Jerusalem is a city in the Middle East, located on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, and is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Israelis and Palestinians both claim Jerusalem as their capital, as Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there and the State of Palestine ultimately foresees it as its seat of power; however, neither claim is widely recognized internationally.
During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times. The part of Jerusalem called the City of David was settled in the 4th millennium BCE. Jerusalem was named as "Urusalima" on ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets, probably meaning "City of Shalem" after a Canaanite deity, during the early Canaanite period. During the Israelite period, significant construction activity in Jerusalem began in the 9th century BCE, and in the 8th century the city developed into the religious and administrative center of the Kingdom of Judah.