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Rachel Hachlili

[Capharnaum, Kafarnaum; now Kefar Nahum]

Town located on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret), Israel. Mentioned in the New Testament as a place visited by Jesus, it is traditionally held to have been the home of St Peter. Two synagogues have been identified in Capernaum, the second built on the remains of the first, as well as an octagonal area thought to be the site of a church of St Peter, built where his house was believed to have stood. The town was destroyed in the 7th century ad.

The earlier synagogue, dated to the 1st century ad, has been tentatively identified with the synagogue at Capernaum, the building of which is mentioned in Luke 7:5. Excavators have found a basalt cobbled pavement and several basalt walls, which run under the south wall and the east and west stylobates of the main hall of the later limestone synagogue. Benches along the walls are assumed, but no entrance has been found. The dating of the limestone synagogue is in dispute. In ...

Article

Jerome Murphy O’Connor, Michael Turner, Sheila S. Blair, Jonathan M. Bloom, Leen Ritmeyer, Robert Hillenbrand and Alan Borg

[Heb. Yerushalayim; Arab. al-Quds]

City sacred to the three monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, now in Israel. It is built on limestone hills in the central plateau of Judaea, and limited by the Kidron Valley on the east and the Hinnom Valley on the west and south.

Following Jerusalem’s inclusion in the Roman and Byzantine empires, Muslim forces captured Jerusalem in 638 and ruled it until 1099, when European Crusaders captured the city and transformed many of its Muslim monuments. They held it until 1187, when Saladin reconquered the city for Islam. Subsequently held by the Mamluk (to 1516) and Ottoman sultans, the city became the administrative centre of the British mandate in Palestine during World War I. In 1949 Israel declared that [west] Jerusalem was its capital city; following the annexation of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel unilaterally declared that [undivided] Jerusalem was the capital of Israel, although Palestinians continue to maintain that East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state....

Article

Sopron  

Barbra Ruckriegel Egerváry

[formerly Lat. Scarbantia; Ger. Ödenburg]

City in north-west Hungary at the foot of the Lövér Hills. It is capital of Győr-Sopron county and was built on the site of the Roman Scarbantia, originally a Celtic settlement. Roman remains to be found in the area include a Mithraeum near Sopron-Rákos, and the possible remains of an amphitheatre, discovered in 1925. A medieval wall, of which sections still remain, ringed the town in the shape of a horseshoe. St Michael, one of the oldest churches, was built during the 14th century and completed in the later 15th. In the form of a basilica, it has three aisles and a narrow transept. Its Late Gothic towered façade is decorated with richly carved figures and ornamental work, as is its long chancel and square-ended side chancel. Gothic sedilia line the entire length of the chancel. The sacristy has reticulated vaulting and a tessellated, enamelled tiled floor from the late 15th century, the only one of its kind in Hungary....

Article

Adam A. Mazor

[Tel Aviv-Jaffa; Tel Aviv-Yafo]

Israeli city. It was founded in 1909 on the Mediterranean coast within a suburb of Jaffa, c. 55 km north-west of Jerusalem, as the first planned urban Jewish community in Palestine. By 1950 it had grown in size and importance to be reunited with the ancient, predominantly Arab port of Jaffa into one municipality. In 1989 the central population was estimated at 320,000, while the municipal area, covering 13 km of the Mediterranean coastline, was estimated at over 2 million. Tel Aviv serves as the cultural and financial centre for the whole State. The demand for housing, owing to the influx of Jewish immigrants, caused the constant expansion of the city’s boundaries and the increase in density. Housing has been built sporadically according to availability of land and connected by road systems, often without any insight into future needs. In the first 20 years the architecture was eclectic, combining Middle Eastern motifs with Western elements and sometimes embellished with Jewish symbols. Terracotta tiles produced at the ...