Jerusalem, Israel, Middle East

Founded: c. 4000 bc
Location: The Judaean hills, about 30 km (20 mi) from the Jordan River
Flag: Blue horizontal stripes on a white field, with a blue and yellow emblem in the center.
Time Zone: 2 PM = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Ethnic Composition: 70% Jewish; 30% Arab
Elevation: 757 meters (2,484 feet) above sea level
Latitude and Longitude: 31°47′N, 35°15′E
Climate: Subtropical, semiarid; warm, dry summers; cool, rainy winters
Annual Mean Temperature: January 9°C (48°F); July 23°C (73°F)
Average Annual Precipitation: 500 mm (20 in)
Government: Mayor-council
Weights and Measures: Metric system
Monetary Units: New Israeli Shekel (NIS)
Telephone Area Codes: 02 (Jerusalem area code); 972 (country code for Israel)
Postal Codes: 9000 and up

2. Getting There

Jerusalem lies 48 kilometers (30 miles) east of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered on the north, south, and east by the West Bank of the Jordan River, occupied by Israel since the Six Day War in 1967. Israel's border with Jordan is 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of the city.


Route 60, the main north-south highway, cuts through the middle of Jerusalem, leading to Nablus to the north and Hebron and Beersheba to the south. The major east-west highway, Route 1, leads northwest to Tel Aviv and eastward to Jordan, first intersecting with Route 90, which in turn leads north to Jericho and beyond to Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee. The Allon Road traverses the Judaean Desert, leading to Israeli settlements on the West Bank.

Bus and Railroad Service

Intercity buses from points throughout Israel, including Ben Gurion International Airport, arrive and depart from the Egged Central Bus Station on Jaffa Road. There is also bus service to Cairo, Egypt, and Amman, Jordan. There are separate bus stations for destinations within jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority. There is train service to Tel Aviv, continuing to Haifa, leaving from the train station in Remez Square.


Ben Gurion International Airport is located 50 km (12 mi) west of Jerusalem along Route 1 leading to Tel Aviv. Of the approximately 5 million passengers who use the airport every year, more than 40 percent travel on flights operated by El Al, Israel's national airline.


Jerusalem is not a port city.

Bus and Commuter Rail Service

The Egged Bus Cooperative, which offers inter-city bus transportation, also provides transportation within Jerusalem itself. Bus service is frequent, punctual, and reasonably priced, with a flat fare for all local bus rides, no matter how short or long. Private Arab companies provide service to the West Bank.

There is no real commuter rail service, but shared taxis called sheruts, which seat up to seven passengers, are a popular mode of transport in the city.


Egged, which provides most of the city's public transportation, offers an introductory tour of Jerusalem that takes in 36 major tourist sites and allows visitors to embark at any of them and board another bus later at no extra charge. Egged also offers half-day bus tours of the Old City and of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

Walking tours are a popular way to see many of Jerusalem's historic sites. Tours of both the Old City and the newer part of Jerusalem are offered by Zion Walking Tours. Archaeological Seminars walking tours focus on the historical periods of the first and second temples, and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) offers tours of the Old City as well as nature hikes in the nearby countryside.

10. Environment

Jerusalem lies on the watershed between the hills and desert of Judaea. It has varied vegetation with as many as 1,000 different plant species. About 70 bird species are present year round, as well as 150 types of migratory fowl. The shoreline of the nearby mineral-rich Dead Sea, located in the Syrian-African Rift Valley, is the lowest point on earth.

22. For Further Study


Focus on Israel. [Online] Available (accessed December 30, 1999).

Israel Tourist Information. [Online] Available (accessed December 30, 1999).

Jerusalem Post online. [Online] Available (accessed December 30, 1999).

Jerusalem website. [Online] Available (accessed December 30, 1999).

Ministry of Tourism. [Online] Available (accessed December 30, 1999).

Municipality of Jerusalem Website. [Online] Available (accessed December 30, 1999).

Government Offices

Ministry of Economy and Planning
P.O. Box 292
3 Rehov Kaplan
Kiryat Ben-Gurion
Jerusalem 91131

Office of the Prime Minister
P.O. Box 187
3 Rehov Kaplan
Kiryat Ben-Gurion
Jerusalem 91919

Tourist and Convention Bureaus

Ministry of Tourism
24 Rehov King George
Jerusalem 91009

Tourist Information
17 Rehov Jaffa


Al Quds
P. O. Box 19788

The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post Building
P.O. Box 81
Jerusalem 91000


Ben-Dov, M. Jerusalem, Man and Stone: An Archeologist's Personal View of His City. Translation from the Hebrew, Yael Guiladi. Tel-Aviv : Modan, 1990.

Benvenisti, Meron. City of Stone: The Hidden History of Jerusalem. Translated by Maxine Kaufman Nunn. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.

Dumper, Michael. The Politics of Jerusalem Since 1967. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.

Elon, Amos. Jerusalem: Battlegrounds of Memory. New York: Kodansha International, 1995.

Elon, Amos. Jerusalem: City of Mirrors. 1st ed. Boston: Little, Brown, 1989.

King, Anthony. Jerusalem Revealed. Cambridgeshire, England: Boxer Publishing, 1997.

Kroyanker, David. Jerusalem Architecture. Introduction by Teddy Kollek. New York: Vendome Press, 1994.

Nellhaus, Arlynn. Into the Heart of Jerusalem: A Traveler's Guide to Visits, Celebrations, and Sojourns. Santa Fe, NM: John Muir, 1999.

Romann, Michael, and Alex Weingrod. Living Together Separately: Arabs and Jews in Contemporary Jerusalem. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991.

Rosovsky, Nitza, ed. City of the Great King: Jerusalem from David to the Present. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996.


Jerusalem [videorecording] with Martin Gilbert. New York: A&E Home Video, 1996. 2 videocassettes (ca. 150 min.): sd. col.; 1/2 in. Produced by Krosney Productions for the History Channel. v. 1. From a dream to destruction. v. 2. Pilgrims and Conquerors.

Jerusalem 3000 [videorecording]. Yoram Globus presents Jerusalem 3000. Burbank, California: Warner Home Video, 1998.1 videocassette (30 min.): sd., col. ; 1/2 in.