It is rumored that Jerusalem started about 3,000 years ago after David conquered a hill south of the Old City, making it the capital and spiritual center of Israel. The City of David, which acts as the birthplace of Jerusalem, is surrounded on all sides by valleys.
It is near the Gihon Spring. When you visit, you can take a swim in the Gihon Spring and familiarize yourself with historical figures and local dwellings as they are represented in both the Bible and archaeological excavations.
Visitors can see tall walls and towers that used to protect the city from enemy attacks.
People first settled in the City of David as early as prehistoric times according to potsherds that date back more than 5,000 years. The City of David became an important city during the Middle Bronze Age.
At the time, which was also the time of the Patriarchs, the city was surrounded by walls that covered about 12 acres of land.
Many believe Jerusalem was Shalem, a city where an encounter between Abraham and King Melchizedek of Shalem took place in Genesis 14.
Joshua and Judges say that Jerusalem wasn’t conquered by Israelite tribes. Instead, they said it remained an enclave of people, who they referred to as the Jebusites, between Benjamin and Judah.
When David rose to power, his political policies resulted in Jerusalem starting to be the center home for the Jewish people
David reigned for some time in Hebron before conquering Jerusalem around 1000 BC, transforming it into his capital and bringing to it the Ark of the Covenant.
His son Solomon later finished the work, building a temple and royal palace in the place.
Though David and Solomon tried to make Jerusalem a unifying factor, when the kingdom split, the city became the capital of Judah only.
However, after this, Judah’s relationship with its neighbors prospered, which caused the city to flourish and brought in cultural influences from a variety of regions.
The House of David ruled for the following 500 years, but the power of the city waned frequently, according to what was written in the Bible.
Visitors come from all around the world to visit the City of David, which today acts as an archaeological park to explain the history or Jerusalem and its establishment.
It also tells of wars, hardships, prophets, kings, and the history of the Jews during the times of the Bible.
Visitors can see the remains of the city in the ancient stones and shards that cover pathways between buildings. Among the remains are large houses that demonstrate the high social class of the city’s residents.
There’s also a shaft which leads to the water tunnel that was used to take water outside the city.
Many believe King Solomon was anointed and crowned King of Israel in this spot.
One of the City of David’s most fascinating features is the tunnel of Shiloh,
which measures 533 meters long and was created during King Hezkiyahu’s reign.
Builders carved the tunnel through solid rock starting at opposite ends of the tunnel and successfully met in the middle.
The Gihon Spring was essential to the City of David’s survival as its primary water source. On some maps, it’s referred to as the Virgin’s spring. The Jebusites fortified it with huge guard towers.
Underneath a street that led from the Pool of Siloam to Temple
Mount sat a tunnel that took storm water and sewage from the Old City to Kidron Valley.
This tunnel allows visitors to walk 700 meters uphill alongside the Tyropoeon
Valley and underneath the wall of the Old City to an exit by the Western Wall.
When the tunnel was cleaned out, archaeologists found a rare gold bell, an ancient silver shekel and a Roman sword.
Today, the area is filled with archeological digs and excavations as people
attempt to uncover more evidence that this was David’s city.
However, some archaeologists find this controversial, as David’s tomb remains to be found.
The City of David is a national park, but it’s run by the Elad Foundation, a private Jewish settler organization.
The Elad Foundation funds this archaeological work.
When Solomon built the first Temple on Mount Moriah, or Temple Mount,
the homes designated for the elite and royal functionaries of Jerusalem were built on a stepped stone structure.
In the City of David, you can find the House of Ahiel.
The House of Ahiel is a typical four room house that you’d find in Israel at the time.
Outside, there was a stairway that most likely led to the flat roof of the structure.
The eastern wall of the home on the outside was preserved poorly, but the western side, which faced the hill, was preserved well.
Inside the house, people found housewares and cosmetics dating back to the ruins in 586 BC.
More excavations revealed a lower city wall which is believed to date back to the Iron Age.
The lower wall ran alongside the eastern slope of the city toward the bottom of the Kidron Valley.
A modern structure built above the wall in the visitor’s center allows tourists to see the Siloam Channel.
Archeologists discovered four toilets in the City of David – two during the time of Shiloh’s excavations, and two found earlier. One was found by the Parker Expedition and was named the throne of Solomon.
There was an archive in Old Jerusalem where visitors could find papyrus documents.
Those documents burned, like most of the royal quarter did, during the Babylonian destruction of the city in 586 BC. However, dozens of clay seals did survive the flames.
At the bottom of Temple Mount, visitors can find remnants of a Byzantine monastery, hospice for pilgrims and a winery. Most likely, this is the “monastery of virgins” that the sixth century pilgrim Theodosius described.
The City of David is also referenced several times in Scripture.
In 2 Samuel 5:6-7, David captures Jerusalem.
In 2 Samuel 11:2, David sees Bathsheba bathing.
In 2 Kings 20:20, Hezekiah brings water into the city.
about 10 kilometers south of the City of David you will be able to find Bethlehem.