The Holy Land (Hebrew: ארץ הקודש Eretz HaKodesh; Latin: Terra Sancta, Arabic: الأرض المقدسة al-Arḍ ul-Muqaddasah;) or Holy Lands (plural) is a generic term that usually refers to one or more countries in the Middle East region of the world that witnessed the origins and early history of three of the world's great religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
As such, the Holy Land(s) has/have been the focus of travel and - indeed - pilgrimage - for centuries (and continue to attract visitors on the same basis even today...) Owing to their economic, religious and cultural importance - and an ironic ability to create division and hostility - the Holy Land(s) also represent(s) the landscape in which the Jewish Diaspora, the medieval Crusades and (most recently) the modern Arab-Israeli Conflict have been played out, making their own contribution to the strategic and military interest of the region.
In order of size (and probable importance) to the traveller / pilgrim, countries associated with the term "Holy Land" are as follows:
- Israel - holds the vast majority of sites sacred to Judaism (especially Jerusalem) and Christianity (Nazareth, and the Old City of Jerusalem, scene of the crucifixion and resurrection)
- the Palestinian Territories - the West Bank includes Bethlehem (the birthplace of Jesus) and Hebron (burial place of Abraham)
- Jordan - includes a number of sites and localities associated with Judaism and Christianity, especially from the life of Moses and Jesus
Jewish Holy Land
Christian Holy Land
Islamic Holy Land
See also our article on the Hajj pilgrimage.
Bahá'í Holy Land
This page was last edited at 15:38, on 27 September 2007 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew Haggard and LB, Wikitravel user(s) Pashley and Pjamescowie and Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel.