Jerusalem, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.
Jerusalem, par excellence, is called “The Eternal City”, the Jewish capital between the 10th and 6th centuries BC, it is the disputed capital of Israel and a holy city in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Old Town and its walls, considered World Heritage Site by UNESCO, enclose in less than a square kilometer many places of great religious significance such as the Temple Mount, the Wailing Wall, the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque. In the course of its history, Jerusalem was destroyed and rebuilt twice and was besieged, conquered and reconquered in dozens of occasions. In Jerusalem it is possible to identify the ancient city, still surrounded today by defensive walls with perimeter walk and obligatory passages placed on four hills:
To the north-west is Mount Golgotha, which, with a southern outcrop known as the “central spur”, winds between the valley of the Tyropoeon and the traversal valley. The central spur has been, since ancient times, market place, defended by the Walls of Manasseh in 650 BC. about. The Golgotha was used permanently by the Romans for the crucifixions, in the extra moenia times.
To the north-east a hilly complex that, with the north-west relief, was included in the city walls in Roman times, under Vespasian, taking the name of “New Town”.
To the south-west there is a large hill (called “Gareb”) which reaches 770 m. , whose southern and western slopes form the valley of Gehenna. The lowest point of this is at the confluence with the Cedron, and it is around 600 m of altitude. To the north is the transverse valley that divides the Gareb hill from the northern promontories. In this was built the upper aqueduct (V-VI century BC), which brought the waters to the pool of Migdal or Amygdalon.
To the south-east lies the Sion-Ophel-Moria complex: it is a club-shaped relief with north-south axis, the largest and highest part (it reaches 750 m altitude) facing north. Sion is the lower part, the handle of this club, and here the original nucleus of the city was founded. The Ophel, is the name given to the slope that rises to Mount Moriah, where is the Mount Temple Mount.
Although Sion and Ophel constituted the original nucleus, they are currently outside the walls that identify the so-called old city.
The origins of Jerusalem date back to the Stone Age, but it is mentioned for the first time in some Egyptian texts of the first centuries of the 2nd millennium BC.
and subsequently safely in some Amarna letters dating back to 1425 BC. The city remained occupied by the loathed clan of the Jebusites (about 1000 BC) until the Jewish conquest by King David, who made Jerusalem the capital of his kingdom; David also had a palace built on the acropolis along with many other buildings and ordered the reconstruction of the city walls. Subsequently, King Solomon built the temple of God in place of the palace; the latter was destroyed in 607 B.C. following the violent invasion of the Babylonians led by King Nebuchadnezzar who plundered the city and deported the population to Babylon. In 331 B.C. Jerusalem was occupied by Alexander the Great and later occupied by the Ptolemies of Egypt until 198 BC, when it fell under the dominion of the Seleucids of Syria.
The latter in vain sought to Hellenise the city, and indeed provoked the famous Jewish revolt of the Maccabees which, in 165 BC, ended with the victory of the latter, the establishment of the dynasty of the Hasmoneans and the return to Jewish sovereignty, destined to last until the conquest (63 BC) by Gnaeus Pompey. With the Roman conquest, Jerusalem was handed over to Herod who rebuilt it according to the Greece-Roman urban planning criteria and enlarged the Temple. Under the governorship of Pontius Pilate, Jesus was crucified, most probably on Mount Golgotha.
The great historical importance of Jerusalem makes it one of the most interesting Middle Eastern cities from the point of view of historically relevant places.
The largest concentration of historical and religious sites is located in the Old City of Jerusalem, a World Heritage Site since 1981, surrounded by walls built-in 1538 during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. There are numerous monuments of Jerusalem, among them: the Islamic mosque of the Dome of the Rock
which is the symbol of the city, built during the Umayyad period on the place that, according to the Koran, is from which the Islamic prophet Muhammad ascended from heaven to heaven by divine grace; the second is the
built on a pre-existing fourth-century basilica, in turn erected on the place traditionally considered the tomb of Christ; the third is the emblematic Western Wall, sacred place par excellence of the Jews, remnant of the Temple built by Solomon, king of Judea.
The remains of a small Roman theater were discovered by a team of Israeli archaeologists working in excavations in the area of the Arch of Wilson, a short distance from the Wailing Wall, in the Old City of Jerusalem. The archaeologists at a press conference in which they stated that they had found themselves casually in the presence of the remains of the theater while they were busy bringing to light in the same area eight large stones at the base of the Wailing Wall. “It was a sensational discovery,” they said. The theater could accommodate two hundred spectators and its location agrees with historical texts from the time of Josephus and with ladder descriptions of when Jerusalem was called by the Romans Aelia Capitoline. “Being in that theater was a dramatic twist for us,” the archaeologists said. “It is a relatively small structure, compared to the already known Roman theaters, such as those of Caesarea, Beit Shean or Beit Guvrin. In particular, it was under a cover, namely the Wilson Arch. This makes us think – they added – that it was what was once called a `odeon’, a structure used for acoustic performances». For reasons not yet ascertained, that theater never went into operation. «Considerable efforts were invested for its realization but strangely – they have noticed – it was abandoned». One of the hypotheses is that to mark its kind may have been the revolt led by the Jewish fighter Bar Kochba in the years 132-135 AD.
Jerusalem, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.
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