After the old city was recaptured from the Arabs in 1967 and the rebuilding began, many interesting discoveries were made. Many relics from the past were uncovered and can now be seen. Here are some of the interesting places you may want to visit.
Actual floor stones from the time of the 2nd Bais HaMikdash that are still walked on today
The Broad Wall
For many years no one seemed to know how far the ancient city of Yerushalayim reached out into the north. No one seemed to know where the northern wall of the city once stood. There was much speculation as to how far north the city extended. The discovery of this wall (in 1970) which dates back to the time of the first Bais HaMikdash, finally ended the debate. Standing on the corner of Rechov Plugat Hakotel one can see what is left of this ancient wall.
The wall is about 23 feet wide and only about 10 feel tall. The original height was probably more than 25 feet.
The Israelite Tower
A little farther down the street they discovered an ancient tower more than four meters thick and still standing about eight meters high. Here they also found the remains of arrowheads and ashes probably dating back to the time of the destruction of the first Bais HaMikdash. Built into this tower is another tower from the time of the Chashmonayim.
The Burnt House
Here stands a house dating back to the time of the destruction of the second Bais HaMikdash by the Romans. One can see charred wood, burned vessels, a Roman spear, a mikvah and even the skeletal remains of a woman’s arm.
Most of the vessels found here were made of stone. That’s because stone does not become tomei (unclean) when it contacts something that is tomei . In fact, one of the weights found here, had the name Bar Katros on it. This is the name of a family of Cohanim mentioned in the Gemorah (Pesochim 57). One must pay to get into this house and you’ll get to see a beautiful slide show giving you a full explanation of what life was like in those days, and the discoveries made here.
The Cardo is one of the two main streets of the ancient Roman city that once stood here. After the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash, when the Romans captured the city, they kept these streets as a marketplace. One can see the remains of the giant columns that once stood here. They stand more than 16 feet high. The width of the road was more than 50 feet including the sidewalks. Along both sides were the markets.
The wells you see in the middle, allow you to look down and see the original street that once stood here. One can also see parts of the ancient walls from the times of the first and second Bais HaMikdash.
The Wohl Archeological Museum
When they began building the Yeshivat HaKotel and dug build to put up the foundation, they made some startling discoveries. You must pay to enter this fascinating museum in the basement of the Yeshiva. Here you can see what the houses once looked like nearly two thousand years ago. There are some very interesting mosaic floors, stone furniture, ornamental artifacts, mikvaos as well as wall paintings called frescoes. There are signs that explain everything.
The Citadel (Tower of David): The Citadel
The Citadel includes the Tower of David, an attractive minaret jutting high above the old Jerusalem walls and named after the Jewish King David (the one responsible for kicking Goliath’s butt), although it was originally built by King Herod – who also built the Western Wall. The citadel dominates the Jaffa Gate area of the Old City at the edge of the Christian Quarter. Like much of the Old City it has been rebuilt, resdesigned, renovated and knocked back down again countless times as the city has changed hands between Romans, Byzantines, Muslims, Crusaders, Ottomans and so on.
Walk on the Ramparts
Walking aroung the Ramparts of the Old City is a great way to get your bearings & see the Old City. For security reasons, parts of the ramparts are no longer open to the public, which is a shame. It is Possible to join the Rampart walk next to various gates Jaffa, Zion, Dung, but I went up next to the Damascus Gate. It is advised not to walk the Ramparts alone, particulaly women.
The Siebenberg House
Here one can also see some interesting discoveries such as water cisterns, mikvaos, and mosaics.
Western Wall Tunnel Tours
In front of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, an incredible labyrinth of tunnels, arches, and passageways remained untouched for centuries. At last, revealed through extensive archaeological excavations during the last few decades and culminating in the explosive opening of in autumn of 1996, the Tunnels beckon us to enter.
Today we will explore that remnant of the Temple, known as the Western Wall, “Kotel” in Hebrew, and the adjacent tunnel system. Along the way we’ll be priviliged to view some wondrous archaeological discoveries. But more then just bricks and stones, we’ll also discover a whole new spiritual world – literally under our feet, and all thanks to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, who over the years has (and is continuing) to excavate and restore this most precious and holy site.
Southern Temple Mount Excavations
These excavations begun by Benjamin Mazar in 1968 were the largest earth-moving archaeological projects in Israel. Work continued until 1978 but has since resumed in the 1990s under the direction of Ronny Reich. These excavations are the most important for understanding the Temple Mount because of the impossibility of excavating on the mount itself.
The City of David (http://cityofdavid.org.il)
Welcome to the place where it all began…
The story of the City of David began over 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 the binding of Isaac, and with it, this hilltop became one of the most important sites in the world. Today, the story of the City of David continues. Deep underground, the City of David is revealing some of the most exciting archeological finds of the ancient world. While above ground, the city is a vibrant center of activity with a visitor’s center that welcomes visitors for an exciting tour to the site where much of the Bible was written. The tour of the City of David begins with a breathtaking 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. The journey quickly heads underground to some of the newest archaeological excavations at the site. Here, while exploring the recently excavated fortresses and passageways, visitors relive King David’s conquest of the Jebusite city as described in the 2nd Book of Samuel. The underground tour finally ends at the Gihon Spring, the major water source of Jerusalem for over 1,000 years and where, according to the Book of Kings, Solomon was anointed king. Visitors seeking adventure can bring flashlights and wade through the spring in King Hezekiah’s 2,700 year old water tunnel, one of the wonders of early engineering. A tour through the City of David brings visitors face to face with the personalities and places of the Bible. As such, this is the only place on earth where the only guidebook needed is the Bible itself. We look forward to seeing you in the City of David.