The City of David is the site of the original Jerusalem of biblical times. It is a symbol for the Jewish people since it is living proof of the existence of a connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel since the dawn of history. The City of David is situated within walking distance of today’s Old City of Jerusalem and contains much archaeological evidence of the kingdom established by King David three thousand years ago. King David decided to unite Israel around a single, strong capital city and; after his son, Solomon, built the First Temple, the city became the state, religious and spiritual capital for the whole nation of Israel.
Today, the City of David is an archaeological site, in which remains including religious structures, forts and city walls were preserved. If you want to experience how life was like in Biblical times in Israel and, if you want to discover the secrets of biblical Jerusalem and walk in the footsteps of kings and prophets on the site in which many of the Bible stories took place, a visit to the City of David is a must.
The activities centred on the City of David are plentiful and, thanks to its unique archaeological discoveries, you can experience ancient Jerusalem. The visitors’ centre offers guided tours of the site that includes the most significant developments such as the Siloam Tunnel, also known as Hezekiah’s Tunnel, Warren’s Shaft, the seat of government and a massive stone structure.
The Siloam Tunnel or Pool was built by the orders of King Hezekiah 2,700 years ago to bring the waters of a spring from outside the ancient city to a storage pool within the city walls. There are even inscriptions in Hebrew giving details of the excavation, which is among the rarest contemporary writings, dating from the time of the First Temple. Visitors can walk through the tunnel and enjoy a refreshingly wet and pleasurable experience, especially on hot summer days. Warren’s Shaft was the first waterworks in Jerusalem and consists of a tunnel several dozen metres long and a vertical shaft about 14 metres (46 feet) high. The seat of government is an area containing many buildings built on the steeply stepped stonework. It is believed people of high rank at the time lived in those houses. Among the many buildings, you will find remnants of the city wall and the Canaanite fortress.
There are guided tours of the City of David, three-dimensional exhibits, and excellent views of the area. The guided “Tour of the Biblical City of David” takes you to the main sites including the Siloam Tunnel. On the other hand, the “Jerusalem at Twilight” tour, which is a visit to the City at dusk, offers a stroll among the olive trees, the view over the city and pleasant harp music. The City of David also hosts many events, which are related to Jewish history and the Israeli connection with the land. One of the most important events is the “Creator of Psalms” festival which consists of two nights of famous artists’ music and theatre performances inspired by the Book of Psalms and King David. Additionally, every year, close to the Jewish New Year, starting in September/October, and during the period known as Selichot (religious poetry and prayers asking for forgiveness), there are special Selichot visits to the City of David. The tours begin with a unique and authentic performance given by an ensemble of 15 musicians and singers who play and sing ancient melodies and poetry on the theme of repentance originating from the range of Jewish communities. The performance takes place against the great and unique background of the City of David. Each of these events creates a magical, unique and emotional atmosphere connecting you to the past of the Jewish nation in the Land of Israel.