Jerusalem, a millennia-old city sacred to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, is also a growing metropolis and the capital of a modern country. But its population of 720,000, two-thirds Jewish and one-third Palestinian, is deeply divided religiously and politically. Development must accommodate these groups’ conflicting needs—and ubiquitous archaeological remains.
Even a seemingly simple project, such as replacing a temporary pedestrian bridge leading to the sacred Temple Mount, can provoke the threat of Armageddon. In February, just as construction was to begin, archaeological excavations rekindled old rumors that Israelis were endangering the al-Aqsa mosque nearby. Riots forced Mayor Uri Lupoliansky to freeze the project. Although other ancient cities must grapple with archaeological remains, Jerusalem with its development problems is unique—and requires solutions that go beyond architecture.