This article explores the different names of Jerusalem and their linguistic natures, etc. For a discussion of the politics and history of Jerusalem itself, the Jerusalem and Timeline of Jerusalem articles are probably a better place to start.

Over the millennia, there have been different names for Jerusalem in different languages.

Several Jewish midrashim say that "Jerusalem has 70 names".[1] Lists have been compiled of 72 different Hebrew names for Jerusalem in Jewish scripture.[2]



In the Book of Genesis, Salem or Shalem is the name of the place of which Melchizedek is king. Genesis 14:18 has מלכי־צדק מלך שלם ... כהן לאל עליון׃ The KJV renders this as "Melchizedek king of Salem ... the priest of the most high God (El Elyon)." The Hebrew root שלם š-l-m means "whole, complete" in the idiomatic sense of "at peace".[3]

That the name Salem refers to Jerusalem is evidenced by Psalms 76:2 which uses "Salem" as a parallel for "Zion", the citadel of Jerusalem. Similarly the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews equates Salem with Jerusalem and the same identification is made by Josephus and the Aramaic Targums.

In the Amarna letters, Urušalim is used for Jerusalem and is recognized as being a cognate of Hebrew Ir Shalem - city of Salem.[citation needed].

Language Name Translit. Variant Translit. Meaning
Biblical Greek Σαλήμ[4] Salēm Σόλυμα[5] Solyma "Peace"
Biblical Latin Salem
Arabic ساليم Sālīm
Tiberian Hebrew שָׁלֵם Šālēm
Standard Hebrew שָׁלֵם Šalem "Whole", "Complete"


  • Arabic أُورُشَلِيمَ Ūršalīm, Ūršalaym (Ūrušalīm, Ūrušalaym )
  • Biblical Hebrew ירושלם Yerushalaim probably "Heritage of Shalem" or "Heritage of the Complete"
  • Aramaic יְרוּשְׁלֶם Yərûšəlem
  • Biblical Greek Ιερουσαλήμ Hierousalēm, Ierousalēm, Ιεροσόλυμα Hierosolyma, Ierosolyma
  • Syriac ܐܘܪܫܠܡ Ūrišlem
  • Biblical Latin Hierosolyma Ierusalem
  • Armenian Երուսաղեմ / Erousałem
  • Tiberian Hebrew יְרוּשָׁלַםִ / יְרוּשָׁלָםִ Yərûšāláim / Yərûšālāim
  • Standard Hebrew יְרוּשָׁלַיִם Yerushalayim
  • Old Norse Jorsala
  • Russian Иерусалим / Iyerusalim
  • Lithuanian Jeruzalė / Yäruzal'eh
  • Spanish Jerusalén

Jerusalem is the name most commonly used in the Bible, and is the preferred name in Jewry and the Western World. Its Arabic counterpart, Ūršalīm, is the term used by the government of Israel in Arabic, and by Arabs in certain historic or Biblical contexts. Its first recorded Hebrew mention was found in Khirbet Beit Lei.

A Midrashic explanation of the name relates it to the yir'eh from the name Adonai-yir'eh ("The Lord sees", Vulgate Latin Dominus videt) given to Moriah by Abraham and the name Salem. Other midrashim say that Jerusalem means "City of Peace",Shalom.[6]

The Midrash teaches that there are seventy names for Jerusalem.[7]

The Greek form Hierousalēm with the rough breathing (h sound) not derived directly from the Hebrew pronunciation, indicates a reinterpretation of the first syllables as the Greek hiero meaning holy.[8][9] Similarly the Old Norse form Jorsala lacking the m sound of the Hebrew indicates an reinterpretation of the last syllables as the Old Norse toponym ending -sala denoting a hall or temple.





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In the Book of Genesis, Moriah is the name of the Temple Mount at a time when it is uninhabited. It is the place where, in the Jewish and Christian traditions, Abraham attempts the sacrifice of his son Isaac.


Main article: Zion

City of DavidEdit

The name derived from king David the founder of the city.


"The Lord sees", in Vulgate Latin Dominus videt. The original Hebrew has the future tense "shall see" and the tetragrammaton instead of Adonai. Name given by Abraham after God provided a ram to be sacrificed in place of Isaac. It is conventionally pronounced as "Adonai-yir'eh" because of Jewish religious rules against pronouncing the name tetragrammaton. In the opinion of some Rabbinic commentators the combination of Yir'eh (יראה) with Shalem (שלם) is the origin of the name Jerusalem (ירושלם).

Neveh TzedekEdit

"Oasis of Justice".(נווה צדק)

As in the Book of Jeremiah 31:22.

