Dating the gospels

Sunlight falling on the white and pink stone used for all construction gives even quite mundane buildings an aura of distinction.

The scent of cooking and spices, the peal of church bells, the calls of muezzins from minarets, and the chanting of Jewish prayers at the Western (Wailing) Wall all add flavour to the life of the city.

The absence of vehicular traffic within most of the Old City helps preserve its special character.

In recognition of its central place in the traditions and histories of numerous peoples, the Old City was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981.

In the early 20th century the city, along with all of historic Palestine, became the focus of the competing national aspirations of Zionists and Palestinian Arabs. The United Nations (UN) attempted to declare the city a (Latin: “separate entity”)—and, thus, avert further conflict—but the first Arab-Israeli war, in 1948, left Jerusalem divided into Israeli (west Jerusalem) and Jordanian (east Jerusalem) sectors.

To the west it faces the coastal plain and the Mediterranean Sea, about 35 miles (60 km) away.

Jerusalem has a mixed subtropical semiarid climate with warm dry summers and cool rainy winters.

At the centre of the modern municipality is the Old City, a walled medieval enclosure of less than half a square mile (roughly one square km), from which the entire city has grown.

To the east the city looks down on the Dead Sea and across the Jordan River to the arid mountains of eastern Jordan (the biblical mountains of Moab).

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