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Jerusalem is one of the most ancient cities in the world and has existed for almost 5000 years. Jerusalem's rich history is apart of our modern world for Jerusalem lies at the base of the Jewish,Christian and Muslims faiths, This is the City of King David, Jesus Christ,Muhammad the Prophet and countless other well-known figures from history who lived, preached, fought and built Jerusalem. In this way Jerusalem is the cradle of modern civilization and Jerusalem's history is part of the world's history. 

What makes Jerusalem even more interesting is that Jerusalem even has such a rich history. This is because Jerusalem is a city far from the sea and the ports of Israels' shores which only give Jerusalem religious history a stronger place in the history of Jerusalem. 

The history of Jerusalem is veryintricate and complex. However, in this article on Jerusalem's History wewill outline the main periods in the history of Jerusalem to provide a simpleoverview of the long history of Jerusalem. 

Jerusalem - short history of Jerusalem
Jerusalem - short history of Jerusalem
Jerusalem - Temple Mount from Mt. OlivesDome of the Rock & Mt. OlivesJerusalem Jerusalem - the Western WallJerusalem - Church of the Holy SepulchreJerusalem - Dome of the RockJerusalem - The Temple MenorahThe Mount of Olives in Jerusalem

 Period Dates Description & Main Events    

  • Pre-history 4000 – 3300 BC (Copper Age): The beginning of settling in cities - the area of Israel and Jerusalem populated by nomad tribes and families    


  • Egyptian & Canaanite 3300 – 1000 BC (Bronze Age and Iron first Age): The general period of the book of Exodus – during this time there were many patriarchs in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. This is the time which appears in the book of Genesis - the times of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  


  • The Israelite period 1000 – 732 BC: The period of ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah.  From 1030 to 930 BC the kingdoms were united under King Saul, King David and King Solomon. In 928 the Kingdoms split into Judah and Israel  with Jerusalem serving as the capital of Judah.


  • Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods 732 – 539 BC: The Neo-Assyrian Empire  rules over Israel and Judah conquered. In 627 BC the Neo-Babylonian Empire takes over. In 587 the Babylonian Empire destroys Jerusalem and the First Temple (Solomon’s Temple) and exiled the Jewish inhabitants of Jerusalem to Babylon (Iraq today). Prayers for the Jewish return to Jerusalem from exile begin in the Jewish tradition (e.g. “by the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept remembering Zion”)


  • The Persian period 539 – 332 BC: In 539 BC Cyrus the Great conquered Israel and Jerusalem from the Babylonians. With a famous declaration he allows all Jews to return to the holy Land of Israel and Jerusalem known as the Province of Judah. In 516 BC the Second Temple is constructed in Jerusalem. 


  • The Hellenistic period 332 – 37 BC: In 332 BC Alexander the Great conquered Jerusalem and the region from the Persian Empire introducing the new period of Jerusalem’s history – The Period of the Greek Empire control over the Holy Land and Jerusalem.   In 167 BC – 160 BC the Maccabee revolt began and ended with the independent Hasmonite rule.


  • The Roman period 37 BC – 324 AD:  In 37 BC Herod the Great of the Roman Empire seizes power in Judea. In 19 Bc he enlarges the Temple Mount area so it becomes a large plateau which can accommodate thousands of worshipers.  Herod reconstructs the Temple, turning into one of the most magnificent structures of its time. During the years 63 to 73 AD the First Jewish–Roman War took place which lead to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD. .The revolt is resumed again only in 115 AD by Bar-Kochva but the revolt is successfully suppressed by the Roman Empire. During the years 63 to 73 AD the First Jewish–Roman War took place which lead to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD. .The revolt is resumed again only in 115 AD by Bar-Kochva but the revolt is successfully suppressed by the Roman Empire.  


  • The Byzantine (Christian) period 324 – 638: in 326 the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is built in Jerusalem by Constantine the Great over the site declared by Helena, his mother, to be where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected (she supposedly discovered a piece of the Cross). The Church of the Nativity is also built in Bethlehem to mark the Manger in which Jesus was born.  In 629 almost 150,000 Jews are massacred and expelled from Jerusalem and the Holy Land by the Byzantine. 


  • The Arab Caliphate Period 638 – 1099: In 638 AD Jerusalem is conquered from the Byzantines by the Islamic Empire with the armies of the the Rashidun Caliphate, led by Caliph Umar ibn Al-Khattāb . 661 marks the beginning of the Umayyad Caliphate rule of the Holy Land. The Holy Land is conquered from the Abbasid in 878 by the Tulunids. In 970 AD  the Fatimids, a self-proclaimed Shia Caliphate gained control over the Holy Land, only to be pushed aside by the Turkish Seljuk forces in 1071 AD.   


  • The Crusader period and the Ayyubid Period 1099–1260: In 1099 AD the first Crusade arrives and conquers the Holy Land and Jerusalem from the Muslim rulers, establishing a Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem.    In 1187 the famous battle of Hattin between the forces of Saladin who established the Ayyubid dynasty, and the Crusaders takes place. In 1191 the third Crusade led by Richard the Lionhearted arrives at the Holy Land.


  • The Mamluk period 1260–1517: In 1260 the battle of Ain Jalut between the Egyptian Mamluks (meaning “Kings” and the Mongols marks the beginning of the end of the Crusader rule in the Holy Land. In 1291 Acre falls and the Crusaders lose their Kingdom in the Holy Land and Jerusalem. 


  • The Ottoman period 1517–1917: In 1517 the Holy Land and Jerusalem are conquered by the Turkish Sultan Selim I bringing forth the era of the Ottoman Rule over the Holy Land and Jerusalem. In 1538 AD Suleiman the Magnificent restores the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and builds the Jerusalem city walls which stand to this day. In 1799 Napoleon Bonaparte's Sieges Acre as part of the French invasion of Egypt but does not conquer the Holy Land or Jerusalem. 


  • The British Mandate period 1917–1948: 1917, the end of World War I, marks the beginning of the British Mandate of the Holy Land after defeating the Ottoman Empire. In 1936 the Great Arab Revolt Breaks out and results in the attack of thousands of Jews living in the Holy Land and Jerusalem. On November 29th, 1947 the UN passes the resolution to partition Palestine. 


  • Modern period – Jewish State of Israel 1948 on-wards: In 1948 the Jewish State of Israel is established in the Holy Land with Jerusalem as its capital. The small country is attacked by the Arab forces surrounding but these attempts fail to conquer rael and Jerusalem from the Jewish nation.  East Jerusalem is ruled by the Jordanian Kingdom and Egypt rules the Gaza Strip. In 1967 Israel is attacked by a joint force of the Syrian, Jordanian and Egyptian armies but the attack is repelled and Israel gains control over the all of Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In 1973 another attempt (a surprise attack) to conquer Jerusalem and the Holy Land by the coalition of the Arab states is launched but fails once more. In 1979 Israel reaches a peace agreement with Egypt and in 1995 with Jordan. In 2005 Israel unilaterally withdraws from the Gaza Strip