Jericho is among the oldest inhabited towns in the world and it has a rich history. The city is among the major tourist attractions in Jerusalem and it is a great destination to go for history lovers. Jericho is surrounded by a wide range of thrilling attractions that you can explore from the historical landmarks to iconic architectures. You are going to find interesting sightseeing attractions from the Byzantine, Jewish, and Muslim eras all around the city. Some of the best things to do in Jericho are listed below.
Top things to do in Jericho
Go sightseeing at Hisham's Palace This is an 8th-century palace that was constructed by the 10th Umayyad Caliph Hisham in 724 AD but was never built completely before it was destroyed by an earthquake in 746 AD. The site was forgotten until it was excavated by the British archaeologists in 1937. The palace features four ranges of buildings that open off to an inner courtyard with no entrances on the outside. Numerous finds are discovered from this site like the figural representation characteristic of early Islamic art which can be found in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. You are also going to find a large bathhouse with a bare ceiling in the northern part of the building which houses alternating male and female figures and a roof with 16 pillars. The palace is popularly known for its preserved mosaic and a work of consummate craftsmanship which symbolizes three gazelles that are under an orange tree.
Wander around the Wadi Qelt This is a lush valley that is located around a serene barren hill. It offers mind-blowing sceneries as it is surrounded by freshwater springs and palm trees. Wadi Qelt is a great place to go if you want to get an insight into the history of the city. The area houses numerous monastery communities and it is also the spot where Herod the Great constructed an aqueduct. A road was also constructed along this ancient route between Jericho and Jerusalem by the Romans. It was also the spot where the hermits lived in caves during the early Christian times which led to the construction of St. George’s Monastery. The valley is a perfect destination to go in Jericho for a day hike or just for a picnic.
Visit St. George's Monastery This is a Greek Orthodox Monastery that is located in the northern part of the Wadi Qelt gorge. The monastery was established in 480AD and was originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It also houses monks before it was demolished by the Persians in 614AD and was then abandoned. The building that you will find there was built during the late 19th century and it is surrounded by lots of fascinating pieces of religious art to discover. Once you step foot inside the monastery, you will see the church dedicated to the Virgin Mary filled with lovely icons and frescoes. You should also make sure you explore the cave nearby where you will find the remains of the monks that were killed during the Persian invasion of Jerusalem.
Go sightseeing at Nabi Musa Mlari You are going to find this shrine in the desert to the south of Jericho. Although you will not find a proof that Prophet Moses was buried here, an old tradition from the Middle Ages claimed that it is the resting place of Moses. Saladin learned about this place during the 12th century and the Mameluke Sultan Baibars then constructed a mosque here to commemorate Moses. The mosque is located on a hill and it features a large cemetery for Muslims that wants to be close to the prophet even in death.
Explore the Inn of the Good Samaritan This inn commemorates the New Testament story of a robbed traveler that was helped by a passing Samaritan that brought him to this roadside inn to tend to his wounds. You are going to find this inn on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem. After excavations here, a Jewish temple and a Byzantine church were discovered on this spot, you are also going to find a museum close to the ruins that are filled with well-preserved mosaics and other discoveries from the site. The inn is a great spot for a pitstop while traveling to or from Jerusalem.