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The sleepy oasis of Jericho—adorned with date palms, orange groves, banana plantations, bougainvillea bushes, and papaya trees—is aptly called Arikha, or "fragrant," in Arabic. This oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, Jericho is immortalized as the place where "the walls came tumblin' down" at the sound of Joshua's trumpets. Those ramparts haven't been found, but the ruins of Hisham's Palace will give you an idea of the devastating power of an earthquake at a time when cities were built of mud, wood, and stone.
The Arab population of about 25,000 is mostly Muslim, but the tiny Christian minority is well represented by a number of landmark churches and monasteries. These biblical and archaeological sites are what draw most tourists today.
Jericho at a Glance
Elsewhere in Around Jerusalem and the Dead Sea
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