Most tour groups to Israel will visit the site of Old Testament Jericho. However, there is a site about 2 miles south of there where first the Hasmoneans and then King Herod built a series of palaces along the Wadi Qelt.
View looking north at Herod the Great’s Third Palace at Jericho—on the north side of the Wadi Qelt. Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download.
From left to right is a large reception room, a large courtyard, a Roman bath (including cool, dressing, warm, and hot rooms), another courtyard and service area (sloping down and to the right).
During the winter, when there is rain, sleet, and snow in Jerusalem, generally the climate in Jericho is warm and pleasant!
Jericho was famous for the agricultural products that were grown here—especially Balsam shrubs/trees.
This is a view of a pool that, according to the excavator, was used for the soaking of Balsam branches. Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download.
The balsam plantations at Jericho were world famous and this precious commodity was shipped all over the Roman World. To harvest it I believe that usually not-too-deep slits were cut into the branches of the bush with either a sharp bone or piece of glass—never with a metal knife. The sap that came out was processed for its scent.
Evidently, another method included the cutting and soaking of crushed branches, in a pool such as this, but I am not certain how that process actually worked. I am guessing that the finished product, although valuable, was not as good quality as that produced by the method described above.
For 18 high resolution images of Herodian/New Testament Jericho Click Here.
The road leading to and from Jerusalem passed by theses palaces.
- Jewish Pilgrims going up to and returning from Jerusalem.
- Jesus’s family visiting Jerusalem? (Luke 2:41–52)
- The setting for the Parable of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:25–37)
- Healing blind Bartimaeus (and friend). (Matt 20:29–34; Mark 10:46–52; Luke 18:35–43)
- Visiting Zacchaeus the [balsam?] tax collector. (Luke 19:1–10)
The following 11 minute video traces the route of this road from Jericho to Jerusalem.
See Netzer, Ehud, and Rachel Laureys–Chachy. The Architecture of Herod, the Great Builder. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008, pp. 42–80.