One would expect that the partially preserved massive Citadel of Jerusalem, now called the Phasael Tower, would be the popular choice as the object to represent The Tower of David and Jerusalem. However, the Tower of David has become identified with the small minaret of the citadel’s Ottoman mosque, which wasn’t even built until the 17th century.
The Tower of David
This is the site of an early ancient fortifications of the Hasmonean, Herodian, Byzantine and Early Muslim periods, all destroyed by Ayyubid and Mamluk rulers. The citadel that stands today dates to the Mamluk and Ottoman periods. The northeastern Herodian tower was replaced by a much more massive tower, called the “Tower of David” beginning in the 5th century C.E. The name “Tower of David” is due to Byzantine Christians who believed the site to be the palace of King David. They borrowed the name “Tower of David” from the Song of Songs.
“Thy neck is like the Tower of David built with turrets, whereon there hang a thousand shields, all the armor of the mighty men.” (Song of Songs, 4:4)
Of the three towers, only the base of one of them survives until today – believed to be the Phasael Tower, in most opinions.
How many Davids are there?
King David Hotel, David’s Village, Tower of David, David Citadel Hotel, City of David, Tomb of David. This is the most popular geographical name in the area.
The Museum: Daytime activity at the Tower of David
The Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem, opened in 1989 is located in a series of chambers in the original citadel.
Archaeological Courtyard: The museum’s Archaeological Courtyard contains archeological ruins dating back 2,700 years and evidence of most of the time periods displayed in the permanent exhibition.
The Citadel Model: This is an aluminum cast model, complete with archaeological and architechtural details of the Citadel. It is located at the top of the stairway to the Phasael Tower. Recorded commentary in various languages.
19th Century Model of Jerusalem: A large original model of Jerusalem of 1873, crafted in zing by the Hungarian artist Stefan Illes.
Permanent Exhibition: During the day, the Tower of David – Museum of the History of Jerusalem offers exhibits that follow the history of the city in chronological sequence, taking visitors on a journey back in time.The exhibits depict 4,000 years of Jerusalem’s history, from its beginnings as a Canaanite city to modern times. The exhibit is located in the medieval guardrooms of Jerusalem’s citadel. There are 35 different stations in this self-guided tour.
- Canaanite Period | 3200 BCE
- First Temple Period | 1006 BCE
- Second Temple Period | 515 BCE
- Roman Period | 63 CE
- Byzantine Period | 324 CE
- Muslim Period | 638 CE
- Crusader Period | 1099 CE
- Ayyubid Period | 1187 CE
- Mamluk Period | 1260 CE
- Ottoman Period | 1517 CE
- British rule – State of Israel | 1917 CE
- Ticket for the Museum and The Night Spectacular may be purchased individually.
- A combination ticket at a discounted price is available for the Night Spectacular and a visit to the Tower of David Museum during the day.
- You can purchase a discount combination ticket for daytime entrance to the museum and entrance to the Ramparts Walk.
Guided tours of the permanent exhibition – for individuals
- Hebrew: Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:30 (in July and August also on Fridays at 10:30)
- English: Sundays to Thursdays at 11:00 (in July and August also on Fridays at 11:00)
- Tours are included in admission fee.
- Tours are not available on holidays and holiday eves. Please note: in the event that there is no escort guide, visitors will be given complimentary audio guides.
- Personal audio players can be rented at the Museum reception desk.
- The film “Jerusalem”, will only be screened for groups by prior arrangement. Reserve at 972-2-6265327 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Audio Guide – download for free
To download the free audio tour of the Tower of David and the Old City: iOS
Group Reservations: By telephone +972-2-6265327, by E-mail: email@example.com
Guided tour reservations: by telephone +972-2-6265347, by E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Accessibility: The museum is located in an ancient citadel. A large part of the exhibition is accessible to persons with mobility disabilities and to wheelchairs. Parking for persons with disabilities can be arranged in advance. Call the museum office for details: +972-2-6265333.
Cafeteria: Open to the public during opening hours, except Saturdays and holidays.
WiFi: Free WiFi at the Museum.
The Night Spectacular – Nighttime activity at the Tower of David
At night, there is an impressive sound and light show. The Night Spectacular uses trompe l’oeil technology – the stones of the walls and structures fade into the scenes and the screened images envelop the viewers and whisk them off to a one-of-a-kind multi-sensory experience using 20 projectors, 10 video players, 14 computers and 14 loudspeakers.
Show runtime: 45 minutes. Dress warmly – the show is open air.
* The show begins with a walk through the courtyard followed by the viewing of the main performance.
* The Night Spectacular is wheelchair accessible.
* The Night Spectacular will not take place in the event of extreme weather conditions.
* The museum and the permanent exhibition are closed at 16:00 (During July-August at 17:00).
* No photography allowed during the performance in all areas of the citadel.
* Due to the nature of the show – late entrances are not allowed.
1-The Moat, 2-The Tower of Phasael, 3-The Hasmonean Wall, 4-The Muslim Tower, 5-The Minaret, 6-The Mosque