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One of the holiest sites for Jews is the building on Mount Zion known as the Tomb of King David — the celebrated Old Testament warrior king of Israel who is traditionally credited with composing many of the Psalms.
The Old Testament clearly indicates that David was buried somewhere else. However, the site — directly underneath the Cenacle, where Christians commemorate the Last Supper — remains a place of pilgrimage for Jews, Muslims and Christians. David’s death at the end of his 40-year reign is recorded in 1 Kings 2:10: “Then David slept with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David.” Archaeologists have shown that the City of David, also called Zion (or Sion), was the low spur south of the Temple Mount and east of the present Mount Zion. This area, also known as Ophel, is now known to have been the original Jerusalem — making it much older than what is now called the Old City.
But excavations here since the 1800s have failed to identify the royal tomb. (Another tradition places the burial of David in Bethlehem, but excavations have not revealed the tomb there either.)
Modern civilization began right here in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley. Also known as the Fertile Crescent or Mesopotamia, this is the place where, six thousand years ago, agriculture, writing and mathematics were brought into widespread use.The term "Middle East" comes from the British navy, which used it to describe the countries on the trade route from Europe to India and China. Everything from Afghanistan to Morocco may possibly be classified as "middle eastern", depending on whom you ask -- and when.Only a partial list of past Empires in the middle eastern territory includes Sumeria, Babylonia, Persia, the Ottoman Empire and the Roman Empire!When northern Europe was still lurking about in slimy cold stone castles playing chess, the Middle East was enjoying the flowers of poetry, luxurious craftsmanship, music and literature. In fact, the Renaissance in Europe was partly inspired by stories brought back from the middle east by travelers along the trade route.Strategic location, religious history and the world's largest supply of crude oil have kept the Middle East at the center of world activity for centuries. The saga continues.Text by Steve Smith.