Jericho is a city in the Palestinian Territories and is located near the Jordan River in the West Bank. It is the administrative seat of the Jericho Governorate, and is governed by the Fatah faction of the Palestinian National Authority.
The city was occupied by Jordan from 1949 to 1967, and has been held under Israeli occupation since 1967; administrative control was handed over to the Palestinian Authority in 1994. It is believed to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and the city with the oldest known protective wall in the world.
Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of more than 20 successive settlements in Jericho, the first of which dates back 11,000 years (9000 BC), almost to the very beginning of the Holocene epoch of the Earth's history.
Copious springs in and around the city have attracted human habitation for thousands of years. Jericho is described in the Hebrew Bible as the "City of Palm Trees".
NATUFIAN HUNTER-GATHERS, CIRCA10,000 BC
Epipaleolithic construction at the site appears to predate the invention of agriculture, with the construction of Natufian culture structures beginning earlier than 9000 BC, the beginning of the Holocene epoch in geologic history.
During the Younger Dryas period of cold and drought, permanent habitation of any one location was impossible. However, the Ein es-Sultan spring at what would become Jericho was a popular camping ground for Natufian hunter-gatherer groups, who left a scattering of crescent-shaped microlith tools behind them.
Around 9600 BC, the droughts and cold of the Younger Dryas stadial had come to an end, making it possible for Natufian groups to extend the duration of their stay, eventually leading to year-round habitation and permanent settlement.
THE NEW TESTAMENT
The Christian Gospels state that Jesus of Nazareth passed through Jericho where he healed blind beggars (Matthew 20:29), and inspired a local chief tax-collector named Zacchaeus to repent of his dishonest practices (Luke 19:1–10).
The road between Jerusalem and Jericho is the setting for the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
After the fall of Jerusalem to Vespasian's armies in the Great Revolt of Judea in 70 AD, Jericho declined rapidly, and by 100 AD it was but a small Roman garrison town. A fort was built there in 130 and played a role in putting down the Bar Kochba revolt in 133.