Altstadt Jerusalem

What to See in the City of David in Jerusalem

Aktualisiert am: 21/03/2024

Last month I had a somewhat unusual invitation in my mailbox. Wouldn’t I like to participate in the International Travel Bloggers’ Summit in Jerusalem, which would take place for the first time this year. 40 bloggers and Instagrammers from 6 nations, plus lots of expert talks, workshops, lectures and many new tips for Jerusalem.

The Old City of Jerusalem: picturesque and exciting

I already knew that the Old City of Jerusalem is picturesque and photogenic – and this time I was even more determined to capture my impressions in pictures.

Wailing Wall Dome of the Rock
Welcome to my travel blog!

Hey, I’m Tatiana, a German-Brazilian living in Berlin & the author behind The Happy Jetlagger. I’ve been writing about my travels since 2014. In addition to my job as a flight attendant, this blog is my passion project!

Jerusalem is simply full of interesting Places of interest: Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Wailing Wallin the background the Dome of the Rock with the striking golden dome, the Tower of Davidthe Cardothe shopping street from Roman times; and oh yes, there were plenty of them, the orthodox Jews with their black hats, who always look good in photos as they scurry through the winding alleyways.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre Jerusalem

➜ You can also find all travel reports on Israel in my Israel blog

Souvenirs Jerusalem
Christian Quarter Jerusalem
Postcards Jerusalem
Souvenir store Jerusalem
Wailing Wall Jerusalem
Wailing Wall

By the way: If you are interested in tips on the most important sights in Jerusalem – here you can find my big Jerusalem Guide!
All important sights, cool locations and valuable tips for Jerusalem at a glance

Orthodox Jews Jerusalem

But somehow questions still remained open in me. I usually get a good feel for a city pretty quickly; that’s no wonder, after almost two decades of flying and various spontaneous and less spontaneous overnight stays in cities that were sometimes foreign to me until then, you develop your own routine when it comes to exploring and feeling out a city. Besides, I consider myself to be the uncrowned queen of speed sightseeing (well, some of my crewmates, who already incited me to the craziest speed sightseeing actions shortly before pickup, could dispute the title) and Jerusalem should not be a problem in just four days. But it did.

Jerusalem and its history: the center of three great world religions

Jerusalem is the center of three major world religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Which has always held a potential for conflict, because as it is in the history of mankind: Sharing usually doesn’t work out so well. I’m not religious, but sometimes I think I have a penchant for the spiritual that I rarely bring up publicly because, let’s face it, that sounds more like barefoot dancing, spiritually entranced cult disciples in self-batiked robes than anything else.

Wailing wall men

Nevertheless, in Jerusalem I again felt the special energy of this place in my own body – whether it was due to the place itself, its history or the importance that millions of believers attach to Jerusalem and go there in droves? As I landed at the airport in Tel Aviv, a fervently chanting group of 40 cheerful pilgrims sheered in right in front of me on the way to passport control; judging by the inscription on their printed shirts, they had come from the Ivory Coast for a Pentecostal trip, and this trip seem to be an extraordinary event in their lives. This religious devotion of the many pilgrims and pilgrimages is also clearly felt in the city itself.

Al Aqsa Mosque Jerusalem
Jerusalem tablecloth

Excursion to the City of David – a morning on the trail of Indiana Jones

Then one morning we went to the City of David. A rather less touristy spot in Jerusalem, most people want to see the Wailing Wall and explore the Old City. The City of David is an archaeological site that has been opened to the public and features finds from the time when King David (who made David and Goliath – it’s getting biblical!) made Jerusalem a thriving city 3000 years ago. Secretly, I hoped that this program item would quickly pass me by – looking at excavations, that didn’t sound very tempting. I mean, half the city is old, there’s no need to look at that separately, is there?

City of David City of David Jerusalem
City of David City of David Jerusalem

Advertising / *affiliate links

Archaeology in Jerusalem: Exciting finds and insights

I was proven wrong. We descended into an underground cave, got a small Old Testament Refresher Course (which I sorely needed), as we stood in the middle of its setting, so to speak, watching a very realistic multimedia presentation of ancient Jerusalem and marveling at the incredibly sophisticated Irrigation system: We meandered through narrow crevices in the rock, which were carved into the rock at the time as a water supply for the surrounding fields, and couldn’t believe that this was supposed to be several thousand years old.

City of David City of David Jerusalem Tunnel

Also the Hezekiah Tunnel from the 8th century BC, an underground canal for water supply, was opened up and can be visited in almost its entire length. The special fun: Until today this tunnel leads at least knee-high water and must be waded through! Waterproof shoes and flashlight (are mandatory!) can be purchased on site.

Hezekiah Tunnel Jerusalem
The entrance to the Hezekiah tunnel: It gets wet and dark

Archaeology live: the latest discovery in the City of David

At present, another great discovery is being uncovered: In an excavation not previously open to the public, the pilgrimage route several hundred meters long from the Shiloah Basin (where the faithful underwent ritual ablution) up to the temple of the city is being excavated. What is today an underground tunnel, for which we had to descend quite a bit, was 2000 years ago an open-air road – so much has been built over it in the centuries that followed! Live and in color, we were allowed to see the ongoing excavation work – and suddenly archaeology seemed quite exciting. Soon, by the way, this tunnel will be open to the public – and that will be great!

City of David excavation
Jerusalem City of David

Outside again, we enjoyed the view of the valley, behind us a slope on which the residential buildings of the surrounding neighborhood were piled up. The different layers of rock also revealed that there was a lot of history in this slope.
“You know, the ground on which Jerusalem stands is made up of countless layers of building fabric. Nothing was removed. It’s been thousands of years of just building on top of each other, layer by layer,” said our Israeli escort, Maria. “The big archaeological question in Jerusalem is never whether you’ll find anything – because you always find something, that’s for sure. The only question is whether it’s worth destroying what you’ve discovered so far in order to dig even deeper.”

City of David City of David Jerusalem

My indefinable feeling about Jerusalem melted away and I made my peace with the fact that I would probably never be able to solve my question marks about Jerusalem. How could one ever classify a city under whose surface the history of mankind from millennia is buried?

Practical tips for the City of David

The City of David is located not far from the Old City, behind the Wailing Wall as you pass through the Dung Gate.

Book City of David Tour*

I would allow half a day to explore the whole area at your leisure – it’s probably hard to do that on a day trip. But anyway, in my opinion, a single day for Jerusalem is far too little. And the City of David is really a location I would highly recommend to you, preferably with a guided tour – it helped me a lot to understand Jerusalem a bit better.


All reports from Israel at a glance:

Flags Israel

Also check out my fellow bloggers! With me in Jerusalem were Nina from Good Morning World, Katrin from Before we die, Claudia from Dinner um 8 and Ina from Ina isst.

Disclaimer: I was invited by iTravelJerusalem and the Jerusalem Development Authority to attend the Jerusalem Travel Bloggers’ Summit 2019.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *