The City of David (Ir David) is a great place to experience history and escape the heat, especially during the upcoming Chagim. It’s an ideal family-friendly experience of history, golden limestone, breathtaking views, and underground water-hikes.

The Old City of Jerusalem

City of David - Nes Mobile
באדיבות הצלם – ניר אוהד, מתוך אתר פיקיויקי

The Old City, the heart of Jerusalem, is not only a place of spiritual connection, but also where the whole family can tap into the inner-Indiana Jones, and see and touch history, itself. This holy place is world-renowned for its deep store of archeological finds, many of which are largely accessible to the public today.

This is best on display in the gorgeously-renovated, and highly kid-friendly, City of David, that’s just a five-minute walk from the main entrance to the Kotel. It’s one of Jerusalem’s most attractive destinations for tourists visiting Israel and locals alike who want to experience the very places spoken about in the Bible. Just make sure you have your bathing suit and water shoes handy!

The City of David Experience

City of David, Jerusalem - Nes Mobile
משה דלאל, מתוך אתר פיקיויקי

The City of David experience kicks off with a 3D movie. The 15-minute film runs through the historical context of the site, where King David built his first palace just below the future site of the Temple Mount.  Afterwards, gather for your guided tour, or climb down yourself for your first glimpse at the surprisingly-well preserved citadel. The excavations you’ll see are living proof of undisturbed Jewish settlement in Jerusalem for over 3000 years.

A mixture of iron stairways, carved stone steps, and wooden boardwalks, allow you to get very close to the ancient city. Still very much an active archeological dig, the architects, no doubt, had quite a job of balancing the task of making the area infrastructurally sound and safe enough for visitors, while allowing the dig to continue as well as possible.

Eventually, the path leads all the way down to an ancient underground water system. Some of the system was built by the Canaanites while other parts, namely the famous water tunnels, were built by King Hezekiah. These tunnels once brought water from the Gihon spring into the protections of the city walls – and that water flows still!

At the entrance, there is the choice of a shorter, dry tunnel that’s ideal for those with smaller children, but those who are ready for the real adventure continue straight into the water tunnels, themselves. The fresh, freezing water reaches up to 70 cm at some points during the hike and the walk itself takes about 15-20 minutes through the dark narrow tunnels.

The City of David Water Tunnels

Sholach pool city of david jerusalem - nes mobile
אודי שטיינוול, מתוך אתר פיקיויקי

The water tunnels end off at the Pool of Shiloach, where the tunnels built from opposite sides finally met. This is a great place for the dry tunnel hikers to still experience the water in a small and shallow pool.

Then hike back up, or take a shuttle, to the visitor’s area to warm up with something from their cafe, or take the experience home with something from their souvenir shop of authentic-style jewelry and Judaica. They also feature a comfortable Sukkah area during the festival of Sukkot.

For more info, please visit: the City of David website

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