Science and religious faith are occasionally bedfellows in Jerusalem, where discoveries from the ancient world sometimes lend credence to cherished Biblical accounts, but perhaps more often, the archaeologist's pick and the anthropologist's research come into direct conflict with what faith and tradition say must be so. Tradition, for example, holds that King David is buried in a fairly ornate tomb located on Mount Zion, squabbled over by the three major monotheistic faiths and visited by endless processions of pilgrims. Historical science, however, indicates that the structure and the tomb it contains are far, far too recent to be the final resting place of the great Israelite king - and that the Bible itself records the burial site as being in a different part of the city.
But even if its star remains are actually located elsewhere, the Tomb of David offers an interesting glimpse into the religiously and culturally diverse history of Jerusalem. The bulk of the current structure dates back to the Crusaders, and was augmented by both Arab and Ottoman Muslims, while the part of the structure around the tomb itself may be either part of an ancient synagogue or equally ancient Byzantine church. David's Tomb is open during daylight hours (except on Friday, when it closes early) and admission is free. As the site is under Jewish jurisdiction, men are required to cover their heads.
Saturday to Thursday, 8:00 to 17:00; Friday 8:00 to 1:00
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The Jerusalem Tourism Map:Print
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