EXCAVATIONS FROM FIRST TEMPLE PERIOD 8TH CENTURY BC UNTIL BRITISH MANDATE OPEN UP TO GENERAL PUBLIC FOR FIRST TIME INCLUDING ARCHAEOLOGICAL FINDINGS FROM KING HEROD’S PALACE
Up an old winding spiral staircase next to the ancient ramparts of the Old City walls, hidden behind an unassuming metal door of a long narrow rectangular building are the excavations carried out more than 10 years ago that show the timeline of Jerusalem … from British Mandate back to the First Temple Period, 8th century BC and these excavations have just been made available for the general public to go and visit.
The recent archeological finds beneath the Museum, newly opened to the public, provide Christian groups with a unique opportunity for exploring Jesus’ life on earth within its historical, archeological and geographic context. The new tour “Bookends of the Gospels” offers visitors a fantastic biblical quest, viewing portions of King Herod’s grandiose palace, an ancient quarry, and other important archeological sites while reading in their Bibles about relevant events in Jesus’ life. Indeed, this tour beautifully connects Herod’s palace in Jerusalem to the beginning and the end of Jesus life.
The tour starts on the top of the Phasael Tower, built by King Herod, and gives the visitor the most magnificent views of Jerusalem. From the top of the tower, with views of modern day Jerusalem, at the point where East meets West at the entrance to the Old City, the visitor can travel back in time with Bible in hand walking through the moat and finally ending up in the Kishle building next to the foundations of Herod’s Palace. The “Discover Herod’s Palace – Bookends of the Gospels Biblical Guided Tour” invites the visitor to journey through significant milestones in the life of Jesus with scriptural references surrounded by the very stones from over 2000 years ag
MORE ABOUT THE MOAT AND KISHLE
After many years that the Citadel moat was closed to the public, the southern part of Jerusalem’s historic moat has been revived. The ancient builders of the Citadel surrounded the fortress with a dry moat, the first line of defense against enemies. As years passed, the moat served other purposes. It was a market place, a passage way and even a makeshift garbage dump. Excavations in the moat have exposed archaeological remains including an ancient quarry, a ritual bath from the Second Temple, a hewn water channel, secret passageways and a giant stone staircase and pools from the Hasmonean and Herodian eras.
The renewed moat also includes passage to a building that was closed for many years – The Kishle, the Ottoman Prison which was excavated over the last decade and contains remains detailing the history of Jerusalem, from the First Temple period to the establishment of the State. The site is now being opened for group visits. The domed building served as a prison for members of the pre-State underground and evidence of the period remains in a scratched inscription on the walls.