Jerusalem is a Middle Eastern city that is claimed by both Israel and Palestine as their capital. This city is of historical and religious importance as it is considered a holy city by three religions; Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Many people visit this city on religious pilgrimages or to learn more about the history and culture of this beautiful location. There are many attractions and landmarks that are worth seeing during a visit and these range from examples of stunning architecture to structures of religious significance. There are also many historic sites to see in this ancient city. Here are five of the best historical sites to visit in Jerusalem.
1. City of David (Old City)
The City of David, also known as the Old City of Jerusalem, that is the original urban core of Jerusalem. It is now an important archaeological site where archaeology academics spend their time researching this ancient city and its significance to modern religion. The site runs along the city walls of Jerusalem’s Old City and is located in the neighborhood of Wadi Hilweh. Some of the remains at this site include several pools, of which one is the Pool of Siloam, and several water tunnels, including one built by King Hezekiah. It is also at this site that scholars have claimed to have found the remains of the Acra. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
2. Temple Mount
Temple Mount is a hill in Jerusalem that is considered a holy site by Islams, Jews, and Christians. Located at the site are three monuments that date back to the Umayyad period. These are the Dome of the Chain, the al Aqsa Mosque, and the Dome fo the Rock. Also at this site are four minarets and Herodian walls and gates. These are believed to date to the late Byzantine. To access Temple Mount, there are elven gates. However, ten of these are reserved for Muslims and only one is for the use of non-Muslims.
3. Tombs of the Kings
Located in the Sheik Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem less than a kilometer from the Old City lies the Tomb of Kings. At this historic site, there are tombs cut from the rock and it is believed that it is the burial site of Queen Helene of Adiabene. It is also thought that it is the burial site for others in the Queen’s dynasty, including her son Isates. The site was called the Tomb of the Kings as it was once believed that kings were buried in the tombs. Although this has since been disproven, the site has retained the name. It is only possible to visit the site during special events as it is now the property of the French State.
4. Mount Zion
Mount Zion is a hill that lies just on the outskirts of the Old City. It was once the name given to the City of David and then to Temple Mount. However, in the modern day, it is the name given to ancient Jerusalem’s Western Hill. The Western Hill is separated from the lower Eastern Hill by Tyropoeon Valley. The Old City expanded westwards in the First Temple period and it was then that the Wester Hill was included in the defensive walls of the city during a phase of rebuilding.
5. Tower of David
The Tower of David is also known as the Jerusalem Citadel. It is located on the western edge of the Old City of Jerusalem close to the Jaffa Gate entrance and dates to the Mamluk and Ottoman periods. The Tower of David is built on the site of an earlier ancient fortification and is the site of many important archaeological finds, some of which date back over 2,000 years. These include a quarry from the First Temple period which is now a popular venue for events and performances. Originally, there were three towers that were altered by Herod and one was replaced by a much larger tower that then became known as the Tower of David. It was given this name as early Christians believed that the site was originally the palace of King David. There is now a Tower of David Museum that was founded by the Jerusalem Foundation and has been open to visitors since 1989.