David's Citadel and The Temple Mount

While I was in Jerusalem I spent some time wandering around King David's Citadel which is a major part of the original city of Jerusalem and dates back to the earliest times when the Jews were a unified, stable society. The Jewish longing for a Messiah stems from the time of King David. The first set of pictures on this page are from the Citadel.

If King David's Citadel represents a proud civil heritage, the Temple Mount represents the spiritual heritage. David's son, Solomon, built a modest temple on the hill overlooking the city. It was destroyed and rebuilt, ultimately attaining magnificant proportions in Roman times under Herod. But then it was destroyed and the Jewish people scattered to the four winds of the Earth by the Romans. From that time to this the Jews have not had a central temple, they have not had a "Holy of Holies", they have not had a place that they could call their spiritual "home". They look to the Temple Mount with a great deal of reverence and, I suspect, a good deal of sadness and even anger. Today's Temple Mount is largely controled by Muslims -- it houses one of their holiest mosques.

David's Citadel is the citadel and palace that David built when he built the original Jerusalem. Now there is a museum that teaches about the history of Jerusalem, some excavations of the original palace and a nice courtyard with displays. I spent a lot of time there and took a lot of pictures. This is a view from a tower at one end. In the foreground is one of the odd glass sculptures (I'm told by Dale Chihuly) -- this one I could see from my hotel room, it's so large and high. To the right in the distance you can see another (a tall blue thing). A third sculpture is hidden directly behind the glass sphere. In the center of the picture are the excavations of the original palace.
David's Citadel from the inside. To the left is the coffee shop and to the right is a pleasant lawn.
Glass sculpture in David's Citadel. I don't know the story behind them but there were 4 glass sculptures of which this is the largest and most bizarre. You can only see the top in this picture; it goes another 20 feet down.
In David's Citadel, this is another of those incredible glass sculptures. While it looks like a row of plants, in fact they are glass tubes stuck into the ground.
David's Citadel showing another of the glass sculptures -- this one a row of very bright red spears.
West Wall entry area. The gates to the left are a security check point (with separate entrances for men and women). The dome in the distance is a Muslim mosque on the sacred Temple Mount.
The West Wall Gate. The West Wall itself stands between us and the golden dome of the Temple of the Rock. The black-roofed structure is a modern gate that provides security for the area.
A view of the West Wall and the huge plaza around it. In the distance you can see the gold dome of the Temple of the Rock. The West Wall stands between us and the gold dome. I couldn't get any close up pictures of the Wall on a Saturday (taking pictures is considered "work" and this place is so holy that even tourists need to keep the Sabbath). The Wall itself is the ancient wall of the Temple Mount. In ancient times this wall had no significance but, as it was once the edge of the mount on which the sacred Temple sat and since they don't control the Mount itself, the wall has become sacred. I'm told that devout Jews don't go into the area of the old Temple because they might step on a space that was once the Holy of Holies; of course the Arabs control the Temple Mount so Jews don't have much chance to refuse to go there...
Dome of The Rock, sacred Islamic mosque that sits on the rock at the center of the world. This is the holiest Islamic site in Jerusalem. Also happens to be on the Temple Mount, the holiest Jewish site in the world. This may explain some of the difficulties that Jews and Moslems have.

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Dave Menconi


Last changed 5/6/01.

This page (including all images) Copyright © 2001 Dave Menconi.