About the Holy Land
The Holy Land is a region situated in the Middle East on the southwestern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It is Bounded on the north by Lebanon and Syria, on the east by Jordan and the Jordan River, on the south by Eqypt and on the west by the Mediterranean Sea. It is divided into four main regions; the coastal plain, which extends along the Mediterranean coast; the western mountains, easr of the coastal plain, which extend from the Hills of Galilee and Samaria to the Judean Hills of Jerusalem; the southern half of the Holy Land known as the dry south land, extends from the vicinty of Beersheba to the Gulf of Aqaba; the fourth major physical region is the Rift Valley located at the east of the Western Mountains.
Because of its strategical location, the kings of Eqypt were the early people who conquered this land so as to control its commerce. Being the land bridge between Mesopotamia and Eqypt, all goods were exchanged in the area. Fortified towns were built and the best harbors on the coast utilized. Inhabiting the area were nomadic Canaanites, Arameans and Hebrews. From 64 B.C. when Pompey took the Holy Land, for Rome, until the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 by Titus, the Holy Land was ruled by the Romans as a dependency of the Roman state. It was Pontius Pilate who, mantained firm control over the Holy Land, despite the fact that the " King of the Jews" Herod The Great was still in power. It was in this time that Jesus born.
During Herod's reign the country prospered and he rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem, theatres in Ceasarea and fortresses such as the one in Masada. After his death Judea and Samaria were put under direct Roman administration and Galilee was given to his son Heros Antipas.
It was the Roman Empire that Jesus appeared when the Holy Land was ruled by Emperor Augustus and his successor Tiberius.
The climate is characterized as Mediterranean with sunshine for most of the year and a rainy season starting from November to April. Light snow is possible during the winter season
The shekel (NIS) is the official currency of Israel and is used in the Palestinian territories as well. One shekel equals 100 agorot. Bank notes are in denominations of NIS 200, 100, 50 and 20 shekels while coins are in denominations of 10, 5, 2 and 1 shekel. Money changers are found in all the major cities, and you can still pay with U.S. dollars. Money can also be obtained from automated teller machines (ATM) located at banks, some money changers and most shopping centers, or by changing traveler’s checks.
Arabic and Modern Hebrew are the two official languages of Holy. It is one of the most multi-cultural and multi-linguistic societies in the world where as many as 33 other languages are spoken including
English and Russian. In the West Bank, Arabic is the official language but many Palestinians are also multilingual.
The new sheqel (Hebrew: שקל חדש, abbr. NIS) is Israel's currency. It is made up of 100 agorot (אגורות). Notes come in 20, 50, 100 and 200 new sheqalim denominations and coins come in denominations of 10 agorot and ½, 1, 2, 5 and 10 new sheqalim.