Jericho is the city that Joshua, in around 1200 B, conquered peacefully (Joshua 2,1 – 4,24) thanks to the famous trumpets which, in the symbolism of the Bible, represent the intervention of God: that the people of the Alliance could settle in Jericho was a gift from God. In this very ancient city, the oldest fortified city known in the East, which dates back to 8000 or 9000 years ago, there is the Tel es-Sultan, a hillock standing some 15 metres high where Miss Kenyon carried out excavations in 1955-56.
Jericho is also the place in the Gospel where the Lord Jesus healed two injured men: Bartimaeus, physically injured by blindness and Zacchaeus, injured in the soul by his sins (Luke 18-19). The few sycamores still left in the present-day city of Jericho remind pilgrims that Zacchaeus climbed up into the branches of a sycamore to see Jesus. The small Latin Catholic church is dedicated to Jesus the Good Shepherd: because Jesus really was a Good Shepherd for Bartimaeus and Zacchaeus. It is the parish church of a small community of 200 Arab Christians. Just a few steps away there is the Orthodox church, which has about 250 faithful. Two Catholic schools (one for boys and one for girls) bring together all the children of the Catholic and Orthodox families, as well as a good number of Muslim children; Jericho has a population of about 25,000 Arab Muslims.