Jerusalem seems to be an exception to the rule that all ancient cities must either be on a river or freshwater lake.

First settlement is estimated at 3500 BC.

The nearest major river as far as I can tell from maps seems to be the Jordan River, at ~12mi.


From Wikipedia, which is citing Easton's Bible Dictionary, The Gihon Spring was

a reliable water source that made human settlement possible in ancient Jerusalem – the spring was not only used for drinking water, but also initially for irrigation of gardens.

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