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Mount of Olives
Mount of Olives
#About the Olive Mount

The Mount of Olives is a tall hill, the tallest mountain range in East Jerusalem, it separates the Old City and the Judean desert. It begins at the edge of the Armon Hanatziv ridge, to the south and north it ends at Mount Scopus.

The mountain used to be called the "mountain of happiness," and the "Mount of Destruction" - a name derived from the sacrificing ritual that took place nearby.

The importance of this mountain is mainly religious. This place is very important to Christianity, who see the mountain as a place where Jesus was during his last days in Jerusalem, and since the Middle Ages many churches built here have made this place a Christian center, as well as for Islam, who connects the mountain with the Day of Judgment in the End of Days, as mentioned in the Quran.

Judaism's connection to the mountain come from the days of the Temple, as the place of the Sacrificing Red Heifer ceremony, a ceremony to purify a person's impurity from whatever polluted it. Even after the destruction of the Temple and until the early Middle Ages, when the Romans didn't allow Jews to live in Jerusalem. At the same time Jews were not allowed to visit the Olive Mount, expect on Tisha B'Av, they would come here to look onto the Temple Mount and cry over the destruction of the Temple.

There are many churches at the Olive Mount, among them is the Church of Mary Magdalene, Church of All Nations, also called "Get Sh'manime." Nearby is the Church of Our Heavenly Father, the Russian Church of Ascension to Sky, with its tower, as well as the Church of Augusta Victoria.

#About the Jewish Cemetery on the Olive Mount

As a cemetery for more than 3,000 years, the cemetery has been active since the days of the First Temple, it is the oldest Jewish cemetery in the world, many Jews are buried here all throughout history. Some believe that the Jews who are buried here will be the first to be resurrected when the resurrections happens. This is why many want to be buried here, which also made the burial plots here very expensive.

The Jewish Cemetery spreads about the southern part of the hill, and towards Nachal Kidron. The place used to be a burial spot for the Cana'anites, thanks to its distance from the city and softness of the ground.

At the bottom of Mount of Olives, there are remains of Jewish gravestones from the first and second Temple periods. Jewish burials were recorded here from the Middle Ages.

During the Jordanian rule over East Jerusalem, since the War of Independence in 1948 and until Jerusalem's release in 1967, the cemetery was desecrated, and a hotel was even built on top of it.

Here are buried, among the others, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who asked to be buried here, instead of the area for the nation's leaders on Mount Herzl. Also, Shay Agnon, Rabbi Kook and Eliezer Ben Yehuda are buried here, not far from them, in the Christian section outside the fence, is also buried Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist, documented in the film "Schindler's List" after saving hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust.


Try coming here during the morning hours, during the afternoon the sun can be scorching hot, and makes seeing the view of the Old City and the Temple Mount difficult.

Pay attention - there is no public transportation on the top of the hill

A Closer Look at Mount Olives:

Jerusalem Archaeological Park
Jerusalem Archaeological Park
#About What the Excavations on the Southern Side of the Western Wall Discovered

On the Temple Mount, the Sages (may their memory be blessed) said, "Those who have not seen the Temple of Herod have not seen a beautiful building before." Around you, you can see real remains that will show you what they meant.

Welcome to the excavation site near the southern part of the Temple Mount, outside the walls of the Old City. You are in the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, where you can see the excavations of the southern wall of the Jewish Temple.

Here one can see the steps on which the Sages dwelled and from which the pilgrims entered the Temple.

You can also see a stone from the "house of blowing," the place where the shofar was blown in the Temple Mount.

See also the ashes of the fire from the Romans when they burned Jerusalem.

#The Place of the Stones of the Western Wall

Notice the original pavement from the Herodian street, the one built during Herod's reign. It is the same street that continues northward, to the Western Wall tunnel area, and southward - to the area of ​​the Shiloah Pool in the City of David.

Pay attention to the outlet in the middle of the paving. It may seem to you like just a dent, but it is a remnant of the greatest drama of the Jewish people, which will affect its history for the last two thousand years. This depression was created from a pile of stones that fell on the street, right at the time of the destruction of 70 CE, when the Romans destroyed the Temple.

Most of the stones in the heap above the depression, incidentally, were evacuated from here and buried elsewhere in the compound. This was because it was feared that these stones were part of the Temple itself.

#Robinson's Arch

Raise your head and see the remains of the rainbow that once rose above. This is the Robinson's Arch, named after the British researcher who identified these remains as early as the 19th century. These are the remains of a monumental staircase, which during the Second Temple period tens of thousands of pilgrims climbed into the Temple Mount.

When the arch was complete, it joined up with the almost complete base, which is below. See it? - Pretty. Note that this is perhaps the most ancient interchange in the world and perhaps the first in history.

#What is the Southern Wall?

The southern wall is the continuation of the Western Wall, to the south. It is also almost as high as the Western Wall. It is located on the southern side of the wall that supports the Temple Mount plaza in the Old City and in fact is the southern wall of the entire Old City.

All findings you see in the archaeological garden, were discovered in the excavations carried out there after the liberation of the Old City in the Six Day War.

The southern wall is considered one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the Old City, alongside the excavations that exposed the Western Wall tunnels and the Western Wall itself.

Alongside the important discoveries that you see here in Jewish history, the importance attributed to the southern wall is also connected to the Muslim belief that here, right here, Muhammad tied his mare to the Wall and went up to the Temple Mount to pray there and ascend to Heaven.

A Close Look at the Western Wall Excavations at Night:

Temple Mount
Temple Mount
#About the Temple Mount

Many of us have heard about the Temple Mount from newspapers and such, as a popular place all over the world, and nonstop tension between Jews and Muslims and between Israel and Palestine.

First of all, the Temple Mount is not a large place, about 140,000 square meters, it is a holy place for Islam and Judaism. Muslims believe that from here Muhammad ascended to the sky, and here the resurrection of the dead will happen on judgment day. Jews remember the Temple, which was built here and was destroyed twice.

On the Temple Mount, among others, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and built and the impressive Dome of the Rock, a luxury Islamic architecture.

The Temple Mount is located on the South-Eastern side of the Old City of Jerusalem. Today the area is mainly flattened, and is almost perfectly rectangular. It is a real mountain, where the peak reaches 743 meters above sea level. It was originally built during Herod's Rule, but was retained by Muslims, who conquered the city and turned it into a mosque. The wall on the western side is the "Western Wall" - The holiest place for Jews, the last remains of the Temple.

Either way, Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, and are only allowed to visit. Only Muslims are permitted to pray here.

A View from Above:

Western Wall
Western Wall
#About the Holiest Place for the Jewish People

You are facing the holiest place for the Jewish people. This is the Western Wall of the Second Jewish Temple. Known as the "Kotel" in Hebrew, this is the only surviving remnant, after the destruction of the Roman Revolt by Titus, the commander of the Roman Legions, in the year 70 CE.

For hundreds of years, after the destruction of the Temple, the Western Wall was not a prayer place for Jews living in the country. It was only in the 16th century, when the government began prohibiting Jews from ascending to the Temple Mount, that the Western Wall became a place of Jewish prayer and a symbol of yearning for the Temple. At the foot of the Western Wall there was a narrow alleyway where the Jews prayed as close as possible to the site of the Temple.

After the establishment of the State of Israel, when Jerusalem was divided (1948-1967), the Kingdom of Jordan ruled the Western Wall and prohibited Jewish access to the Wall. Many Jews used to go to Mount Zion and pray on King David's tomb, watching from the top of the building toward the Temple Mount and hoping for a day when they could go back and pray at the Western Wall.

At the end of the Six Day War, the worshipers streamed en masse to the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall. Then houses of the Mughrabi neighborhood, which were adjacent to the Western Wall, were demolished and the large prayer plaza adjacent to the Western Wall was built.

#The Wall's Structure

The Kotel is one of four huge retaining walls built during the first century BCE, in the renovation of Herod's Second Temple. The builders then created Mount Moriah, a huge square with the Temple in its center. The length of the Western Wall was half a kilometer and about 30 meters high. It was built on the bedrock of Jerusalem, with the space between the walls and the mountain filled to create a huge, paved plaza, with an area of ​​144,000 square meters, an area similar to that of 12 soccer fields.

The wall was built of hewn stones, huge in size, each weighing between 2 and 5 tons. Each of the stones of the Western Wall is carved in the manner typical of the construction of Herod's reign, with its slightly protruding stone center, as opposed to the carved stone frame, smoother and more submerged.

If you stand near the wall and look up, you will see that each layer of stones is retreated in about three centimeters, compared to the layer below. This is a construction technique whose function is to provide stability and strength to the ancient structure, since the construction of the massive structures and retaining walls at the time did not yet use concrete.

Today the Western Wall is used for religious services and gatherings, and many come to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah ceremony, completion of a military tracks, and other celebrations.

#How Did the Western Wall Remain Intact, and Was Not Destroyed?

For many years, the belief among the Jews was that the Western Wall of the Temple had never been destroyed. Already in the first few centuries after the destruction, the generations were amazed at how the fate of the Western Wall improved and it survived, unlike the other three walls.

The religious answer was that it was the wall closest to the resting place of the Divine Presence. The Ark of the Covenant in the First Temple near the Western Wall. This was the case in the First Temple. But in the Second Temple the Ark of the Covenant was no longer in the Temple, so what saved the Wall from destruction?

The claim of the believers is that even if the Holy Ark has disappeared, the Divine Presence never moved from the Western Wall of the Temple and therefore it continued to preserved from destruction.

But there is another story, a Jewish legend, which explains the preservation of the Western Wall from destruction. According to the story, Titus, the commander of the Roman Legion who conquered Jerusalem, ordered four of the senior commanders under him to destroy the Jewish Temple. Each of them was ordered to demolish one of the walls of the Temple. The one who was left to destroy the Western Wall tried to carry out the order, but failed. When Titus asked him why he had not completed his ordered, the frightened commander replied that if he had destroyed the last remaining wall, future generations could not see how impressive the Temple was, before it was destroyed by Titus. Titus, pleased with the flattering answer, left the wall standing.

By the way, we know today that the Western Wall was much taller in height. Over the generations, the wall was almost completely destroyed and what remains of it is the Western Wall of today.

A Closer Look at the Western Wall in Jerusalem:


Old City of Jerusalem

Lions' Gate
Lions' Gate
#About the Gate Where it All Began

You are standing at the Lions' Gate, the Eastern gate of the Old City, located across from Olive Mount. The walkway from the gate leads to the Via Dolorosa, and the last station in the Crusade of Jesus.

The gate was built in the 16th century, was part of the Old City walls by the Ottoman Sultan Süleyman.

Not only for its location on the Via Dolorosa, but also during the Six Day War in 1967 this gate was of great importance. Through this gate paratrooper units came on their way to the Temple Mount and liberated the Old City and the Western Wall. With this, 19 years of Jordanian rule ended, and Jewish life in the city returned to flourish.

The Lions' Gate was named because of the lion figures engraved in the stones of this gate. In fact, these are the Bardalas, the symbol of the Mameluke king of Baybars, who ruled Jerusalem in the 13th century. Only by mistake are they considered lions.

