Jerusalem Walls-City of David National Park
Meet Jerusalem Walls-City of David National Park
One of the most important sites in the Jerusalem Walls National Park is the City of David (ancient Jerusalem).
Main points of interest in the City of David
- Hezekiah’s Tunnel (Siloam Tunnel, Shiloah Tunnel): “This same Hezekiah closed the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them down to the west side of the city of David” (2 Chronicles 32:30). Hezekiah’s Tunnel is a long and winding tunnel (533 m in length, and as the crow flies – 320 m), carved out in order to bring water from the Gihon Spring in the Kidron Valley outside the city walls into the Pool of Siloam within the walls of the city of David.
- Pool of Siloam: An ancient pool at the point where the Gihon Spring flows into the city of David. Today, the water flows into a rectangular pool from the Byzantine period, but in the past it flowed into a larger pool that has been only partially uncovered in recent excavations.
- Warren’s Shaft: An ancient vertical shaft, 30 m in height, named after the British researcher Charles Warren who discovered it in 1867. For a long time, researchers assumed that the shaft was part of the ancient water system that gave the Canaanite residents of the city of Jebus access to the Gihon Spring in times of siege. Since the 1995 excavations, the accepted assumption is that the shaft was only made during the period of the Kingdom of Judah, and that the Canaanites drew water from a large pool excavated in the rock within the city’s fortification walls.
- The central drainage channel: Dug out of the belly of the Earth towards the end of the Second Temple period, from the area of the Western Wall in the north, to the ancient Pool of Siloam in the city of David. In recent years it has been cleaned, and today visitors can walk along its length to return from the Pool of Siloam to the entrance to the city of David (and even continue to the Davidson Center, for an additional fee).
- Area G: The excavation area on the eastern slopes of the City of David, which was first excavated by the British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon in the 1960s, and later by archaeologist Yig’al Shilo. Magnificent buildings from the First Temple period were found in this area, apparently part of the government complex of that time. The main building in this complex is called the House of Ahiel (after a clay shard with the name Ahiel found in the building).
- The Gihon Spring: The underlying factor in the development of ancient Jerusalem was the Gihon Spring, one of the largest and most abundant springs of the central mountain ridge. Thanks to this spring, there was human settlement here already in prehistoric times, which grew and increased from the Canaanite period and on. King Solomon was anointed by the waters of this spring, as it says in I Kings 1:38-39: “so they went down and had Solomon ride on King David’s mule and brought him to Gihon; there Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon!”
- The Gihon Spring fortifications: In the archaeological excavations carried out in recent years a vast system of fortifications was uncovered, encompassing the Gihon Spring and protecting it against enemies, with a huge tower built of enormous rocks. The Gihon Spring fortifications have been dated to the Canaanite period (18th century BCE).
- Jerusalem’s ancient city walls: Within the area of the park, sections of Jerusalem’s city walls from different periods can be seen, including walls from the Canaanite period and from the time of the Kingdom of Judah (8th century BCE).
- The Ophel excavations: An area extending over the southern side of the Temple Mount, to the north of the city of David. Ancient stairs have been uncovered here for pilgrims to the Temple Mount (in front of the Hulda Gates), a system of fortifications from the First Temple period (according to the archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar), and Muslim palaces from the Umayyad period (7th – 8th century CE). Access to the site is through the Davidson Center Archaeology Park, and involves a separate entry fee.
Other sites in the area of the Jerusalem Walls National Park are the Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna, a rock climbing site where the cyclamen that indicate the coming of the rains flower), the historic Yemin Moshe and Mishkenot Sha’ananim neighborhoods, and more. The walls themselves and the Old City Walls promenade are not included in the area of the national park.
The Jerusalem Trail, connecting Jerusalem with the Israel Trail, passes through the park along the Kidron Stream and through the Hinnom Valley.
Jerusalem Walls-City of David National ParkUseful Information
Cashier booths close two hours before site closing time (because the visit takes a minimum of two hours)Summer hours: Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 19:00 - 08:00 Friday and holiday eves: 16:00 - 08:00 Winter hours: Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 17:00 - 08:00 Friday and holiday eves: 14:00 - 08:00 Holiday eves: 13:00 - 08:00 Yom Kippur eve: 13:00 - 08:00
Site is closed on Saturday
The entrance to the City of David site next to the Dung Gate can be reached by public transport to the Western Wall, and from there a five-minute walk (following the signs).
People coming by car can park in the parking lots near the Old City (the Mount Zion parking lot, Mamilla parking lot), and walk from there to the site.
|Adult in group||24.00 ₪|
|Child in group||12.00 ₪|
|Israeli senior citizen||14.00 ₪|