5 Things to See Just Outside Jerusalem’s Old City Walls

January 28th 2020

Tunnels At The City Of David

Mention Jerusalem and many people will picture the famous sites found within the Old City Walls. From the Temple Mount and Western Wall to the Tower of David and Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the ancient city area is filled with fascinating places of cultural and historical importance. Yet just outside the City Walls are even more amazing things to see. 

It was during the mid-19th century when Jerusalem began to truly expand outside its walls. This period is often referred to as the “departure from the walls” and by the early 20th Century, the land outside Jerusalem was unrecognizable from previous centuries. There had been pockets of expansion before but nothing on this scale. 

And it’s in these areas of expansion, where some popular visitor attractions are now located, which are in short walking distance from the Old City. 

We recommend you check out the following sites, just outside the gates of Jerusalem:

  1. City of David

Near Dung Gate, south of the City Walls, is the City of David. It’s believed to be one of the oldest parts of Jerusalem and the site of King David’s Palace, dating back 3,000 years. Excavations during the mid-1800s uncovered numerous artifacts and remains, including Hezekiah’s Tunnel, an underground aqueduct that provided Jerusalem with water during a military siege by the Assyrians. 

Tours of the City of David bring the past back to life and provide fascinating insights into the origins of the Old City and ancient Jewish history. 

  1. King David’s Tomb

A brief walk from Jerusalem’s Zion Gate, to the south of the Old City, is King David’s Tomb. King David, highly revered in Jewish tradition, united the people of Israel and led them to victory against their enemies. For most of his reign, he prepared for the construction of the Holy Temple, which his son Solomon later built. 

King David’s Tomb is housed in an ancient building, important to all three of the Abrahamic faiths. It’s not known where King David’s body was actually buried but the tomb today has huge religious and cultural significance. 

  1. Rockefeller Archeological Museum

Just outside Herod’s Gate, to the north of the Old City, is the extraordinary Rockefeller Archaeological Museum. It contains many thousands of artifacts, some of which date back to prehistoric times, that were collected primarily during the period of the British Mandate (1919 to 1948). 

The museum itself, designed in the early 20th Century, is a distinctive white limestone structure inspired by a combination of eastern and western architecture. 

  1. Hutzot Hayotzer Artists Colony

Adjacent to the western part of the Old City Wall, a stone’s throw from Teddy Park, is the charming Hutzot Hayotzer Artists Colony. A number of small old buildings were converted into artist studios in the late 1960s, shortly after the reunification of Jerusalem. 

Today you can browse these little creative workshops and watch the friendly artists at work and even purchase some of their creations, including paintings, photographs, jewelry, tapestries, ceramics, and Judaica. 

  1. Time Elevator Show

A short walk outside the Old City from Jaffa Gate is the exciting Time Elevator Show. It’s a fun multimedia show with moving seats and special effects, which takes children and adults alike back in time on a journey through 3000 years of Jewish history, in and around Jerusalem. 

It’s a great educational experience for young ones who love the exciting moving parts and cinema-like learning environment.