#Lions' Gate's Architecture

In the past, the Lions Gate was a Tafnit Gate, like the Jaffa and Zion Gate. A tafnit gates's goal is to delay invasions of forces into the city. But unlike the other gates, the Lions' Gate has changed over the years and has been turned into a straight gate, which can also be used to bring vehicles into the Old City.

On either side of the Lions' Gate there are reliefs of lions. Actually these are not really lions, but we'll get back to that. Legend has it that these bullets were placed in the gate after Sultan Süleyman dreamed of a dream and in his dream two lions were about to devour him, as punishment for not protecting the holy city of Jerusalem. The Sultan interpreted the dream as a sign from heaven and ordered that Jerusalem be surrounded by a wall.

And we will return now to the lions, which are similar to the Bardalas. Some scholars believe that these reliefs were brought here from a more ancient structure, built by the Mamluk ruler of Baybars, who was known as the Bardalas.

If you look over the lions or the bardalas, you will see other decorations. There are flowers here and small arches. They all stand between the slits. See above the inscription commemorating the construction of the city wall by the Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent.

Pay attention to the small balcony at the top of the gate. This balcony is called "Machecollum," from which you could look at the line of the wall and in the event of an attack, pour boiling oil on invading soldiers or just uninvited guests.

A Closer Look at the Lions' Gate:

The Crusader Market
The Crusader Market
#About the Crusader Market

The Crusader Market, located under the Western Wall Yeshiva, is the remains of the market that existed here, that the Crusaders built over remains of the Byzantine Cardo that went through here. Later the vaults you see above became the cellars of buildings built above the remains of the Crusader market. Only in 1967, after the Six-Day War and the renovation of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City, was the ancient Crusader Market restored and became an active place.

The delicacies sold here during the Crusader period are now sold elsewhere. The only small part of the market remaining today are the small shops that sell ice cream and drinks to thirsty and hot tourists, making their way to the Western Wall.
Zion Gate
Zion Gate
#About the Gate

Zion Gate, one of Jerusalem's gates, has many names, like "David's Gate," "The Jew's Gate," or the "Jewish Quarter Gate," it is the main entrance into the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The gate was the location of several fights during the War of Independence. If you look around the gate on its external side, you can see the stones of the wall punctuated by bullet holes and mortar shells, which hit the gate during that time. The Palmach fighters even tried to blow it up at one point in order to make it to the Old City, but this attempt failed.

Like the well-known Jaffa Gate, Zion Gate is also a Tafnit Gate, meaning entrance into the gate is only at a 90-degree angle. These types of gates were built to make it harder for enemies attacks to come straight into the city. The idea behind these gates is that anyone coming through has to make a turn while entering the city, slowing down any enemy attack exposing them to the city's protectors.

The name, Zion Gate, comes from the name Mount Zion, which is where the gate leads. This gate already existed on Crusader maps back in the 12th century, only named "Mount Zion Gate." In the British Museum there's a map from the 13th century, only named "Porta Syon."

A Closer Look at the Gate:

#About the Central and Ancient Street in Jerusalem

There are not many streets in the world that you can see different time periods, such as at the Cardo in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. On this ancient street, we will start moving towards the Roman period, continuing to the Byzantine period. Remains of the Crusader and Ottoman periods are seen - the periods when it was buried underground and we see its awakening to life in the modern Israeli era.

In general, "Cardo," which in Latin means "heart," means the center. The Cardo Street in the Roman cities is the heart of the city - the same street where most of the city's commerce and traffic take place. The model of such a street among the Romans was permanent and they used to replicate it in many cities and military camps. It can be found mainly in the Roman cities of the Middle East, North Africa, Syria and Jordan. In Israel, too, it is located in the remains of the cities of Caesarea and Antipatris, Tel Afek, near Rosh Ha'ayin.

The Cardo in the Jewish Quarter is a wide, stone-paved street that was discovered here in the 1970's. It was excavated and then restored to an active trading street today, with shops and services, allowing to experience a little of the past in today's modern age.

The total width of the cardo is 22.5 meters and only part of it is exposed. At its center, there is a passage, some of which has an open top, and 12.5 meters wide. On both sides of the cardo there is a row of shops and above it a tiled roof, supported by a row of stone pillars 5 meters high. The roof protects the street from rain and sun. Incidentally, except for one column, all the exposed pillars were broken. Only one column was discovered intact, beneath the foundations of the Tzemach Tzedek Synagogue at the southern end of the Cardo.

The cardo is one of the rare cases in which it has revived around 2,700 years later, and turned it into an active trading environment. This did not happen in other places in Jerusalem, where such initiatives were refuted by archaeologists who said, and generally rightly, that everyday life should not be allowed to destroy ancient, historical and scientific heritage. Here, in the Cardo of the Jewish Quarter, they were able to connect contemporary and ancient history and turn them into one.

#About the Architects Who Told the Archaeologists Where to Dig

This wonderful story is told in architectural schools all over the world and it deals with the ancient street discovered by modern architects diligent and talented, the power of study and originality of thought.

The Cardo was not normally excavated by determined archaeologists. In fact, it is an archaeological discovery that was born in the minds of three young architects who won a bid for the restoration of the Jewish Quarter, in order to restore life to it, after it became a poor slum during the Jordanian rule.

The young architects examined the map of Madaba, an ancient map discovered on the floor of a church in Jordan, in which Jerusalem appeared in some detail. They saw that the cardo appeared on the map, the main colonnade of the Old City. They pointed to a certain place and claimed that the cardo was hiding below. A senior archaeologist, with whom they consulted, laughed. However, he agreed to dig and examine the place where they claimed to be hiding the route of the ancient street. Quickly he encountered a hard layer and then again and again, in many places. There's a floor there, the experts determined. As you already understand, there was a street there. But is it the Cardo?

