When your exploration of Israel finally brings you to Jericho, there is one place that you absolutely must visit. Tell Jericho, also known as Tel es-Sultan, is the oldest city on Earth; dating back to the Natufian period of 8,000 BCE. While the knowledge that this great city existed was known for centuries, it wasn’t until the 19th century that anyone got close to finding it.
First Excavations on the Tell
In 1868, on behalf of the Palestine Exploration Fund, Charles Warren surveyed Tell Jericho. Sadly, during his research, he missed the main part of Jericho and concluded it wasn’t worth further investigation. It wasn’t until almost 40 years later, from 1907-1909, that E. Sellin and C. Watzinger led archaeologists to really begin the excavation process. Over the next century, the world would begin to learn about Jericho’s 10,000 years’ worth of history.
Tel Jericho’s long history is well known not only for its archaeology but for the biblical events that occurred here. One such event was the purification of the Ain es-Sultan spring by prophet Elisha. As well, it is believed that Jesus passed through Tell Jericho several times; with one time resulting in Zacchaeus climbing a sycamore tree, which is still present today, to get a better look at him. One of the most surprising aspects of Tell Jericho is what archaeologists didn’t find. It was here that they should have found Joshua’s fallen walls of Jericho. But there was no evidence was ever found.
Touring Tell Jericho
When visiting Tell Jericho, you will have the opportunity to stand on land where countless generations of people have lived, worked, and loved for thousands of years. You will be able to peer into the ruins of this ancient city. While touring Tell Jericho, you can gaze into the famous Elisha Fountain and take the world’s longest cable car under sea level to the Mount of Temptation, where there sits a monastery. As you look down from the mountain, you can witness how the beautiful landscape has changed and evolved from the times of Tell Jericho to today.
When visiting Jericho, you can add an excursion to Hisham’s Palace, St. George’s Monastery, Qasr el Yahud, and Nabi Musa as well! There are so many incredible places to visit that it can be challenging to do on your own. Book a tour today so that I can help you discover all of these beautiful sites with ease.