King David’s Tomb, Jerusalem
Located on Mount Zion, just outside Jerusalem’s walls of the Old City, lies the tomb of King David. A prominent figure in the Old Testament, King David is known for many things: his rule of the Israelites, his fight with Goliath, his son King Solomon, and his many psalms included in the Bible.
The Tomb on Mount Zion
The tomb shares a building with the room where the Last Supper took place, giving the structure special significance to both Jews and Christians. The ground floor, where the tomb lies, is used as a synagogue for Jewish worship. Upstairs, Christians honor the memory of the Last Supper.
This building has undergone several changes since its construction during the Crusades. The existing structure incorporates three walls left over from a previous place of worship used by Roman and Byzantine Jewish Christians. In the 14th century, occupying Franciscans redesigned the building for their use. This lasted until the 16th century, when Muslims forced them out. The building then became a mosque until the transition to its current uses.
Questions of the Tomb’s Authenticity
Whether the burial site is archaeologically authentic has long been debated. The site was not documented as the site of King David’s burial until the 9th century, when Muslims named it as such. This spurred Mount Zion to become a pilgrimage site over the following century. According to the Old Testament, David was buried in the City of David along with his ancestors. However, archaeologists estimate that the City of David is located south of Temple Mount in Jerusalem, not on Mount Zion. It has also been speculated that David’s grave may instead be in Bethlehem, which has also been called the City of David. However, despite numerous excavations, no tomb has been identified as belonging to David in either location.
Regardless of its archaeological authenticity, the site known as the Tomb of King David is still held in high honor among Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
Interested in visiting King David’s tomb? Sign up for our City of David & Underground Jerusalem Tour today.