Just outside the gates of today’s Jerusalem lies the ruins of King David’s Palace and the city of Jerusalem that he ruled over. It is an amazing sight to behold. Enter through the gates directly off of Ma’alot Ir David Street. The gate is easy to identify because it has a harp on the wall, since King David was a harp player of great renown.
Once you enter into the City of David you are in an interior courtyard that leads to stairs on the left which will take you up to an overview of the Mount of Olives and the Kidron Valley. You will have an amazing view of the ancient Jewish Cemetery that sits on the Mount of Olives, just above the Garden of Gethsemane.
From there, go back down to the first floor platform and enjoy the gift shop for the City of David for a few minutes before going underneath the platform to view the foundations and the walls of the Palace of David. This sight is amazing because of what it is. It is also amazing because it was literally dug out from underneath the gift shop that sits just above it. The building was in place when an archeologist realized there might be something significant underneath it. The archeologist got permission to dig and man did they find something significant—The Palace of David and the walls of the that Palace!
Spend some time with the Palace. It is almost beyond words to think about standing just over the place where King David spent his private time. After your reflections, walk down the stairs to see the exterior walls of the Palace. These walls are remarkably intact and include several rooms that are believed to either be office of Palace staff or homes for Palace workers. Either way they come complete with a toilet that was used by the inhabitants. Scientists were even able to analyze the remains left at the toilet and tell us something of what the diet of these ancient Israelis was like.
There are bleachers here for you to sit and look over the walls. Take a few minutes to reflect on these walls from the comfort of the bleachers. Do not, however, take too long because this tour is just getting started. From here you will walk uphill and downhill to the entrance of Hezekiah’s Tunnel. This tunnel was built under the direction of Jewish King Hezekiah for the purpose of bringing water into the city, from underground sources, to prepare for a siege as the Assyrians were known to be headed to Jerusalem to destroy it.
This tunnel was started at two different ends, the beginning at the source of the water and at the end where the water was being diverted to. The two crews worked hard and at the last minute, when they were to join the two tunnels into one tunnel it was discovered that they were perfectly aligned. This is made more spectacular considering that it was built about 2800 years ago!
There are two options once you are underground. The Canaanite Tunnel also goes through this area. In this tunnel you can walk on dry ground through cramped tunnels to end up at the same basic location as the other tunnel. The other tunnel is the more adventurous of the two. It is Hezekiah’s Tunnel and is thus filled with water that comes up about to your midthigh. This tunnel is not as cramped, but it does require you to get fairly wet.
Both tunnels ultimately end up at the famous Pool of Siloam where Jesus instructed the blind man to go wash out his eyes. The blind man was healed, thus a famous pool. It is no longer filled with water and is, in fact, barely excavated due to land disputes for land that literally sits over the pool.
This entire trip will take you about an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how much time you spend in contemplation along the way. Relax. Slow down. Enjoy the journey!
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