With a history that spans 3,000 years into a past of cultural and architectural diversity, the Old City of Jerusalem is like a well-kept time capsule that offers a glimpse back in time to eras of bygone kings, warriors and the holy. This becomes even more apparent when one witnesses first-hand the Tower of David – also referred to as the Jerusalem Citadel.
Located just a few steps past the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City, the Tower of David Museum is ideal for helping visitors see and understand the storied past and the importance of the Holy City to the major monotheisms. The tower is a dominating fixture in the skyline – originally built to protect Jerusalem – and now gives visitors an un-matched 360-degree view of the area.
The museum is a spectacular bridge that connects that past to contemporary times through many displays, including the “Night Spectacular” – an outdoor show that that retells Jerusalem’s story through lights that are projected on the nearby ruins and walls and sounds that narrate the story from beginning to end. It’s an incredible show that simply must be seen (and heard) to believe.
Each weekday, guided tours of the museum are available to patrons who wish to have some added input during their experience. For those who like to explore at their own pace, an audio guide can be used to experience 35 various points within the museum. The audio can be downloaded in advance for use during a visit.
Despite being in a citadel with a large number of steps, much of the Tower of David Museum is, in fact, accessible by wheelchair and others who may require assistance for their mobility – making the museum accessible by nearly anyone who wishes to enjoy the experience.
Old Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter – 14,000 Square Yards of Jewish History
Those who visit The Jewish Quarter are almost always amazed at the amount of history packed into such a small area. It’s not uncommon for visitors to spend, literally, days exploring and investigating all there is to see and experience. There are plenty of sites to seem including:
The Western Wall
When it comes to Jewish heritage tours, the Western Wall is a site that’s on nearly every list. Also knows at the Kotel, it’s a place where many visit to recite prayer or simply leave a note – tucked into cracks among the ancients stones left by generations of history. Many consider the Western Wall to be the most holy site of the Jewish faith anywhere in the world.
The Hurva Synagogue
Built…and rebuilt no less than three times since the 18th century, the Hurva Synagogue is also popular in the Jewish Quarter. Those who reach the top are treated to the one-of-a-kind acoustics.
Dating back to the 2nd century as a Roman street bustling with commerce, the Cardo holds an important place in Jewish history. After destroying the city and the Temple, Jerusalem was rebuilt by the Romans with wider streets and narrow side alleyways. The main street was referred to as the Cardo – where business was conducted and residents made their way throughout the city.
The Wohl Archaeological Museum
Another highlight nestled in the Jewish Quarter is the Wohl Archaeological Museum, located just east of the Western Wall. It’s a compound consisting of six homes that face the Temple Mount. The homes are believed to have belonged to aristocratic families (possibly Temple Priests) during the Herodian period.
The Tower of David and the Jewish Quarter are just two of the popular ways to peer into Jerusalem’s 3,000-year history and one of many tours organized by Kenes Tours. Each year, many flock to both of these sites for journeys that are both spiritual and educational in nature.