Ir Ha-KodeshEdit

and Ir Ha-Kedosha

Hebrew: "City of the Holy Place/Holiness"(עיר הקודש)

The City of the Great KingEdit

  • Hebrew: kiryat melekh rav (קרית מלך רב) as in Psalm 48:2.
  • Koine Greek: polis megalou basileos (πόλις μεγάλου βασιλέως) as in Matthew 5:35.
  • Tiberian Hebrew קִרְיַת, מֶלֶךְ רָב Qiryaṯ, Meleḵ Rāḇ



  • Arabic القدس al-Quds "The Holy", القدس الشريف al-Quds aš-Šhareef "The Holy Sanctuary"
  • Turkish Kudüs; Cudsembarie[10]
  • Azeri Qüds; Qüdsi-Şərif
  • Tiberian Hebrew הַקֹּדֶשׁ HaQodhesh "The Holy"
  • Standard Hebrew הַקֹּדֶשׁ HaKodesh
  • Persianقدس Qods
  • Urdu قدس' Quds or Quds-e-Šhareef

Al-Quds is the most common Arabic name for Jerusalem and is used by many cultures influenced by Islam). The word Quds is derived from the Semitic root Q-D-S, meaning "holy". The variant al-Quds aš-Šarīf has also been used, notably by the Ottomans, who also used the Persian influenced Kuds-i Şerîf.[citation needed]

Bayt al-MaqdisEdit

  • Arabic بيت المقدس Bayt al-Maqdis, Bayt al-Muqaddas "House of the Holiness"

Bayt al-Maqdis or Bayt al-Muqaddas is a less commonly used Arabic name for Jerusalem, a variant of the previous. It is the base from which nisbas (names based on the origin of the person named) are formed - hence the famous medieval geographer called both al-Maqdisi and al-Muqaddasi (born 946.) This name is used in the Hadith (Sahih Muslim 234, 251). The name is in reference to the Hebrew name for the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, "Beit Hamikdash." (בית המקדש)

  • Azeri Beytül-Müqəddəs
  • Persian بيت مقدس Beit-e Moghaddas
  • Turkish Beit-i Mukaddas
  • Urdu بيت مقدس Bait-e Muqaddis


  • Arabic البلاط al-Balāṭ, a rare poetic name for Jerusalem, from Latin palatium "palace".




Aelia CapitolinaEdit

Aelia Capitolina was the Roman name given to Jerusalem after all Jews were expelled from the area. The name refers to Hadrian's family, the gens Aelia and to the hill temple of Jupiter built on the remains of the Jewish Temple. Its Arabic counterpart, ʼĪlyāʼ was sometimes used in early times Middle Ages, as in some Hadith (Bukhari 1:6, 4:191; Muwatta 20:26), like Bayt ul-Maqdis (see below.)

Airport codesEdit

JRS and LLJR were the IATA and ICAO airport codes for the Jerusalem International Airport.


  1. Numbers Rabbah, 14, 12; Midrash Tadsha (Baraita Phinehas ben Jair 10; Midrash Zuta Song of Songs 3,1; Midrash ha-Gadol Genesis 46, 8;
  2. Ilana Caznelvugen lists the 72 names in her two articles "Many names for Jerusalem" and "70 Names for Jerusalem", Sinai 116, Mosad Harav Kook, 1995. The Jerusalem municipality website lists 105 Hebrew names.
  3. From the New International Version of the Bible: "and Abraham gave [Melchizedek] a tenth of everything. First, his name means "king of righteousness"; then also, "king of Salem" means "king of peace." Hebrews 7:2
  4. E.g. found in the Septuagint and the writings of Philo; cf. Melchizedek as "king of peace" (Σαλήμ) in Heb. 7.1–2, based on Gn. 14.18; cf. also Philo, leg. all. 3.79.
  5. Cf. e.g. Flavius Josephus, Ant. J. 1.180.
  6. Bar Ilan University Article, Prof. Yaakov Klein
  7. Patterson, 2005, p. 225.
  8. Alexander Hopkins McDannald (editor), The Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 16, Americana Corporation, 1947, entry Jerusalem
  9. Gerhard Kittel (editor), Gerhard Friedrich (editor), Geoffrey W. Bromiley (editor),Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume, Eerdmans, 1985, entry Sion [Zion], Ierousalem [Jerusalem], Hierosolyma [Jerusalem], Hierosolymites [inhabitants of Jerusalem]
  10. See 'JERUSALEM', Engraved by Lodge in George Henry Millar, The New & Universal System Of Geography (London: Alexander Hogg, 1782)



External linksEdit

See alsoEdit

br:Anvioù Jeruzalem eo:Nomoj de Jerusalemo fa:نام‌های دیگر اورشلیم fr:Noms de Jérusalem he:שמות ירושלים mk:Имиња на Ерусалим ms:Nama-nama Baitulmuqaddis pl:Nazwy Jerozolimy

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