The excavation began with the aim of discovering the neat foundations of the columns, exposing the drainage channel into which the rainwater flowed from the roofs of the street houses, and from there exposing the ancient street itself. It turned out that the architects were right all along. Archaeologists have also agreed that this is indeed the famous cardo.

In the next stage the builders began to renew the old cardo and integrate it into a modern commercial street. From a pile of workshops and neglected houses, next to ruins of the War of Independence, they created a reconstructed commercial street, on the lower floors of which were shops and residential units on the upper floors, which were built above them.

Today, the Cardo is one of the most famous reconstructions in the world, a street that combines old, new, antique with renovated and modern shopping in a complex that has the scent of antiquity.

#What is a Map of Madaba?

The map of Madaba is a mosaic map made around the 6th or 7th century and is located in a church in Medina, Jordan. The map depicts the Land of Israel and its surroundings, with special emphasis on religious sites. The famous section on the map is the section describing Jerusalem.

The map of Madaba is an example of an ancient map that is not intended for navigation in the field. This is because it was not drawn according to a geographical scale, but according to the religious-spiritual importance of the places that appear in it (more important places are highlighted and large on the map). This is also why it was found in an ancient Christian prayer place, St. George's Church. In addition, the map is the earliest historical evidence for the construction of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.

A Closer Look at the Cardo in Jerusalem:


Abu Chasan el Baghdadi
Matam al Sultan
#The Best Hummus in the Old City

Matam al Sultan el Baghdadi, or "Abu Hassan," is one of the Old City's secrets. This is a small restaurant located on Bab Huta Street, 21, walking distance from the Lion Gate, hummus here is hand grounded, like in the old days, with a pestle and mortar.

Abu Ali, the man who owns the place, knows no other way to make hummus, and this type of hummus is referred to as "Asli Hummus," the real hummus. If you are all full from the hummus, try ordering a salad - the vegetables are cut thinly and topped with some heavenly tahini, and those who would like meat can have the wonderful kebabs.

The name el Baghdadi comes from Abu Hassan's ancestors, who came to Israel from Iraq 200 years ago.

#How to Get Here?

To get here, walk through the Flower Gate, keep walking past "Uncle Mustache's Falafel," well-known for the specialty shaped falafel. A little after this restaurant turn left and walk down the street, through Antoina Street. On your right you will see Qadasia School, keep walking south, and a little way before the Lion Gate you will see the hummus place on your left, the "Abu Hassan" el-Sultan restaurant.


If you are coming as a group, you should reserve ahead of time: 02-6276812.

Opening hours: 8 am - 5 pm.

Address: Bab Huta, 21, Jerusalem.

A Closer Look at Abu Hassan of Matam al Sultan making his Asli Hummus:

The Armenian Quarter
#About the Armenian Quarter in the Old City

The Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem is the only one named after a nation and not after a great religion, such as the Jewish, Christian and Muslim Quarters. This name has been accepted since the 19th century and is the smallest Quarter in the Old City. It has fewer than 3,000 residents.

Most of the Armenian Quarter is privately owned and closed off, surrounded by a wall and belongs to the Armenian monastery. Indeed, the quarter has nice Armenian churches that can be peeked into if there is time for a long walk through the Quarter.

Of particular interest is the Armenian specialization in high-quality ceramic works. The Armenians learned the art of ceramics from the Ottoman artists of Turkey. Many members of the Armenian community who lived in Asia Minor, an area in Turkey, were excellent artists with ceramic decorations and developed a unique style. Already in the 17th century, Armenian artists from the city of Kütahya in central-western Turkey sent ceramic tiles to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and St. James Church in Jerusalem.

In 1919, the British invited a number of Armenian families to come to the city and renovate the tiles of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. The three prominent families who arrived in Jerusalem were those of the famous artist David Ohansian and those of his colleagues, Blian and Karkashian. Later on, these families became the Armenian artists of the Quarter, and to this day they produce souvenirs and sell them to tourists visiting the Old City.

Throughout the Old City of Jerusalem, especially in the Christian Quarter, you will see quite a few tourist shops offering Armenian-style ceramic works. The shops with the finest works of Armenian ceramics can be found in the Armenian Quarter, where the manufacturers of these pottery items are sold directly to the public.

A Closer Look at the Armenian Quarter and the Special Art that is Embedded here:

Abu Shukri
#The Excellent Hummus in the Christian Quarter

Abu Shukri is located here, on the Hagai Street 63, across the Via Dolorosa It doesn't boast such titles as "the original," but about prestige and quality. It just offers the best hummus, lemon flavored and generous, and as is common in Jerusalem, with lots of tahini.

The hummus is served with onion and tomato slices, some pickled vegetables, and a few hot falafel balls. There is also great hummus seeds, hummus full, masabacha, and even meat dishes like chicken skewers and more. But the hummus definitely wins here.

In the right season, you will also find fresh pomegranate juice at Abu Shukri.

Hagai Street 63, Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem. 02-6271538.

#Opening Hours:

Sunday-Friday - 7:00 am to 5:30 pm.

Saturday - 7:00 am to 7:30 pm.
Via Dolorosa
#About "The Way of Suffering"

Via Dolorosa, in English "The Way of Suffering," is the route in Old Jerusalem, where Jesus walked to the end of his path, where he was crucified and died. For hundreds of years, Christian tourists have been following this path and reconstructing Jesus' last path. Many of them actually come to Jerusalem for this purpose and the road attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year to the holy city.

