Last updated on: 5/21/2008 12:24:00 PM PST
What and Where Is Jerusalem?


General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
The Columbia Encyclopedia online (sixth edition), in an entry (accessed Nov. 12 2003), contained the following description of Jerusalem:

"Heb. Yerushalayim, Arab. Al Quds, city (1994 pop. 578,800), capital of Israel. It is situated on a ridge 2,500 ft (760 m) high that lies west of the Dead Sea and the Jordan River. Jerusalem is an administrative, religious, educational, cultural, and market center. Tourism and the construction of houses and hotels are the city’s major industries. Manufactures [sic] include cut and polished diamonds, plastics, clothing, and shoes, and electronic printing and other high-technology industries have been developed. The city is served by road, rail, and air transport.

Jerusalem is a holy city for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Often under the name of Zion, it figures prominently in Jewish and Christian literature as a symbol of the capital of the Messiah. Jerusalem’s churches and shrines are legion. The traditional identifications vary in reliability from certainty (such as Gethsemane) to pious supposition (such as the Tomb of the Virgin). The most famous and most difficult identification is that of Calvary. Excavations have been made in Jerusalem since 1835, and after 1967, the Israelis increased this activity, uncovering remains of the Herodian period and ruins of a Muslim structure of the 7th or 8th cent. Many of Jerusalem’s original streets, including the main Cardo, have been excavated and turned into tourist sites.

The Old City
The eastern part of Jerusalem is the Old City, a quadrangular area built on two hills and surrounded by a wall completed in 1542 by the Ottoman sultan Sulayman I. Within the wall are four quarters. The Muslim quarter, in the east, contains a sacred enclosure, the Haram esh-Sherif (known as the Temple Mount to Jews), within which, built on the old Mt. Moriah, are the Dome of the Rock (completed 691), or Mosque of Omar, and the Mosque of al-Aksa. The wall of the Haram incorporates the Western Wall, or Wailing Wall, a remnant of the retaining wall of the Second Temple and a holy place for Jews. Nearby and southwest of the Haram is the Jewish quarter, with several famous old synagogues. Partially destroyed in previous Arab-Israeli fighting, the Old City was captured in 1967 by the Israelis, who began to rebuild and renovate the Jewish quarter. To the west of the Jewish quarter is the Armenian quarter, site of the Gulbenkian Library. The Christian quarter occupies the northern and northwestern parts of the Old City. Its greatest monument is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Through the area runs the Via Dol
orosa, along which Jesus is said to have carried his cross.

The New City and Other Districts
The New City, extending west and southwest of the Old City, has developed tremendously since the 19th cent. It is the site of several educational institutions, as well as the Knesset (Israeli parliament) and other government buildings (including the striking Supreme Court building, which opened in 1992). Yad Vashem, a memorial to the Holocaust, is also in that section of the city. To the east of the Old City is the Valley of the Kidron, beyond which lie the Garden of Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives. To the north is Mt. Scopus, a Jewish intellectual center that is the site of the Hadassah Medical Center, Hebrew Univ., and the Jewish National Library. Another campus of Hebrew Univ. is located on the western edge of the city at Ein Karem. From 1948 to 1967, Mt. Scopus was an Israeli exclave in Arab territory. To the west and south of the Old City runs the Valley of Hinnom; this meets the Kidron near the pool of Siloam, which is next to the site of the original city of Jerusalem, now partly excavated and called the City of David (see Ophel)."

Nov. 12, 2003 - Columbia Encyclopedia (6th edition)