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Tower of David Museum, Jerusalem

The Citadel at the site of the Tower of David has undergone numerous alterations throughout its history. The site’s name comes from the historian Josephus Flavius of Rome, despite having no relation to King David. Westerners who came to the Holy Land further supported this misinterpretation of its name. In reality, the Tower was first built during the reign of King Herod in the 5th century BC and was named the Tower of Phasael.

The Citadel’s History

Archaeologists have used the references from the Bible to understand the history of the Citadel further. In the latter part of the 8th century BC, Hezekiah, King of Judea, decided to strengthen Jerusalem’s defenses by incorporating the western hill of Temple Mount. Six hundred years later, King Herod decided to increase these defenses further by adding three more towers. These towers formed the Citadel in the northwest direction of the hill.

These towers aimed to keep King Herod and his home safe on Mount Zion. After his wife was brutally killed and buried close to the towers’ site, Herod named the first Tower Mariamne after her. The second Tower, Hippicus, was named in honor of his closest friend, while his late brother, Phaseal, was eternally memorialized in the name of the tallest Tower. Numerous sieges and disasters led to the Tower of Phasael being the only survivor.

In 70 AD, following the Roman desecration of Jerusalem, the Citadel was used as a stronghold for troops. This was followed by Christian monks who occupied it during the 4th century. The chapter Samuel II of the Bible states that the Christians gave it the name “David’s Palace” during this period. The Citadel was known as the Tower of David from that point on.

In 1310, the remains of the earlier defenses were rebuilt by the Mamluks, who created a citadel. Later, the Ottomans expanded on this in the 16th century, who used the fortress to protect their troops for 400 years. Later, they constructed a minaret and mosque on the site from 1635 to 1655. The architecture of these structures, which lie on the remnants of the Tower of Phasael, symbolizes Jerusalem.

After the British Mandate, the Citadel underwent a further transformation, this time becoming a cultural hub. It was not until the Jordanian rule of 1948 to 1967 that the Citadel became militarized. The Israelis took the Citadel back for themselves in the aftermath of the 1948 Six-Day War. The most recent transformation took place in 1989 with the opening of the Tower of David Museum.

The Citadel Museum

Due to its extensive history, the Museum of the History of Jerusalem was created to document the most significant events that occurred in Jerusalem. Following the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, the Museum aims to provide a record of the city’s 4000-year history, dating back to the second millennium BC. Utilizing a wide array of technology, including activities and holograms, the Museum attracts every kind of visitor. Those who visit the Museum can immerse themselves in the city’s vast history and view some of the most significant archaeological findings as they walk in the courtyard and walls of the Citadel. Walking to Tower’s top, visitors can admire the spectacular scenes of the Mount of Olives, the Old City, and Mount Scopus.

The Museum is an important cultural and historical landmark, hosting various temporary exhibitions celebrating modern-day culture and art. The Museum also holds special activities, events, and performances to further educate visitors on the area’s magnificent history. ‘The Night Spectacular’ combines the natural surroundings with modern technology to retell the story of Jerusalem through a magnificent light and sound show.

To explore more of Jerusalem and visit the Tower of David Museum, Join our City of David & Underground Jerusalem Tour, Tour Packages or Jerusalem Private Tour.

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