The Via Dolorosa is considered one of the most important attractions in the Holy City. This is a 600-meter-long course that was set in the 18th century and replaced previous routes.

On the way, it leads the pilgrims along 14 stations, from the place of the trial of Jesus to Golgotha or Calvary Hill - the place of his crucifixion and rebirth - was believed to have taken place.

The term "Via Dolorosa," was born in medieval Europe, when the Christians began to reconstruct the journey of Jesus, and did not make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. A journey to Jerusalem was then expensive, dangerous, and very rare. Even the number of stations has changed over the years, ranging from 8 to 20 stations and finally setting at 14. Either way, the same ritual stations in Via Dolorosa have since been, symbolically, of course, in almost every Catholic church in the world.

Most pilgrims see walking along the Via Dolorosa as an experience of identification with Jesus, an act of sharing in their suffering. Many of them even carry a large wooden cross with them, just as their master carried it on his last journey.

#About the Stations on the Via Dolorosa

The current route of Via Dolorosa was determined in the 18th century and replaced other previous routes. Among the alleys of the Old City of Jerusalem you can now visit 9 of the 14 stations of Via Dolorosa. They are scattered in the Muslim Quarter and the Christian Quarter, along with the Via Dolorosa, El Hagi Street and the Olive Press Street.

Each station is marked with a round metal panel with the station number, on the wall and in semicircular paving at the entrance to it.

If you want to do the whole route - Click on the tag "Via Dolorosa".

A Closer Look at the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem:


Maybe the Via Dolorosa Looked Like This?


Jesus's Last Journey through the Via Dolorosa:

Uncle Mustache
#The Best Hummus in the Old City

At Uncle Mustache's Falafel, you can find the falafel and hummus artist Abu Shnab, nicknamed "Uncle Mustache."

They have excellent hummus and Kuba here, but most of the people who come here and stand in line, are waiting for the falafel, saying it's the best falafel in the Old City. It is not simply the taste, but the shape. Hamsa's falafel have special shapes (Uncle Mustache's grandson who shapes the falafel).

Uncle Mustache has a big beard and he was very generous and kind, this is how many American tourists remember him from the 1970's. Many of these Americans return to this spot, and discover that barely anything has changed here.


Opening hours: 8 am - 7 pm.

Address: Flower Gate Street, 3.

A Closer View at Uncle Mustache's Falafel:

Tower of David
#About the Citadel

The Tower of David is a medieval fortress near the Jaffa Gate, the historic entrance gate to the Old City. Remains of impressive fortifications from the Second Temple period, dating to the Byzantine period, the Middle Ages and the Ottoman period, were exposed in the fortress.

The most familiar part of the fortress is the one located in its southern part and protruding far away. This is the turret of the mosque from the Ottoman period, which is known as the Tower of David. Despite the name of the fortress named after it, the Tower of David is only a nickname. There is no historical connection between King David and the fortress. Although it has defended the city for thousands of years, King David was only many generations later.

Either way, it is a fascinating archeological site rich in archeological remains. These remains attest to the past full of vicissitudes of the Old City, and can be seen as representative of the history of the city of Jerusalem, its different periods.

By the way, from the citadel towers you can see a magnificent Jerusalem landscape. There is a 360-degree view here, eastward to the Old City of Jerusalem and to the new city in the west.

#Why is the Name a Citadel So Confusing?

If the name of the citadel reflects a connection that does not really exist to King David, then where did the name "Tower of David" come from? - the source of the name is apparently an incorrect Christian interpretation of the writings of Josephus, and perhaps also the Muslim name of the fortress "Marhab Nabi Daoud" - both tied "David" to the fortress, which created confusion or perhaps even a kind of marketing branding ancient place. In any case, during the 19th century, visitors from Western countries attributed the wrong name on the turret of the Turkish mosque.

So much so that this name "caught on" until it seems that many members of the Jewish community are sure that this fortress was built by King David and imagine that here, right here, near the elevator, he once stood waiting for her to come ...

#History of the Citadel of the Tower of David

The fortress was first built during King Herod's reign. Three guard towers were built there. Today, only one of them survived, probably the one now known as the 'Fasael Tower' - the largest of the three.

This fort was the last point the Romans faced during the Great Revolt. After the destruction, the Romans set up their legion camp on the ruins of Herod's towers. In the archaeological excavations there were tiles and bricks with imprints of the Roman legion.

The Arabs, in turn, turned the place into a large fortress and created an inner courtyard. Jerusalem was then ruled by the Crusaders, who added large halls around the fortress for the use of their garrison.

Days passed and the Ayyubids and the Mamluks came, thickening the walls of the fortress and surrounding it with tall towers. The Turks, who came after them, turned the fortress into a military camp and placed cannons inside. In the 17th century they added to it the minaret of the mosque, the "Tower of David" we know today. If you look around the fortress, you will see the "moat", the deep trench that the Ottoman Turks added to protect it from attack.

Part of the moat, incidentally, was filled with earth in 1898. This was done on the side of the Jaffa gate, in order to create a convenient passage for the carriage of Kaiser Wilhelm II, who came to visit Jerusalem. To this end, a small section of the wall of the moat was also removed.

It was the British, who during the British Mandate period turned the fort into a museum. In the 1920's they allowed exhibitions of young Israeli art to be exhibited here. The tradition of those "Tower of David" exhibitions continues today, and in the State of Israel, the small museum has become a real museum, transforming the citadel into a cultural and tourist center.

#The Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem

In the Tower of David is the Museum of the History of Jerusalem. This museum is considered one of the leading historical museums in the world. It presents in Hebrew, Arabic and English the story of the city of Jerusalem, its importance to the three great religions and prominent events in its history, from the beginning of the second millennium BCE to the present era and its transformation into the capital of the State of Israel.

