Webcam with a view of the city of Gaza in Palestine
Gaza stands as the most populous city in the Gaza Strip under the administration of the Palestinian National Authority, with a population of approximately 590 thousand individuals (as of 2017).
Its origins trace back to ancient times, around 3000 BC, rendering it one of the world’s ancient cities. It was part of the Philistine Pentapolis and is mentioned in the Bible 22 times.
Throughout the era of Assyrian conquests, Gaza faced frequent invasions, and its king, Gannunu, is documented in cuneiform inscriptions.
During the war between Sennacherib and Hezekiah, another king named Zillibel chose not to partake in the coalition of the Syrian kings, instead receiving part of Hezekiah’s lands from Sennacherib. Subsequently, Pharaoh Necho briefly took control of Gaza in 608 BC. However, during the fall of Assyria, Nebuchadnezzar II brought Gaza under Babylonian rule, which continued during Nabonidus’ reign.
Following the decline of Babylonian influence, Gaza experienced a period of independence and even resisted Cambyses during his expedition to Egypt. Around 525 BC, Gaza was inhabited by the Semitic Nabatean tribes, noted by ancient historians like Diodorus Siculus and Herodotus. During Darius’ reign, it maintained a degree of internal self-governance.
During this period, Gaza saw an upsurge in interactions with the Greeks. Nonetheless, its original Philistine identity and distinctiveness persisted, resisting the influence of Hellenism for an extended period.