TOWER OF DAVID MUSEUM OF THE
HISTORY OF JERUSALEM, Jerusalem
Eilat Lieber, General Director & Chief Curator
The Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem, located in the medieval citadel that guards the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City, is a modern and innovative museum that offers a comprehensive introduction to Jerusalem and its fascinating 3000-year history. The visitor crosses the drawbridge and enters the cavernous halls, turreted fortifications and picturesque courtyard of the Citadel for a captivating tour of the rich history of the city and its centrality to Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
The Citadel itself is an archaeological asset of historical significance that has been the symbol of the city of Jerusalem for generations. Within the citadel courtyard and moat there are major archaeological findings that document Jerusalem’s long and eventful history. These include the remains of a quarry from the First Temple period; a segment of the wall surrounding Hasmonean Jerusalem (the First Wall); remains of monumental steps, probably from Herod’s palace which was located nearby; and remnants of an Umayyad fortress (7th-8th c.).
The dramatic events that make Jerusalem unique in world civilization are presented in the museum’s panoramic exhibition while temporary exhibitions highlight significant aspects of the history, art and traditions of the city. Distinctive cultural events focus on music, dance and drama, enhanced by the special ambience of the citadel while visitors of all ages can take part in imaginative learning experiences about the city of Jerusalem. The world renowned Night Spectacular offers a multi-sensory sound and light presentation of the history of the city. Giant, breathtaking images are projected onto the Citadel walls creating a virtual reality that envelops the audience with music and art.
As an integral part of the city of Jerusalem, the museum offers educational programs for Israel’s diverse populations including youth at risk from both Jewish and Arab sectors, special needs children, and underserved communities.
The museum spreads over 2.5 acres with glorious panoramic views of Jerusalem from the citadel towers. It contains exhibition rooms, galleries, an outdoor amphitheater and stage, an archaeological courtyard, coffee shop, and a dry moat complete with archaeological remains from over 2700 years ago. It also encloses an Ottoman structure known as the Kishle that encompasses rare archaeological remains from the 6th century BCE, from the Hasmonean and Herodian periods and the Middle Ages.
The Director has plans to develop the Kishle site. This imposing 45 meter arched structure with cathedral ceilings made of stone and supporting walls from the time of King Herod will be transformed into a contemporary art building. The lower level will be on view as an archaeological site, while the upper level will be transformed into a glass-floored contemporary art gallery.