While in Jerusalem, the City of David is a must-see destination that will whisk you back to the ancient Jerusalem of Scripture, a place of history and prophecy where miracles flourished.
Captured by King David from the Jebusites over 3,000 years ago (2 Samuel 5:6-7), the City of David, also known as the “stronghold of Zion” (2 Samuel 5:7), is located a short distance south of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. Nestled between two valleys, the city was built on a narrow ridge, called the Ophel, near the Gihon Spring, the main water source.
Rich with historic significance, the City of David has revealed some of the most exciting biblical archaeological artifacts and captivated researchers for the last 150 years.
Ongoing excavations have uncovered portions of King David’s palace or structures which preceded it. Clay seals, called bullae, from the archive bear names of figures known from Scripture, and remains of a Byzantine monastery were discovered at the base of the Temple Mount. These are but a few of many sites to highlight your adventure through the City of David, the place where Jerusalem was born.
The three-hour tour of the City of David includes:
Fascinating animated film about ancient Jerusalem and the City of David sets the stage for your tour of this ancient city.
Ancient City Overview
The original urban core of ancient Jerusalem.
King David’s Palace Excavation
Impressive structure from the period of the Judean kings.
Remnants of remarkable homes from the biblical period.
Built as part of a fortified subterranean water system for the residents of the City of David around 9-10 BCE, the shaft is named for the 19th-century British engineer Charles Warren, who discovered it in 1867.
The original water source for ancient Jerusalem.
While there is a scenic walkway for those who prefer not to go through one of the ancient tunnels there are two tunnel options: Hezekiah’s Tunnel, where visitors must walk through up to 18 inches of water, or the dry Canaanite Tunnel.
• Hezekiah’s Tunnel
Constructed by King Hezekiah during the 7th Century BCE to protect Jerusalem’s water source while also denying it to the Assyrian armies who besieged the city (2 Chronicles 32:3-4; 30; 2 Kings 20:20), the tunnel is approximately 600 yards long – connecting the Gihon Spring with the Pool of Siloam. Visitors can walk the length of the tunnel and see an inscription at the end of the tunnel which describes the completion of the project.
• Canaanite Tunnel
This tunnel is from approximately 1800 BCE, from the time of the early fortifications of the city. This tunnel pre-dates Hezekiah’s tunnel by 1100 years, but did not provide adequate security from invaders.
Pool of Siloam
The Pool of Siloam, mentioned in John’s account of Jesus’ restoring sight to a man blind from birth (John 9:1-41), was undiscovered until 2004, when a drainage repair crew uncovered a series of large stone steps which had led to a first-century ancient pool. A second smaller site, dated around the 5th century, was previously believed to be the Pool of Siloam.
From the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount is a section of a Herodian street that the thousands of Jews used three times each year to ascend to the temple during the pilgrim feasts.
The City of David is the portion of Jerusalem referenced in the Psalms and by many of the prophets. This is an important stop on any visit to Jerusalem.