National Heritage site

The City of David




National Heritage Site – The Biblical City of David A Journey Back in time The City of David started out on a small hill near the Temple Mount. The special connection between the Jewish people and their capital – Jerusalem, began some 3,000 years ago. David Ben Yishai, a shepherd from Bethlehem, who became King of Israel, conquered the small Jebusite city and made it the capital of his kingdom. A visit to the City of David, the nucleus of Jewish life in ancient Jerusalem, is a journey back to the beginning. The series of significant events that took place here turned the City of David into the political and spiritual center of the Jewish people. Many of the events described in the bible took place and were documented in its streets, houses and courtyards and thanks to the inspiration of the prophets who were active there, the belief in one God and in the values of justice and morality spread throughout the world. The city of Jerusalem is first mentioned in the bible as the city of "Shalem", the city of Malki Tzedek. Jerusalem is also mentioned as a Canaanite city during the period when the Israelites settled in Canaan, led by 'Adoni Tzedek, King of Jerusalem', who fought against Joshua alongside other Canaanite kings in the battle in the Ayalon Valley. During the period of the Judges, Jerusalem is described as a foreign Jebusite city, which had yet to be conquered by the Israelites. Overall, Jerusalem is mentioned more than 700 times throughout the bible, and the City of David is mentioned specifically in many of these references. External sources such as the Egyptian Execration texts and the Al Amarna letters also attest to the importance and might of ancient Jerusalem, before it was conquered by David. According to the biblical tale David, who was anointed by the prophet Samuel, left Hebron and conquered Jerusalem from the Jebusites. As soon as he did so, David made the city his capital. Most researchers posit that the reason for David's decision to settle in the city was based, among other things, on the fact that it possessed a stable water source, the Gihon spring, in addition to it being easily defendable. As the tribes were becoming settled, the city was not included in any of their territories, which made it easy to make it the capital of the united Jewish kingdom. From the time it was conquered and onward, Jerusalem grew to become a significant center of government, from which David's dynasty ruled the kingdom of Judah for more than 400 years, until Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians. When the Jews returned (Shivat Zion), Jerusalem again became the spiritual and religious center of the Jewish people until the Roman destruction in the year 70 CE. Today, a visit to the City of David is like a journey back in time. Advanced technology and the development of tourism at the site have brought the biblical stories back to life. The site, located by the Western Wall, is open every day except for Saturday and holidays. There are daily guided tours as well as brochures containing a wealth of information in a variety of languages.


Author: Shahar Shilo - researcher and expert Tour Guide for Ancient Jerusalem