Jerusalem is said to have begun some 3,000 years ago, when David conquered a narrow hill south of today’s Old City, making it the capital and spiritual center of Israel.
The City of David, the ancient nucleus of Jerusalem, is located on a narrow spur south of the Temple Mount, surrounded on all sides by valleys, near the Gihon Spring that was its liquid lifeline. During your visit you will see walls and towers that protected the city from its enemies and discover its water systems. You can dip in the Gihon Spring and get to know its dwellings and historical figures as they are reflected in the Bible and in archaeological excavations.
Settlement in the City of David began as early as prehistoric times, as attested by potsherds dating back more than 5,000 years to the Chalcolithic period. In the Early Bronze Age the village that stood here took on an urban aspect. It became a small but significant city in the Middle Bronze Age, the time of the Patriarchs, surrounded by walls and extending over about 50 dunams (approximately 12 acres). Jerusalem is believed to be Shalem, the city where, according to Genesis 14, the encounter took place between Abraham and King Melchizedek of Shalem.
According to Joshua and Judges, Jerusalem was not conquered by the Israelite tribes, and remained an enclave of a people called the Jebusites between Judah and Benjamin. David's rise to power and his political policies resulted in Jerusalem becoming the center of the Jewish people.
After David reigned for a short time in Hebron, he conquered Jerusalem in around 1000 BCE, making it his capital and transforming it into a spiritual center by bringing the Ark of the Covenant there. David's son Solomon finished what his father started, building the Temple and a royal palace.
Despite David's and Solomon's efforts to make Jerusalem a unifying factor, the kingdom split and the city remained the capital of Judah only. Judah's relations with its neighbors flourished, brining prosperity to the city, as well as foreign cultural influences. The House of David continued to rule for 500 years, but according to the Bible, the power of the city frequently waned.
In 586 BCE, the Babylonians conquered the city, destroying it after a lengthy siege. "…came Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem. And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king's house; and all the houses of Jerusalem…(2 Kings 25:8
Length of tour: 3 hours including a walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel; 1 hour and 45 minutes not including the tunnel.
Best season:spring, summer, fall
Don't miss:Hezekiah’s Tunnel
Other facilities and attractions:snack bar, rental of flashlights and water shoes; guided tours for groups and individuals
Hours:April-September 8 A.M.-7 P.M.
Fridays and holiday eves: 8 A.M.-3 P.M.
October-March 8 A.M- 5 P.M.
Fridays and holiday eves: 8 A.M.-1 P.M.
Last entrance to the water system up to two hours before above closing hours.
Phone:City of David Visitors Center 1-800-25-24-23; INPA Jerusalem Walls District 02-625-0143
Fax / Email:02-627-4365
Entrance fee:Not including guided tour:
Adult: NIS 29; child: NIS 15;
Israeli senior citizen: NIS 15
Group (over 30 people): Adult: NIS 23: child NIS 14
Including 3-hour guided tour:
Adult: NIS 50; child/soldier: NIS 30
Entrance to dogs:no entrance to dogs
Accessibility:none; there are numerous steps