Jedha City, also known as the Holy City, NiJedha or simply Jedha, was an ancient walled city located on the desert moon of Jedha. In the city was the ancient Temple of the Kyber, a great temple held sacred by those who followed the teachings of the Church of the Force. For some time before the Battle of Yavin, the Galactic Empire had occupied the city, an action that was met with firm resistance by Saw Gerrera's Partisans. Jedha City was destroyed by a single-reactor superlaser blast from the newly-operational Death Star.
Jedha was an ancient city located on the cold, desert Mid Rim moon of Jedha. Standing atop a rocky mesa, the city was surrounded by a large wall and contained various temples and adorned buildings. The city was divided into two sections by a Division Wall, one section was known as the Old City and the other known as the New City, though even the New City was well over 5000 years old. The most notable structure in the Holy City was the ancient Temple of the Kyber—a great temple protruding high above the city wall that was held sacred by those who followed the teachings of the Church of the Force. Considered a holy site for followers of the mystical energy field known as the Force, the Holy City's streets were filled with priests, scholars, and holy men and women, many of them pilgrims, who could be recognized by their distinctive and often ornate robes.
Sometime before the Battle of Scarif, Jedha City, along with the rest of the moon, was occupied by the Galactic Empire, with Imperial stormtroopers, TX-225 GAVw "Occupier" combat assault tanks, TIE/ln space superiority starfighters, cargo shuttles and an Imperial I-class Star Destroyer being deployed to the city. However, the occupation was met with firm resistance by rebel extremist Saw Gerrera—leader of the Partisans—who coordinated the insurgency from his hideout.
During the Alliance to Restore the Republic's mission to find the location of Imperial scientist Galen Erso, Captain Cassian Andor, Jyn Erso, and reprogrammed Imperial KX-series security droid K-2SO traveled to the Holy City to meet with Gerrera. While there, the trio became involved in a firefight with Imperial and Partisan forces.
Hours later, all Imperial forces were ordered to withdraw from the city immediately. Unknown to many of them, Director Orson Krennic and Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin had decided to test the capability of the Empire's new superweapon-equipped battle station, the Death Star, by firing its superlaser at the city using a single-reactor ignition. The test was a success, resulting in the complete destruction of the Holy City and its inhabitants, as well as the surrounding area. At least 3% of Jedha's Imperial forces were presumed destroyed in the blast as well, having been unable to evacuate. The Imperial casualties included such forces as JN-093's squad, who had been assigned to check possible rebel hiding spots outside the city, leaving them unable to get to the extraction point in time.
In order to prevent the public from finding out about the weapon and the true circumstances of Jedha City's destruction, the Empire portrayed the event as a mining catastrophe to the Imperial Senate. While some reports indicated that the city's destruction had left only a modest crater, in reality the Death Star's blast had obliterated almost a quarter of the moon and exposed its core.
Behind the scenes
- «I had a luck to live and work in Sarajevo during 2008, and in that period I made a lot of pictures of the City. Sarajevo is a melting pot of cultures, and during my work on one of the scenes from Jedha, it occurred to me that two cities had a similar vibe. Photos that I used, I took at a hill facing Baščaršija and the Old Town.»
- ―Michele Benigna[[src]]
Jedha City is a location created and developed for the 2016 Star Wars anthology film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The city was inspired by real life holy cities such as Mecca and Jerusalem and has Middle Eastern influences with its narrow market alleyways, desert sands, and Ottoman-inspired architecture. It is also partly inspired by Sarajevo, a city situated on the Balkans and usually referred to as Jerusalem of Europe, due to its multicultural nature. Jedha City also bears striking similarity with the Jewish fortress-city of Masada. First footage of the holy city was released with the teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on April 7, 2016. The city was first identified as the holy city in Star Wars: Galactic Atlas, a reference book released on November 3, 2016.