stone cladding. The law was adopted to preserve the character and uniqueness of the city, and is valid to this day.

The number of names given to Jerusalem since the Creation of the world is dependent on its relationship to the source. The most common saying is that the city has about 70 names, the most prominent among them, Zion, City of David, Shalom, Yeru, Jebus and Yafffe Nof. Other sources relate to Jerusalem with 105 additional names, this includes names give to them by other people and religions and reach up to 290 names.

What is the meaning of the Jerusalem Municipality emblem?

A lion, a wall and olive branches are depicted on the Jerusalem municipality emblem. The wall represents the city, the olive branches peace, and the lion symbolizes power, courage, and rule or authority. The symbol of the lion was very popular, and  used by many rulers. You can find the image of the lion engraved on shields, tombstones, houses and walls. The lion was also the symbol of the tribe of Judah, of which David was a descendant. And, so was Jacob’s blessing, to his sons: “You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness–who dares to rouse him?” (Genesis 49:9).

Do you now have a desire to visit Jerusalem? Until you come to the Holy City, the Flavors of the Bible team would like to share with you a virtual tour of the beautiful sites in Jerusalem. Enjoy!

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