Israeli history photo of the week: King David lives on

JPost special feature: A Library of Congress collection of photographs that document Israel before the creation of the state.

August 11, 2011 15:55
1 minute read.

Tomb interior: circa 1900. (photo credit: American Colony-Jerusalem-Photo Dept.)


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The Library of Congress has recently digitized a collection of over 10,000 photographs, taken by the "American Colony" in Jerusalem, a group of Christian utopians who lived in Jerusalem between 1881 and the 1940s. The photographers returned to the US, and bequeathed their massive collection to the Library of Congress in 1978. The collection includes Winston Churchill's visit to Jerusalem, Jewish expulsions from the Old City during Arab riots, and the building of Tel Aviv.

A thousand year old Jewish tradition believes that King David is buried in a tomb on Mt. Zion. And that is one of the reasons the belief is questioned by some Jews.

The Bible (Kings I, 2:10) states that David and his descendants were buried in the City of David, generally believed to be south of the Temple Mount, not on Mt. Zion to the West.  The Jewish tradition has taken hold over the last millenium, and the tomb is revered by many Jews as evident in the Library of Congress' 100 year old picture. 

King David's Tomb was particularly important from 1948 until 1967 when the Western Wall, the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb were all under Jordanian control and forbidden to Jews.  The Mt. Zion site was the closest Jews could get to the Western Wall.

Adjacent to the Hagia Sion Abbey (formerly the Dormition Abbey), the tomb is located beneath the room where, according to Christian belief, Jesus conducted his Last Supper.

More photos can be viewed at

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