Travel to Jerusalem – Following King David

  (photo credit: freepik)
(photo credit: freepik)

The name David carries huge significance in Israel. In Judaism, he was the unassuming shepherd who became the second King of Israel in the 10th century BCE, his strength and humility made famous in his slaying of the giant, Goliath. According to the New Testament, Jesus descended from him, and in Islam, he is recognized as a prophet, messenger and King. The name David itself means beloved, evolving from the Hebrew word dod, meaning uncle, and there are many beloved landmarks in Israel bearing his name.

Jerusalem’s Citadel, known as the Tower of David, is a historical and archaeological asset of international significance, next to the Jaffa Gate. A medieval fortress, the Tower is the historical entrance to the Old City and has been the symbol for the city of Jerusalem for generations. Its name derives from a tower so massive that early Jerusalemites ascribed it to their great King David, although it was actually built much later by King Herod. The Tower of David that stands today was mainly constructed in the Ottoman and Mamluk period, however, it was built on the earlier fortifications of Hasmonean and Herodian times. Inside the citadel, there are remnants of these times as well as a quarry dating to the First Temple period. Inside, the museum also weaves together the unique history of the city, and as you walk through the passageways and the archeological garden, you will discover that the very stones of the museum are part of this city’s living history, before enjoying a jaw-dropping panoramic view of Jerusalem at the top.

Outside the Old City Walls just south of the Dung Gate, the City of David was where the story began, 3,000 years ago, when King David left the city of Hebron for a small hilltop city known as Jerusalem, establishing it as the unified capital of the tribes of Israel. Years later, David's son, King Solomon, built the First Temple next to the City of David on top of Mount Moriah, the site of Abraham’s binding of Isaac, and this hilltop became one of the most important sites in the world. There is an observation point overlooking Biblical Jerusalem which sends visitors 3,800 years back in time to the days of Abraham, when the first foundations of the city were laid. Today, deep underground, the City of David continues to reveal some of the most fascinating archeological discoveries from the ancient world. A tour brings you to the Gihon Spring, the major water source of Jerusalem for over 1,000 years. Visitors seeking adventure can trek through knee deep water in King Hezekiah's 2,700 year old water tunnel, one of the wonders of early engineering. Continuing to the Shiloah Pool, the major water drawing source in biblical times, one reaches the Herodian Road, the ancient thoroughfare that led pilgrims north to the Temple.

According to the Bible, King David was buried within the City of David, joining the burials of his forefathers, but much speculation remains. Today, you can visit the sacred King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, ancient Jerusalem's Western Hill. Medieval tradition believes that this small building – renovated by Franciscan monks during the 14th century – is the final resting place of King David, after ruling for 40 years. Located directly underneath the Cenacle, the holy site of Jesus’ Last Supper with his Apostles, the room has separate entrances for men and women. It is a profound and moving experience to enter this room and see what is believed to be King David’s Tomb, covered by a velvet cloth. Today, Jews come to pray here, and it is obviously a quiet and respectful place.

Just 2km away from where King David resided in possibly a more simple and refined dwelling lies the hotel carrying his name. The iconic and elegant King David Hotel is itself a king among Jerusalem hotels . With its fusion of modern luxury and rich history, the King David Hotel belongs both to the future and a bygone era. With international leaders among today’s guests, the hotel’s staff are accustomed to treating guests like royalty. While a modest king himself, David nevertheless may well have appreciated the fine dining, ornate suites, and regal ambience afforded to the hotel’s guests.

If David indeed means ‘beloved,’ the professional service at the King David Hotel, as well as the affection for Israel’s second king, both underline that origin.  

This article was written in cooperation with Dan Hotels