The museum presents the story of the city in modern and sophisticated ways and with digital and interactive means that enrich the experience and enable visitors to learn about Jerusalem in unusual ways. All this is done through computers and screens, as well as games and apps developed for all ages, including children.

A night show in the citadel tells the story of Jerusalem, through a nightly spectacle, a stunning video display, breathtaking animation, effective sounds and narration, all-enveloping the viewer in a multi-sensory experience. All these bring together visitors with the ancient cultures, religions, rulers and myths that are projected on the walls and archeological remains themselves. The Night Spectacular of the Tower of David is a real attraction for children.

In addition to the walking paths built between the archaeological finds in the courtyard of the citadel, you can go up and walk on the walls of the fortress, on the promenade that offers a spectacular view of both the Old and New City.

A Closer Look is the Exhibition at the Tower of David:


A Closer Look at the Tower of David from Above:

Jaffa Gate
#About the Planners Who Were Buried Under the Gate

The Jaffa Gate is one of the eight gates of Jerusalem in the Old City walls. Do you have any idea why it's named this? After a city so far from Jerusalem? - Well, you were right. From this the gate which the caravans entered that came from Jaffa, hence the name.

The ancient road leading west to the city of Jaffa also gave its name to Jaffa Street in Jerusalem, and from there it went through the mountains of Jerusalem to the port of Jaffa, which was the main port of the Land of Israel for thousands of years, until the end of the British Mandate period. From here the Christian pilgrims came who sailed to the port of Jaffa and ascended to Jerusalem. From there, merchandise was brought to the most important market in all the Land of Israel - the market of Jerusalem.

By the way, in Arabic the gate is called "Sha'ar Halil," because there the road to ancient Hebron, which is one of its names. This road leads to the cities of Bethlehem and Hebron. This road too, by the way, gave name to the main Jerusalem street passed through to Hebron, one of the main streets in Jerusalem.

During the Crusader period, the gate was also known as the 'Gate of David', named after the Tower of David, the citadel adjacent to it and very well-known.

The gate was built at an angle of 90 degrees, as many gates were in the Ottoman Jerusalem. The reason for this angle was to make it difficult for potential attackers to enter through the gate in a quick attack and to break the running and momentum of such attacking forces.

Only at the end of the 19th century, prior to the Kaiser's visit to Jerusalem, the Turks opened the wall to the wide gate next to it so that the Kaiser's chariot could pass through it ...

#The Jaffa Gate Graves

After entering the Old City, through the Jaffa Gate, notice right next to it on the left, a small garden surrounded by a fence. There are two Ottoman style graves. Who do you think is buried here?

It has been said that after the building of the wall was completed, the Turkish Sultan was so pleased with the work, that he ordered to execute the workers. Why he did this, you ask? The Sultan did not want the workers to ever build anything like the walls anywhere else.

Another legend holds that the Sultan ordered the heads of the wall planners to be sprayed and buried here because they left David's tomb outside the wall.

Either way, it's quite a tragic ending ...

A Closer Look at the Jaffa Gate:

Zedekiah's Cave
#About Zedekiah's Cave

Zedekiah's Cave is the largest cave in Israel and one of the most interesting places in Jerusalem. In the past it was identified as a cave through which Zedekiah, the last of the kings of Judah in the First Temple period, fled from the Chaldeans.

This was in the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, when Zedekiah, king of Judah, fled to Jericho. Today we know that the gate between the walls, from which Zedekiah fled, is located in the south of the city, but the name "Zedekiah's Cave" stuck to the cave. The water spills that appear at the end of the cave are still referred to as Zedekiah's tears.

There is also a Muslim tradition linking the cave to the place where Korach and his congregation were swallowed up in the ground, as punishment for Korach's attempt to rebel against Moses.

#How did They discover Zedekiah's Cave?

The truly amazing story is how Zedekiah's cave was discovered by a dog. The story begins with the owner of that dog, an American doctor and missionary named Doctor James Berkeley. Berkeley was involved in the 19th century in the study of the Bible in Jerusalem. After him is named the "Berkeley Gate," which is a gate to the Temple Mount, from the Second Temple period. Berkeley discovered this gate at the southern end of what is now the Women's Section at the Western Wall.

But let's go back to our story. In 1854, Dr. Berkeley and his son took their dog for a walk. At one point the dog disappeared and all attempts to find him failed. When the father and son had given up on finding the dog, they suddenly discovered a deep hole. From there they heard the bark of a dog. After the two managed to rescue the poor dog from the depths of the earth, they returned to their homes. But that evening Dr. Berkeley decided to return to the mysterious pit and brought some of his aides. He went down into the depths of the hole and discovered a huge cave in front of him. It was an amazing cave the size and beauty of which Berkeley had studied all night.

This is how the Zedekiah Cave, the largest cave in Jerusalem and in Israel, was discovered. It is considered one of the most spectacular sites in the city and is open to the general public.

Tour Zedekiah's Cave:

The Shiloah Tunnel
#About the Tunnel that Brought Water to Jerusalem

The Shiloah Tunnel, or Hezekiah's Tunnel, is a half-kilometer long tunnel in Jerusalem, through which ancient Gihon Spring water was transferred to the city.

The Shiloah tunnel was quarried in the days of King Hezekiah, around the 8th or 7th century BCE. This is considered one of the most impressive water plants in the history of ancient water plants in Israel, if not the most impressive one, and it is also the first in the history of Jerusalem, which provided water for the city's residents, inside the walls. This was a factor of decisive importance in times of war and what enabled the inhabitants of the city to withstand the siege of its enemies.

