Nowadays, considering that no more human sacrifice and sadistic idol worship goes on there now, it's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.
I actually went to a concert that was in a valley or two over. It was outdoors, and they even had fireworks coming from the Old City.

More to the point, there are a few stories about how this particular valley in the Levant got its name. There was, supposedly, a cult that used to hold sacrifices in that area (including, occasionaly, their own children), ond at one point it might have been a burning heap a trash (a biblical incinerator, perhaps). Its demonic and firey connotations earned its epithet of "the valley of the shadow of death" as well as its metaphoric usage in religious literature as the opening or path to Gehennah or Hell.

Perhaps most famously mentioned in Psalm 23: "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me."

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