Highlights of City of David and Hezekiahs Tunnel
While visiting the archaeological artifacts of the City of David it is a must to wade through the knee high waters of the tunnel of Hezekiah, for those able to do so. The visitor will get close access to the excavations on the route and will experience ancient Jerusalem in a very unique way.
City of David – Background
The City of David is the oldest part of Jerusalem and is situated right outside the walls of the Temple Mount. The first excavations took place in the 19th Century and the City of David is today open to visitors in a very modern visitors centre, making use of modern technology. This is where King David established the capital of his kingdom and where his son later built the first Temple for the Arch of Covenant to rest, and this central part of Jerusalem has ever since been the focus of world history.
On the slope of the City of David hill, where the Kidron and Ben Hinnom Valleys meet, the Ancient Shiloah Pool was discovered a few years ago. This magnificent pool was constructed 2,000 years ago during the days of King Herod, in Jerusalem’s glorious building tradition. This grand pool served as an important meeting point for Jerusalem’s pilgrims, who would arrive in the city to visit the Temple Mount on the three major Jewish holidays: Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth), and the Festival of Weeks (Shavuot).
The pool is mentioned in the New Testament as the place where Jesus has performed a miracle, as he healed a blind man (John 9 7). An impressive road once connected the Shiloah Pool to the Temple Mount and served as the central axis for all of Jerusalem’s pilgrims and visitors. Shops and businesses once lined the length of the Herodian Road and enjoyed the road’s centrality and the wide exposure that they had to the many pilgrims who filled Jerusalem on the holidays. The way that leads from the Shiloah Pool in the direction of the Temple Mount reached 600 meters into the valley whose Greek name once was the “Tyropoeon” which means the valley of the cheese mongers.
During the Hellenistic Period the road was lined with the shops and factories of dairy product manufacturers, such that when the winter rains would come, the valley would be washed clean of the refuse and smells that were a by-product of the dairy industry. During Jerusalem’s Herodian period the road was paved and at its foot, the Shiloah pool was formed in order to store water for drinking and for the bathing purposes of the visiting pilgrims.
The road became more central and important because of the increasing pilgrimage phenomenon and because of the importance of the Shiloah Pool in the culture of the pilgrims. Specifically, the Shiloah played a critical role in the Libation Ritual ceremony – during which the waters of the Shiloah Pool were brought as an offering at the Temple Mount itself.
Charles Warren in the shaft in 1873 Credit: City of David
In the drainage channels situated beneath the road, impressive artifacts were discovered from the time of the Great Revolt against Rome. The channels themselves and the rare artifacts discovered bear a striking resemblance to the description of Josephus in his book “Wars of the Jews,” Volume 6, which tells the story of the Jews who hid “in the tunnels beneath the Shiloah. City of David offers a tour to showcase this new “Pilgrims Route”. The short version of the tour begins from the pool of Siloam and continues to the Givaty parking lot next to the City of David visitors center. The tour length is about 1 hour.
If you go:
City of David is opened as follows:
City of David Tours (English): 10:00am, 2:00pm, Friday: 10:00am
City of David Tours (Hebrew): 10:00am, 2:00pm, Friday: 10:00am
Hasmonean Aqueduct Tour (Hebrew only): Friday only: 10:00am
Segway Tour (English): 1:00pm
Segway Tour (Hebrew): 10:00am, Friday: 9:00am, 11:30am
City of David Tours (Hebrew): 10:00am, 12:00pm, 4:00pm, Friday: 10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00pm
City of David Tours (English): 10:00am, 4:00pm, Friday: 10:00am
Hasmonean Aqueduct Tour (Hebrew): Friday only: 10:00am
Segway Tour (Hebrew): 10:00am, 4:00pm Friday: 9:00am, 11:30am
Segway Tour (English): 1:00pm
Entrance to Warren’s Shaft and Hezekiah’s Tunnel is permitted until one hour prior to site closing time. Tickets can be purchased up to two hours prior to site closing time.
A person who has bought a ticket for the last entrance time to Warren’s Shaft cannot continue his tour through Hezekiah’s tunnel.
Paid parking is available at the Givati parking lot.
Tours in English are available on site for visitors. For an up to date schedule please visit http://www.cityofdavid.org.il. Group tours are available by reservation in advance. For information and reservations call 02-626-8700 or – firstname.lastname@example.org. For groups -email@example.com