There is no place on earth that commands as much attention and elicits much controversy than the city of Jerusalem. With a long and rich history that dates back to the Biblical era the city is found in the Mountains of Judea lying between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. Jerusalem covers an area of around 48,000 square miles and is home to the most diverse religious population of about 882,000 inhabitants.
Location and History
Jerusalem is located in the Middle East which is part of the Asian continent. Jerusalem dates as far back as about 5,000 years having been mentioned in Biblical stories. It is the capital city of Israel, and it is considered to be a holy city by the the Jewish people as well as Christians and the Muslims, a fact that has caused ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.
The Israel-Palestine Conflict
Both the Jewish people of Israel and the Islamic people of Palestine have laid claim to Jerusalem being the capital city of their respective countries, an issue that has been the cause of unending violent wars between the two nations. The source of this conflict arose from the Arab-Israeli war of 1948 that was triggered when Israelis displaced the Palestinians who were already occupying the land after the Second World War. During that time the city of Jerusalem was designated as a special zone by the United Nations in a move that was geared towards quelling the war.
Geography and Neighbours
The city of Jerusalem itself is located on a plateau that is surrounded by valleys and dry riverbeds with some significant mountains flanking it in the east and the northeast. The city is about 37 miles away from the Mediterranean Sea and approximately 22 miles away from the Dead Sea which is considered to have the lowest altitude of any water body, a fact that has contributed to the water shortage that is usually experienced in Jerusalem. To the south, the city is bordered by the towns of Beit Jala and Bethlehem. To the east, there is Ma’ale Adumim and Abu Dis. To the west, Jerusalem is bordered by Mevaseret Zion while to the north lies the towns of Giv’at Ze’ev and Ramallah. Geographically the city of Jerusalem extends into Palestine and Israel. The countries that border Palestine and Israel include Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, and Egypt.
Jerusalem is Israel’s religious, political, and historical capital and millions of religious zealots make the trip to the city to visit all the sacred sites, and this contributes significantly to the city’s economy. Israel controls Jerusalem's economy with the city serving as its seat through which it creates jobs for its people. Recent developments have seen Jerusalem turn into a tech hub with dozens of foreign companies setting up base in the area to tap into the rapidly growing market. Other economic activities include manufacturing and the construction industry that has expanded to accommodate the bulging population in the city.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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