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  • Writer's pictureAnnemeet Hasidi-van Der Leij

Discovering Jerusalem's Oldest Neighborhood: City of David

Updated: Apr 27

Byzantine Pool of Siloam

“And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke unto David, saying: 'Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither'; thinking: 'David cannot come in hither.' Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion; the same is the city of David.

And David said on that day: 'Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites, and getteth up to the gutter, and [taketh away] the lame and the blind, that are hated of David's soul--.' Wherefore they say:

'There are the blind and the lame; he cannot come into the house.'

And David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward.”

2 Samuel 5:6-9

The City of David, in Hebrew, עיר דוד, is the name for the oldest settled neighbourhood of Jerusalem and a major archaeological site. It is on a narrow ridge running south from the Temple Mount in the predominantly Arabic neighbourhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem. It was a walled city in the Bronze Age and, according to tradition, it is the place where King David built his palace and established his capital. The City of David enjoyed the defensive advantages of its position by the Tyropoeon Valley to its

west, since largely filled in; by the Hinnom valley to the south, and the Kidron Valley on the east.

City of David National Park, in Hebrew, גן לאומי סובב חומות ירושלים, also called Jerusalem Walls National Park, is a national park located near the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. The national park was designed originally to surround the old city from all sides, to separate between the old city and the new constructions surrounding it while at the same time connecting between them, while preventing construction near the walls. The National park connects to the site of the City of David on the southern part and the Emek Tzurim National Park on the Northern-eastern part. The area of the national park includes the gates to the old city of Jerusalem.

The remains of the palace of King David The ‘City of David,’ is the actual location of the Biblical city of Jerusalem captured by King David over 3000 years ago. The Ir David Foundation (Amutat EL-AD), a non-profit organization established in 1986, is dedicated to the preservation and development of the Biblical City of David and its environs. When David Be'eri (David'le), commander of an elite military unit, first visited the City of David in the mid-1980s, the city was in such a state of disrepair and neglect that the former excavations that had been conducted in the area were once again concealed beneath garbage and waste. Inspired by the incredible archaeological significance of the site, David'le left his army career to establish the Ir David Foundation. The Ir David Foundation is committed to continuing King David’s legacy as well as revealing and connecting people to Ancient Jerusalem’s past through four key initiatives: archaeological excavation, tourism development, educational programming and residential revitalization. The Foundation runs activities at three historic sites in Ancient Jerusalem: The City of David National Park, Armon Hanatziv, and the Mount of Olives, bringing hundred of thousands of visitors to its gates every year. Currently, the Israel Antiquities Authority is excavating three sites in the City of David, sponsored by the Ir David Foundation: ‘Givati’(=the Givati Parking Lot, located in the Tyropoeon Valley), the ‘Spring House’(=a very large fortress surrounding the Gihon Spring) and the ‘Herodian Road’(=Herodian Road From Shiloah Pool to the Western Wall). As excavations are completed, the area is opened to tourism to further deepen visitors’ understanding of its monumental past. Additional educational programming geared towards Israeli students, adults and soldiers reconnects them to their history and heritage.


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