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Citadel & Tower of David: Profile of the Citadel & Tower of David in Jerusalem


Tower of David in Jerusalem

Tower of David in Jerusalem

What are the Citadel & Tower of David?:

Often called “David’s Citadel” and “David’s Tower,” these names are erroneous because David didn’t have anything to do with them. The cylindrical tower was built during the 16th century and the square tower (citadel) dates back to Herod. Today the site is a museum that teaches about the history of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Where are the Citadel & Tower of David?:

David’s Citadel and David’s Tower are located right by Jaffa Gate on the western side of Jerusalem. They are among the most prominent landmarks in Jerusalem aside from the Temple Mount. These are some of the largest fortifications in Jerusalem and the tower itself is higher than the Temple Mount. The fortifications were constructed bit by bit over many centuries, with each age leaving its own unique mark on it. Only today is it not used as a military site.

Why are the Citadel & Tower of David important?:

When Titus conquered Jerusalem in 70 CE, he not only had the Temple torn down, he razed the entire city, yet he left these Herodian towers standing. He wanted them to serve as monuments to what his troops had to overcome. He also probably wanted them to be used as strong defensive positions for his troops. The fact that they survived not only the siege but the nearly two millennia of weather and war since is a testament to the strength of Herodian construction.

These buildings were most likely Herod’s own palace when he lived in Jerusalem. When Josephus Flavius entered them, he said that it was a “king’s palace, baffling all description.” Pontius Pilate probably lived here when he was in Jerusalem (his headquarters were in Caesaria, on the coast). If there was a trial of Jesus, this is where it would have occurred.

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