Jerusalem Hebrew: יְרוּשָׁלַיִם Yerushaláyim: is the capital of Israel, and one
of the oldest cities in the world. It is located in the Judean Mountains, between
the Mediterranean Sea and the northern edge of the Dead Sea. It is Israel's largest
city in both population and area, if East Jerusalem is included with a population
of 801,000 residents over an area of 125.1 km2 (48.3 sq miles). Jerusalem is also
a holy city to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked
52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times. The oldest part of the city was settled
in the 4th millennium BCE. In 1538, walls were built around Jerusalem under Suleiman
Today those walls define the Old City, which has been traditionally divided into
four quarters—known since the early 19th century as the Armenian, Christian, Jewish,
and Muslim Quarters. The Old City became a World Heritage site in 1981, and is on
the List of World Heritage in Danger. Modern Jerusalem has grown far beyond its boundaries.
Jerusalem has been the holiest city in Jewish tradition since, according to the Hebrew
Bible, King David of Israel first established it as the capital of the united Kingdom
of Israel in c. 1000 BCE, and his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of
the First Temple in the city. In Christian tradition, Jerusalem has been a holy city
since, according to the New Testament, Jesus was crucified there, possibly in c.
33 CE, and 300 years later Saint Helena identified the pilgrimage sites of Jesus'
life. The Old City is home to many sites of tremendous religious importance, among
them the Temple Mount and its Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the
Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque.