Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world, and is considered a holy city to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Situated in the heart of the Judean Mountains, this glorious city is a fascinating mountainous metropolis, combining beautiful landscapes, rich culture and historical depth, as well as a distinct and diverse contemporary lifestyle.
Throughout history, Jerusalem has been destroyed at least 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 the Magnificent. Today those walls define the Old City, a World Heritage Site, which has been divided into four quarters - Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. Despite having an area of only 0.9 square kilometres (0.35 sq mi), the Old City is home to many religious sites, including the Temple Mount and its Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock, the Garden Tomb and al-Aqsa Mosque. Geographically, Jerusalem is situated at an altitude of 760m (2,490 ft.) on a plateau in the Judean Mountains, which include the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus. The city is bordered by valleys and dry riverbeds (wadis), and in biblical times, was surrounded by forests of almond, olive and pine trees. It is still quite green and lush, and enjoys a wonderful climate of fresh mountainous air. Jerusalem is 60 kilometers (37 mi) east of Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean Sea. To its south east, approximately 35 kilometers (22 mi) away, is the Dead Sea, the lowest body of water on Earth.
Modern day Jerusalem extends way beyond the borders of the Old City, and today is home to a very diverse mix of people. Its population is mixed, including Jews, 497,000 (62%), Muslims 281,000 (35%), Christians 14,000 (around 2%) and 9,000 (1%) others. Jerusalem is home to the Knesset (Israel's parliament), the residences of the Prime Minister and President, the Israeli Supreme Court, as well as the Hebrew University and the Israel Museum with its Shrine of the Book. For today's traveler, Jerusalem offers a very wide variety of things to do and see, ranging from old world historical sites, sacred religious houses of worship, museums and fine art, to bustling indoor and outdoor markets. You can find anything from vegetables and produce to specialty meat and cheese, or enjoy street foods, cafes and hummus spots to carpets, ceramics and an abundance of local souvenirs. Jerusalem is a gorgeous tourist site in itself, with quaint winding roads, parks, open sidewalk malls and fashion-forward shopping. At night, enjoy a great local meal or drink at a bar, or dance the night away at one of the hip clubs.