Referred to as: ”The oldest city in the world” Jericho is a strategically important town. With several springs to provide water a fertile oasis occupies a large area in the middle of this desert some 260m below sea level. It is the lowest inhabited place on earth and the climate here is mild in winter and very hot in summer. Joshua took the town at the end of the Israelites journey of Exodus and even at that time the city had been occupied for some six or seven thousand years. The excavations of the old city attest to this fact where one can view a 9,000 year old tower.
From the excavations one has a good view of the Mount of Temptation where it is thought that Jesus spent his 40 days in the wilderness before commencing on his ministry. A Greek monastery clings to the side of the mountain although if one wants to visit, the cable car is preferable to the climb up the mountain path.
One can also visit the magnificent ruins of Hisham’s Palace, attributed to the 8thcentury caliph Hisham whose father built the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Formerly living in Damascus he built his winter palace here since he appreciated the Jericho climate, as did the Victorians who also loved this place as an escape from the rigours of an English winter.