City of David and Underground Jerusalem
From the Mount of Olives we can see the City of Jerusalem spread out beneath us, then we continue on to Mount Zion to see David’s Tomb and the Room of the Last Supper. Entering the Old City through the Zion Gate we head for the Jewish Quarter. Here we see the Sephardic synagogues, Roman Cardo and Herodian mansions. We reach the Kotel (the Wailing Wall) then continue out of the Old City through the Dung Gate to explore the archaeological excavation site of the City of David.
From the elevated position on the Mount of Olives we have a panoramic view of the holy City of Jerusalem. We look out beyond the Jewish cemetery on the mount’s slopes towards the Temple Mount where the Second Temple once stood until it’s destruction in 70AD.
Our drive along the Kidron Valley takes us past the ancient cemetery and at the foot of the mount we see the burial tombs of Absalom, King David’s 3rd son; Zechariah, a First Temple priest and the tomb of the sons of Hezir. We also have a view of the Church of All Nations in the Garden of Gethsemane.
We reach Mount Zion where we visit the Tomb of King David. Within the tomb is David’s cenotaph covered with a velvet cloth with embroidered symbols of a lyre and crown. Men and women sit in separate areas in this holy Jewish site where they can recite prayers facing the cenotaph.
We continue our tour into the Old City through the Zion Gate and into the Jewish Quarter where we see a complex of four Sephardic synagogues which date back to the 17th and 18th century. The Yochanan ben Zakai Synagogue, Istanbuli Synagogue, Emtsai Synagogue and the Eliahu Ha’Navi Synagogue were found desecrates, burnt and in disrepair when the Israelis reclaimed Jerusalem following the Six Day War. The historic buildings have since been fully renovated and restored.
Our next stop is at the Byzantine Cardo, once the main thoroughfare of the city, today we can see the findings of ongoing archaeological excavations and in part of the restored Cardo, ancient Crusader stores are used for modern shops.
Through the Jewish Quarter we pass the excavated foundations of an ancient wall which stood 2,700 years ago during the reign of King Hezekiah (Is 22:10). We go beneath the present day streets to discover the 2000 year old Herodian mansions. The original mosaics and the ritual bath can be seen clearly. The complex of mansions gives great insight into the lifestyle at that time.
We arrive at the Kotel, the 2000 year old Western Wall, part of what was once the outer walls of the Second Temple which stood on Temple Mount until the Temple’s destruction in 70AD. Here you’ll have a chance to place a prayer note between the cracks of this ancient wall.
We exit the Old City through the Dung Gate where we can explore the excavation site of the City of David which dates back 3000 years. We can marvel at the ingenuity of the Canaanites and Hezekiah who constructed tunnels to bring a water supply to the people within the city walls. These tunnels are described in Chronicles II 32:2-4 and in Kings II 20:20 – «…the acts of Hezekiah and all his might, and how he made the pool and conduit, and brought water into the city…»
We rest at the Spring of Gihon and contemplate that it was here that Zadok the priest anoint Solomon king of Israel. (Kings I 1:38-39).
* Dress code: Shoulders to be covered / No shorts allowed
* At certain locations you will need to pay entry fees. Have small change available.
This tour is run with a minimum of 2 participants