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Jerusalem is exceptionally rich in birdlife, which includes 70 resident species and about 150 winter visitors.
Those most commonly seen are the hooded crow, jay, swift (which nests in old walls and buildings), and bulbul. In the winter, starlings and white wagtails roost in the thousands at various points in the metropolitan area.
At the centre of the modern municipality is the Old City, a walled medieval enclosure of less than half a square mile (roughly one square km), from which the entire city has grown.
To the east the city looks down on the Dead Sea and across the Jordan River to the arid mountains of eastern Jordan (the biblical mountains of Moab).
Sunlight falling on the white and pink stone used for all construction gives even quite mundane buildings an aura of distinction.
The scent of cooking and spices, the peal of church bells, the calls of muezzins from minarets, and the chanting of Jewish prayers at the Western (Wailing) Wall all add flavour to the life of the city.
The absence of vehicular traffic within most of the Old City helps preserve its special character.
In recognition of its central place in the traditions and histories of numerous peoples, the Old City was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981.
The Old City, which is believed to have been continuously inhabited for almost 5,000 years, forms a walled quadrilateral about 3,000 feet (900 metres) long on each side.The only venomous snake is the Palestine viper, but this is rarely seen in urban areas.The smooth lizard and common chameleon frequent gardens and the walls of houses.The hot dry desert wind, called khamsin, from the Arabic word for “fifty,” as it is said to come some 50 days per year), is fairly common in autumn and spring.Average daily humidity is about 62 percent in the daytime but may drop 30 to 40 percent under conditions.