The tunnel led the water to the annexation hall, an underground water pool in Jerusalem that had collected water in ancient times. The water, which was stored from the nearby Kidron Valley and the Gihon Spring, passed under the houses of the City of David and was supplied throughout the year to the city's residents for drinking and daily use. The differences in elevations caused the water to flow, by force of gravity, with the difference of heights of 33 cm between the spring and the Shiloah Pool.

#Tunnel Excavation

When the King of Assyri besieged Jerusalem in 701 BCE, Hezekiah King of Judah fortified the fortifications of the city as part of Jerusalem's defense against the siege, and surrounded the new neighborhoods that were built there, so Hezekiah decided to divert the Gihon waters to the pool dug inside the walls: "And Hezekiah took the exit from the days of the upper Gihon, and straightened down westward to the city of David ..." (2 Chronicles 32:30).

Although bringing the water into the walls was an important consideration for the creation of the tunnel, it seems that no other consideration was equally important to the king in deciding to quarry the water. Its purpose was to prevent water from the Assyrian enemy. This could only be done by shifting the flow of the Gihon to an alternate path, which the shaft actually did. From the spring, which until then had passed through the walls, in an area that was not protected, the water was diverted out of the reach of the Assyrians, who were undoubtedly besieging the canal and its waters.

Thus, at the order of the king, the water diversion was performed by cutting the stone at length of 533 meters, an operation that in terms can be defined as nothing less than an engineering marvel.

The excavation operation was conducted by two groups of diggers who dug opposite each other. The researchers know how to determine this according to the marks of the quarrying, since the signs of the quarrying are opposite. After the ax was raised in the quarry, a kind of archery movement was created, and therefore the marks of the quarrying also received a different angle from each direction. The arches of the two groups of quarries are the opposite, which is a sign of quarrying in opposite directions. Confirmation of this is also found in the inscription, indicating the meeting between the groups, in the middle of the rock-cutting.

#How The Tunnel was Found

The excavation describes an inscription in ancient Hebrew script that was discovered in 1880. It was discovered when two Jewish boys found an inscription in the niqaba that tells the story of the tunnel dug by Hezekiah's men. The inscription was published all over the world and at that time became a very famous archeological finding.

The inscription was discovered when Yaakov Eliahu and his friend decided to examine whether it was possible to pass along the whole length of the tunnel. They entered from the direction of the pool and after a few yards Jacob slipped and fell into the water. As he rose, he noticed the letters on the sides of the tunnel. He told his teacher at the school, Konrad Schick, who was a well-known German scholar and architect and a resident of Jerusalem.

The teacher went out to check the discovery with the necessary instruments and after he found the address he realized that the letters were Phoenitic, in ancient Hebrew script. Schick published the discovery and he was published all over the world as the address detector. The boy who found the address remained anonymous.

According to the inscription, which was found on the side of the shaft, 6 meters before it reached the Shiloah Pool, the tunnel was hewn in two directions at the same time. The inscription bears witness to the pride of the quarrymen, upon completion of the complex and complicated operation.

#About the Evil Spirit that Came Out of the Tunnel

The Shiloah Tunnel was discovered over and over again through the years. It seems that in the Roman-Byzantine periods the shaft was unknown and its existence was then completely forgotten. Above the Shiloah Pool, the Empress Eudokia built a church. The parts of the columns at the outlet are the remains of this church.

During the Mamluk period the Gihon Spring was discovered and the Mamluks even installed steps to it, which exist to this day. Since then, history has been telling us about travelers who visited the Shiloah Tunnel, quite a bit, at least from the beginning of the 17th century.

But in 1817 a Catholic priest named de Mezier was enlarged and entered into the tunnel. At that time there was a break in the flow of water in the tunnel and the priest passed through it with quite a few difficulties and dangers. Finally he managed to get to and out on the other side.

When the locals saw the 'creature' coming out of the cave, a wild, wet, spider-web man, they thought he was the evil spirit that made springwater stop. They began to beat poor de Mazier with sticks and stones. The priest felt it was the end ...

But suddenly, in an unbelievable coincidence, unless it is a religious legend full of lesson and faith, at that very moment water began to flow from the spring. The ardent beaters stopped their blows and the poor priest was saved from a terrible lynching. He was not holy, but hey, at least he managed to live a few more years!

A Closer Look at the Shiloah Tunnel:


Shiloah Pool
#About the Pool Where Water Was Collected for the Residents of Jerusalem

The Shiloah Pool in Jerusalem is an ancient underground pool that collected water in winter. The water was collected from the near Kidron and Gihon springs. The water collection was used in ancient days, for drinking and everyday use.

The pool was built during the days of the First Temple, and steps were found that were added during the days of the Second Temple. In the water ditches that lead to it, archeologists found cooking pots, a lot of silver, that seems to have belonged to the Jewish residents of the city. They escaped through these ditches, a hiding place from the Romans during the Revolt and destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 CE, while the Roman soldiers destroyed the city.

A Closer Look at the Shiloah Pool:

Ben Hinnom Valley
#About Jerusalem's Hill

Ben Hinnom Valley is the name of a valley in Jerusalem, that is mention several times in the Bible and now tends to identified as a valley that begins near the Jaffa Gate and the Lower Tower of David, descends south and contains the Sultan's Pool, descending to the south of the Old City and surrounding Mount Zion.

