Central Gaza is situated on a low-lying and round hill with an elevation of 45 feet (14 m) above sea level. Much of the modern city is built along the plain below the hill, especially to the north and east, forming Gaza's suburbs. The beach and the port of Gaza are located 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) west of the city's nucleus and the space in between is entirely built up on low-lying hills.
Gaza is 78 kilometres (48 mi) southwest of Jerusalem, 71 kilometres (44 mi) south of Tel Aviv, and 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of Rafah. Surrounding localities include Beit Lahiya, Beit Hanoun, and Jabalia to the north, and the village of Abu Middein, the refugee camp of Bureij, and the city of Deir al-Balah to the south.
The municipal jurisdiction of the city today constitutes about 45 square kilometres (17 sq mi).
The population of Gaza depends on groundwater as the only source for drinking, agricultural use, and domestic supply. The nearest stream is Wadi Ghazza to the south, sourced from Abu Middein along the coastline. It bears a small amount of water during the winter and virtually no water during the summer. Most of its water supply is diverted into Israel. The Gaza Aquifer along the coast is the main aquifer in the Gaza Strip and it consists mostly of Pleistocene sandstones. Like most of the Gaza Strip, Gaza is covered by quaternary soil; clay minerals in the soil absorb many organic and inorganic chemicals which has partially alleviated the extent of groundwater contamination.
A well-known hill southeast of Gaza, known as Tell al-Muntar, has an elevation of 270 feet (82 m) above sea level. For centuries it has been claimed as the place to which Samson brought the city gates of the Philistines. The hill is crowned by a Muslim shrine (maqam) dedicated to Ali al-Muntar ("Ali of the Watchtower"). There are old Muslim graves around the surrounding trees, and the lintel of the doorway of the maqam has two medieval Arabic scriptures.
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