With less than three months remaining on our Fulbright adventure, Adam and I have started thinking about the things that we want to make sure we do before we leave. It isn’t a particularly long list because we know that we will be back to visit Israel in the future. Also, with such a short time left, we feel that our time is better spent with the people we have met here. Plus, our time is limited with work.
One of the places on our list was Migdal David, which is the Tower of David. We have seen pictures of it in many houses and know that it is a symbol of Jerusalem. But that is all we knew. That is why when we had a free Friday (my students were in Poland for the week) we decided it was time to explore.
The Tower of David is located in the Old City, just inside of the Jaffa gate. The citadel has been transformed into a museum. The main exhibit is about the history of Jerusalem from the Canaanite period through modern day. Sometimes there are temporary exhibits highlighting a different aspect of Jerusalem’s history, but none were present when we went. That is okay…the main exhibit took us about 2 hours to go through and we sort of rushed the end! I am not going to tell you the entire history of Jerusalem. It is long and to be honest, I probably would get it all mixed up. If you want to know it in great detail, we strongly recommend that you visit the Tower of David.
The museum is in different rooms throughout the citadel. Because we went on Friday, there were no guided tours, which is okay with us. We are much better at museums when we can go at our pace. We followed the map and made our way to the top of the citadel. From here, you have an amazing panoramic view of Jerusalem. You can see all the major landmarks and you can get a sense of where things once were. What a great way to start!
As we walked through the museum, we rediscovered the city’s history. I had learned a lot of the information before, mainly from Hebrew School when I was a kid, but I don’t think I ever had all the events linked correctly in my head. I felt like I was rediscovering everything as dots were connected. It was fascinating to see all the artifacts and models. They really enhanced the story that was being told!
The most interesting fact that we learned, which we want to share, is that the Tower of David was not actually constructed by King David. It turns out that the citadel was constructed by Herod many, many years later. More interesting than that is the fact that the tower itself was built after Herod during the Mamluk period. The Mamluks followed the religion of Islam, and the tower is actually a minneret. There is a small crescent moon at the top of it, which is the symbol of Islam. It was fascinating to find out the true origin of the tower!
Enjoy the pictures! The center of the citadel was beautifully landscaped. The only weird thing was the glass grass. Crazy but cool!
Until next time…