The Tower of David

The Tower of David

The Tower of David or Jerusalem’s Citadel is one of the best examples of medieval military architecture in the Middle East. Located near the Jafa Gate and thus guarding this legendary entry to the city, the Tower of David unites hundreds of years of both confrontation and peaceful co-existence between the three main monotheistic religions – Judaism , Christianity, and Islam.

Although your expectations may be higher, this was not actually built during the time of King David, but it is probably one of the best places to find out more about the incredible history of Jerusalem. The Museum of the History of Jerusalem is hosted in the Tower of David and covers the evolution of the city from the first documentary mention, in the 2nd century BC. Very well organized and with explanations in English, Hebrew or Arabic, the museum takes you from the Canaanite period through the Roman and Byzantine periods to the British mandate and present time. The collections are priceless, going back to a 4,000 year-old figurine and the royal seal of the Crusader Kings, featuring the Tower of David itself. Some of the legendary orders of the Crusades, like the Templers, are also presented in the exhibition dedicated to that period of time.

We’ve left the best for last (isn’t that how it is usually done?): 20 projectors, 10 video players, 14 computers and 14 loudspeakers combine to make one of the most spectacular lights and illusion show in the world and a great way to complement what you have seen in the museum. It’s not only the illusions (think unreal walls and roaring flames), but the colors and sensations you are likely to discover that should make this a point to tick on your “to do list” this travel vacation, not to mention it’s pretty darn instructive. The show lasts for 45 minutes and takes place on several nights during the week. Tickets are about $15 for adults (well worth it).

By the end of your visit, having seen thousands of years of Jewish and Christian history while watching Muslims, Jews and Christians come and go through the city and changing how things were beforehand (like the conversion of churches into mosques and Islamic schools by Saladin), you start to better understand things and appreciate the apparent unity and oneness of the people here today.

The Tower holds a Guinness World Record for the longest painting ever made, a staggering 500 meters in the citadel courtyard. The best thing about it is that two thousand Jews and Arabs all joined together to make the thematic painting,“A Dream of Peace” in 1993.

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