The sleepy oasis of Jericho—full of date palms, orange groves, banana plantations, bougainvillea bushes, and papaya trees—is aptly called Ariha, or "fragrant," in Arabic. This oldest continuously inhabited city in the world is immortalized as the place where "the walls came tumblin' down" at the sound of Joshua's trumpets. Those ramparts haven't been found, but the ruins of Hisham's Palace give you an idea of the devastating power of an earthquake at a time when cities were built of mud, wood, and stone.

The Palestinian population of about 25,000 is mostly Muslim, but the tiny Christian minority is well represented by a number of landmark churches and monasteries. These biblical and archaeological sites are what draws most tourists today.

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