ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE DAVIDSON CENTER IN JERUSALEM
The famous archeological park - Davidson Center in Jerusalem, combines a museum and archeological garden at the foot of the Temple Mount and the western wall, allowing travelers to be impressed by exciting chapters in the history of the city of Jerusalem during periods of the first and second Jewish temples.
ABOUT THE ARCHEOLOGICAL PARK - DAVIDSON CENTER
After the liberation of Jerusalem in the Six-Day War, an impressive project of extensive archeological excavations began south and southwest of the Temple Mount, at the foot of the southern part of the Western Wall and especially at the foot of the Southern Wall, finally the great opportunity to dig the old layers was available to Israel.
The excavation area in the Davidson center today is a paid archeological park, where a variety of exciting archeological finds can be encountered, with the most notable being the finds related to the remains of the Second Temple (single finds from the First Temple period), but later finds from the Byzantine and Early Arab periods. During the excavations, the decision was made to excavate various sections of the space only up to certain periods, so as not to destroy some of the later remains. Due to a large number of finds from the Second Temple period, the area in the southern Western Wall was excavated up to this period, while in more eastern parts, the area was excavated only until the early Muslim period.
At the entrance to the excavation site in the Davidson Center, a museum/visitor center was established in 2010, partially excavated underground, and utilizing ancient spaces discovered in the excavations. Among other things, you can see short videos here, to be impressed by a three-dimensional model of the city of Jerusalem, a computerized model of the Temple Mount, as well as various finds unearthed in the excavations.
After visiting the closed section of the Davidson center, you can find the open archeological park (due to its nature, not suitable for people with reduced mobility). Over the years, the remains of the huge construction works (especially from the times of King Herods the great) at the foot of the Temple Mount have been exposed, including Herodian Street - the main street that passed at the foot of the Temple Mount compound and was used by pilgrims remains of a high vault that allows pilgrims to ascend In the wall of the Western Wall and the ascent is an ancient Hebrew engraving - "and you saw six of your hearts and bones as grass" (according to Isaiah's prophecy in chapter six), which was probably engraved by a Jewish worshiper in the post-destruction generations - possibly in the Byzantine or Crusader periods.
On another stone is the inscription "To the house of the blast ..." (the sequel is truncated, and there is disagreement among scholars about the versions - for example, "to the house of the blast to announce" or "to the house of the blast to differentiate"). The blast house was a corner of the Temple, where Shabbat and Moed were announced, so this is one of the unique revelations of the remnants of the destruction. The original address is currently on display at the Israel Museum and this site contains a copy of the address. The pile of large stones at our feet is also an exciting reminder of the destruction of the Second Temple.
From the southern part of the Western Wall, we will move south to the area south of the Temple Mount. The first large element seen is the remains of a large Muslim palace from the Umayya period (eighth century AD), used from time to time for events(Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony and weddings). The palace incorporated remains from earlier periods, including stone pillars and Byzantine churches in the city. Ancient remains are exposed east of the Muslim palace. At the southern wall are blocked stone gates - "rat gates"(Hulda Gates), which are attributed to the end of the Second Temple period, and from which access was made into the temple mountain itself through underground tunnels of Jerusalem. An ancient Roman inscription can be identified on the outer wall. Just above us rises the Al-Aqsa Mosque - the "Extreme Mosque", erected here in the seventh century based on an obscure mention in the Qur'an of Muhammad's nocturnal journey to a distant mosque (the Qur'an itself does not indicate the place of the event). The mosque is located in the southernmost part of the Temple Mount, and since October 2000 the entrance to the building has been closed to non-Muslim visitors.
The entire area is full of excavations, including the remains of the "opal" - an ancient fortress from the First Temple period, mikvahs(Jewish ritual pools), and cisterns used by the pilgrims, and more. Dozens of mikvahs were discovered at this site, compared to individual mikvahs at other archeological sites, which indicates the great importance of purification ceremonies for the Jewish pilgrims to the Temple Mount. The eastern boundary of the excavations is in a compound that now serves as a Muslim cemetery, and whose burial has been greatly accelerated in the last decade while taking advantage of the state's loose sovereignty over the Temple Mount and its surroundings.
To the east, we can look out from this area towards the Mount of Olives - a large and ancient Jewish cemetery and the oldest in the world - and south of it the "Destroyer Mountain" on which the Ras al-Amud neighborhood is built. The green forest at the top of Destroyer Mountain extends around a Christian monastery (St. Abraham Monastery).
Today you can watch the western wall and the Davidson center on the western wall live cam 24/7, soon another live cam will be available to observe the city of David the western wall tunnels.
HOW TO GET TO THE DAVIDSON CENTER IN JERUSALEM?
Access to the Davidson Center is from the Garbage Gate(Dung Gate), next to the entrance to the Western Wall complex.
Public transportation - Bus lines 1 and 3 leave from the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem and drive to the Western Wall. Also, on holidays and vacations, shuttles depart from the first train station complex to this area.
The best and interesting way to get to the complex is through the Herodian Drainage Canal, from the City of David, and exit at the Davidson Center. However, this route is recommended for visitors with a private tour guide in Jerusalem and is not accessible to those who have difficulty walking. In this option, you have to pay for entry to both places in the City of David box office. you can also rent an audio guide with headphones but this option is less recommended.
DAVIDSON CENTER OPENING HOURS AND ENTRANCE PRICES
Sundays - Thursdays 08:00 to 17:00
Fridays - 08:00 to 13:00
The place is closed on Saturdays and holidays.
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