Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Cave of the Patriarchs. According to Midrashic sources, it also contains the head of Esau.Hebron (Al-Khalil) (Arabic الخليل, Hebrew חֶבְרוֹן derived from the word "friend") is a town in the Southern Judea region of the West Bank of around 130,000 Palestinians and 500 Israeli settlers. It lies 3,050 feet (930 m) above sea level.

Geographic coordinates : 31°32' N, 35°6' E

Hebron is located 30km south of Jerusalem. Its elevation from sea level is about 1000m. Hebron is famous for its grapes, limestones, pottery workshops and glassblowing factories. It is also home of the nationally famous Al-Juneidi factory for dairy products. The old city of Hebron is characterized by its narrow and winding streets, the flat-roofed stone houses, and the old bazaars. It is the home of Hebron University and Palestine Polytechnic University.

Hebron is one of most ancient cities in the Middle East, and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and was an ancient Canaanite royal city (see Canaan). According to archaeological findings it was probably founded in the 35th century BC. 18th century BC. It is mentioned numerous times in the Bible. In particular, a cave near it, called the Cave of the Patriarchs (Arabic: المسجد الإبراهيمي, or masjid al-Ibrahimi; Hebrew: מערת המכפלה, or me'arat ha-machpela), is where Jews believe Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Leah are buried.

This cave is considered holy by both Jews and Muslims, and is the second holiest site in Judaism. Part of the structure is used by the Muslims as a mosque, as Muslims also revere the site as the burial place of Abraham. According to the Bible, after the settlement of the Israelites in the area, Hebron became one of the principle centers of the Tribe of Judah, and the Judahite David was anointed King of Israel in Hebron and reigned in the city until the capture of Jerusalem, when the capital was moved to that city. It was also one of the six Biblical Cities of Refuge. Herod the Great built the current structure over the Cave of the Patriarchs and Byzantine emperor Justinian I had turned it into a church in the sixth century CE which was later destroyed by the Sassanids.


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