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Jerusalem

Introduction

Jerusalem (jərōˈsələm, –zələm) [key], 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 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. Many of Jerusalem's original streets, including the main Cardo, have been excavated and turned into tourist sites.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Israeli Political Geography

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