Here are 25 facts highlighting the rich tapestry of Israel’s capital:
1. Jerusalem Day is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War.
2. During the Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem, Jews were not allowed to access their holy sites, including the Western Wall.
3. Jerusalem has been attacked 52 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, besieged 23 times and destroyed twice over the course of 3,000 years.
4. Israel is the only country to enter the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees.
5. The name “Jerusalem” most likely comes from “Urusalim,” a word of Semitic origin meaning “Foundation of Shalem (wholeness)” or “Foundation of God.”
6. Jerusalem has more synagogues per capita than any city in the world.
7. Jerusalem is the only city in which some 15 different Christian communities live alongside one another, according to the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.
8. Jerusalem is considered the eternal capital of the Jewish people.
9. Jerusalem is the third-holiest city in Islam, outside of Mecca and Medina.
10. Jerusalem is mentioned more than 600 times in the Hebrew Bible, but not once in Islam’s Quran.
11. In the Middle Ages, Jews were banned from Jerusalem by Christians, and Muslims later lifted the ban.
12. There are more than 70 different Hebrew names for Jerusalem in Jewish scripture.
13. Jerusalem is statistically safer than most large U.S. cities and many major cities elsewhere in the world.
14. Jerusalem hotels record more than 2.5 million overnight stays by foreign tourists each year.
15. Thirty-thousand people ran in this year’s Jerusalem Marathon.
16. Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives is home to 150,000 Jewish graves, dating back to the 1400s.
17. Under Israeli rule, Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount.
18. The Old City is divided into the Muslim Christian Jewish and Armenian quarters.
19. The Dome of the Rock is not a mosque, but an Islamic shrine on the Temple Mount.
20. Although the Israeli government is headquartered in Jerusalem, the city is not home to any foreign embassies.
21. The 2.5-mile-long walls around the Old City were built in 1536 by Suleiman the Magnificent.
22. Jerusalem has more than 2,000 archaeological sites.
23. Archaeology proves Jews have lived in Jerusalem since 3000 B.C.E.
24. Archaeologists have found 3,800-year-old pottery in the City of David.
25. Jerusalem has separate educational and religious systems for its Christians, Muslims and Jews.
Eliana Rudee is a fellow with the Haym Salomon Center.