Meet The City of David in Jerusalem

The City of David gives visitors a tour of Jerusalem's history starting from finds from the days of King David.

Elad Benari ,

Hezekiah's Tunnel
Hezekiah's Tunnel
Arutz Sheva photo: Wikimedia Commons

The story of the City of David began about 3,000 years ago when King David decided to leave Hevron and move to Jerusalem in order to unite the people of Israel around one capital. He conquered Jerusalem from the Jebusite tribe, one of the seven nations Israel fought against from the days of Joshua by building a tunnel under their wall and surprising them. 

David’s son Solomon, who succeeded him as king, built the First Temple on the summit of Mount Moriah at the Almighty's bidding, as that is where the Binding of Isaac, told in the book of Genesis, had taken place, and Jerusalem thus became the first capital of Israel.

Today the City of David is a charming restored enclave located near the Western Wall. The City of David offers visitors a unique visit to the city of the kings and prophets, where most of the history told in the books of the Prophets occurred. A signet ring inscribed Brachyahu ben Neria, thought to be the brother of the Prophet Jeremiah's scribe, Baruch ben Neria (whose ring was found in the Judean desert), was found in the excavations of the city's living quarters.

The tour offers a spectacular view of walls and old fortifications as well as a visit to underground water tunnels which lead directly to a dip in the waters of the Gihon Spring, the source of ancient Jerusalem's water supply. 

Finally, participants in the tour walk in the shallow waters of Hezekiah’s tunnel, Nikbat HaShiloach,  dug 2700 years ago underneath the City of David during the reign of King Hezekiah. The tunnel brought the Gihon Spring waters into the city, preventing the need, dangerous during wartime, to leave city walls for water.

This tunnel can surely be described as one of the wonders of ancient technology, as the workers started simultaneously from opposite ends of the tunnel and met in the middle after hearing one another's voices when they were only several feet apart, as attested to by the plaque they carved that was found on the tunnel wall.  

The tour takes place after participants watch a three-dimensional movie which unravels the secrets ensconced in the City of David.

The City of David invites the public to an exciting experience during Selichot (special prayers asking forgiveness recited in preparation for the High Holy Days). “A Place for Forgiveness” is a nighttime guided tour in the footsteps of the early residents of the city. It is accompanied by an authentic musical experience in preparation for the days of forgiveness.

At the end of the tour, visitors can ascend to the Western Wall Plaza and join the traditional Selichot prayers that take place starting at midnight throughout the month of Elul preceding the High Holy Days. Visitors who wait until the close of services will hear a set of shofar blowing as well, meant to arouse the worshipers to repentance.