In the days of the Bible, Ben Hinnom Valley sat on the border between the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Binyamin. Seems to be just a place in Jerusalem, but the worst part still hasn't been told. Back in the days of the monarchy, this place was a place of worship for the monarch - the Ammonite god. Yes, during the days of the monarchy in Israel, stages of idolatry were built by the residents of Jerusalem. Here they built stages for the king, where they sacrificed their young children and burned them with fire, as a sacrifice to the monarch. It is hard to believe, but there were even the kings of Judah who sacrificed their infants.

The phenomenon was mentioned in the book of Divrei Ha-Yamim chapter 33: The prophet Jeremiah, a logical prophet of rage, was just as shocked as you and punished the residents of Jerusalem for burying their sons and daughters. Josiah also spoke out against this strange worship and "and he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech," as written in the book of Kings II, 23, verse 10.

There are few scholars who believe that the origin of the name "hell" comes from, or at least is connected to this place, Ben Hinnom Valley, where the evil work of the wicked took place. Jewish tradition also links Ben Hinnom Valley to the name "Hell," as a place in the next world, where the wicked go to. Hence the legend was born that in Jerusalem is the opening of hell. Incidentally, in the lower part of Ben Hinnom Valley was the Inferno, which is often mentioned together.

Even today, there are few travelers in this beautiful valley, slightly due to the fear of the ghosts that surround it, the spirits of the dead in the ancient Moloch rituals, the children sacrificed to a clay god, all imaginative.

A Closer Look at the Mulech Ritual that Took Place in the Valley:


A Video in Hebrew about the Terrible Ritual:

Western Wall Tunnels
#About the Tunnels the Show More of the Western Wall

The Western Wall Tunnels were found during archeological digs that were done under the Muslim Quarter. This is a maze of underground spaces that allow visitors to see the entire Western Wall. There are almost half a kilometer of the Western Wall here, under the Creation Rock, which was the basis for the Jewish Temple when it was built.

In the tunnels visitors can see residential areas and public places from centuries ago, including structures from the Second Temple period, Middle Ages, and modern times as well. During a visit here you will discover a water system from the Second Temple period and the Hasmonean period, with a gate and entrance towards the Temple Mount. You can see here the places where people lived their lives. The tunnels start from the Western Wall square, all the way to the other side of the tunnels, inside the Muslim Quarter.

#Finding the Tunnels

The centuries following the destruction of the Temple, the Western Wall became a location for payers for the reunification of Jerusalem. After Jerusalem was breached and overtaken by the Israeli government in 1967, archeologist began digging and cleaning the Western Wall, exposing its entire length.

During these digs, the tunnels slowly became apparent, was with its impressive spaces, a sort of a tunnel into the past, it seemed as though the Hasmoneans were coming back alive. Here the real extent of the massive Western Wall were exposed, the support system built by Herod's men and engineers for the Temple Mount compound. There are areas in the wall where some of the individual rocks at the base are a couple meters long, and its hard to imagine how they were moved around.

Apart from antiquities, the tunnels have visual effects such as models and 3D images of the Temple Mount during the various periods, and animated films that show how such impressive buildings were built during the period of the Temple.


The tunnels can only be viewed with reservations.

Entrance to the tunnels is from the vault connecting the Western Wall square and Al-Wad street in the Muslim Quarter.

A Closer Look at the Western Wall Tunnels:

Dome of the Rock
#About the Dome of the Rock

The structure of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount was built by the famous Caliph Abd al-Malik between in the years 688-692 CE. The Dome of the Rock is considered a holy place for different religions, for various reasons, of course.

Although many think the Dome of the Rock is a mosque, it is not true. It holds no prayers and is not the "Mosque of Omar," as many call it by mistake. The Mosque of Omar is a mosque located in the Christian Quarter near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Judaism views the Dome of the Rock as a place built above the site of the altar of the binding of Isaac. There are Jews who see here the place of the foundation stone, which is the rock from which the world was created. Most believers agree with the belief that the location of the Dome of the Rock is the holy site of the First Temple and the Second Temple of the Jews.

In Islam, on the other hand, the Dome is seen as the foundation stone for the place where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. Here, on the Temple Mount, he prayed, according to the Muslim faith, the Prophet Muhammad and ascended to heaven.

#Dome Architecture

Architectural and historical, the Dome of the Rock is the oldest Muslim building preserved to date, without significant changes. This building is considered an example of Islamic art and architecture.

The original dome of the Dome of the Rock collapsed in 1016 CE and five years later it was rebuilt.

The Dome of the Rock was built on the site where the Roman temple Jupiter Capitolinos was located. This temple was also built over another temple - the Second Temple of the Jews, which was destroyed by the Romans during the conquest of Jerusalem in 70 CE.

Here is the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount:


This is How the Dome Looks From the Inside:

Burnt House
Hurva Synagogue
Arafat Hummus
Austrian Hospice
Jaffar Sweets

אֵאוּרִיקַה - האנציקלופדיה של הסקרנות!

העולם הוא צבעוני ומופלא, אאוריקה כאן בשביל שתגלו אותו...

אלפי נושאים, תמונות וסרטונים, מפתיעים, מסקרנים וממוקדים.

ניתן לנווט בין הפריטים במגע, בעכבר, בגלגלת, או במקשי המקלדת

בואו לגלות, לחקור, ולקבל השראה!

אֵאוּרִיקַה - האנציקלופדיה של הסקרנות!

נראה שכבר הכרתם את אאוריקה. בטח כבר גיליתם כאן דברים מדהימים, אולי כבר שאלתם שאלות וקיבלתם תשובות טובות.
נשמח לראות משהו מכם בספר האורחים שלנו: איזו מילה טובה, חוות דעת, עצה חכמה לשיפור או כל מה שיש לכם לספר לנו על אאוריקה, כפי שאתם חווים אותה.