Jerusalem the Golden is a Lutheran hymn, written in the mid 1800's. The tune comes to my mind whenever Jerusalem is mentioned. It has been in the news this past week. I realized that Marshall McLuhan's global village is here and now. Jerusalem is the centre of global village attention.
I know little about the actual city. I find out it is one of the oldest cities in the world, named Urusalima on Mesopotamian tablets - 2400 BCE. It is a holy city in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. King David and King Solomon, his son, ruled there. It is the site of Abraham's sacrifice. Jesus was crucified there. Muhammad made his Night Journey there. It is the home of many sites of seminal religious importance. A tiny area within the larger Jerusalem, the Old City is a World Heritage Site also one considered in Danger by UNESCO.
It isn't the oldest city in the world to be continuously inhabited. It has the special nexus of religions that distinguishes it and makes for a continuing source of contention and attention.
Which city is the oldest? Damascus, Syria is the oldest with evidence of habitation dating back at least 11,000 years. Jericho, West Bank is the second oldest with fortifications unearthed dating back to 6800 BC - they confirm it is the earliest known walled city. Aleppo is the third oldest and the most devastated by the recent four-year battle. We get to Athens, Greece, the fourth oldest. It has been continuously inhabited for at least 7,000 years. The Acropolis was built in the 5th century BCE. Remember the Thracians his grade school history? They settled Plovdiv, Bulgaria - it was a major city for the Romans - and is the sixth oldest. Byblos is the seventh - and the English word for "bible" is derived from this ancient town's name.
Jerusalem is listed as the 10th oldest. There are two cities outside of the mideast and Europe that are on the ancient list - Luoyang, China and Varanasi, India.
Our pictures show a little of our Christmas tradition of decorating the tree. What will be at the top of your Christmas tree this year? We see some of the creative displays at the Grimsby Fantasy of Trees this year.