This National Geographic special issue starts with the geography of the Holy Land itself, including modern-day Israel and Lebanon, parts of Jordan, Syria, and northeast Egypt. By looking at the rise of early cities, like Jericho and Ugarit, we see the combination of commerce, culture, and politics that shaped early regional civilizations. Then the issue moves into the three faiths that intersect in Jerusalem.
The section on Judaism begins with the epic journey of Abraham and the introduction to monotheisma new concept acknowledging a single god with whom people had direct relationships. Maps trace the heritage of figures like Moses, David, Saul, and Solomon. The Christianity section shows where Jesus and his Apostles lived and taught and covers the early persecution of Christians until Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity in 313AD. The section about Islam moves forward to the 7th century and explores the construction of the Haram al-Sharif, the faith’s oldest surviving piece of architecture. The issue concludes in the 20th century, connecting the history of the Holy Land with contemporary religion, and sets the stage for the conflicts that continue today.