The Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem is located in the medieval citadel known as the Tower of David, near the Jaffa Gate, the historic entrance to the Old City.
The Museum presents Jerusalem’s story. It details the major events in its history beginning with the first evidence of a city in Jerusalem in the second millennium BCE, until the city became the capital of the State of Israel, as well as its significance to three religions. The permanent exhibition illustrates the city’s history along the axis of time using myriad methods and includes explanations in Hebrew, Arabic and English.
The Citadel itself is a fascinating archaeological site. The finds uncovered within are a testimony to Jerusalem’s eventful past and produce a representation of Jerusalem and its various historical periods in microcosm. The Citadel’s towers offer a 360-degree view of the Old City of Jerusalem as well as the city’s modern areas.
In addition to being a museum of history, the Tower of David relates to both the past and the future. The museum stages temporary exhibitions which integrate the unique location and majesty of the ancient Citadel and its history with a contemporary presentation of artistic and historical issues. The museum also hosts lectures and special events in music, dance and drama as well as dozens of educational activities and programs.
The museum also stages a unique sound and light show – The Night Spectacular – the only one of its kind in the world.
The History of the Museum
The Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem opened to the public in April 1989. Its establishment was initiated and promoted by then mayor, the late Mr. Teddy Kollek, who sought to revive a tradition dating back to the British Mandate when the site served as a cultural center housing temporary exhibitions (1921-1931) and cultural events.
In order to prepare the citadel to house the city’s museum, archaeological digs were conducted and a large scale restoration was undertaken: the citadel’s guardrooms were restored and adapted to serve as galleries for the permanent exhibition on the history of Jerusalem; a crusader hall was prepared for housing temporary exhibitions; promenades along the citadel wall’s were restored to view spectacular cityscape views and walking paths were laid down in the citadel’s courtyard, among the archaeological findings. The restoration and adaptation of the citadel, which preserves the special character of the site, was carried out in strict accordance with preservation rules enshrined in international conventions.
In parallel, a professional staff worked on developing the permanent exhibition of the history of Jerusalem. The decision to have an interpretive exhibition which is not based on a collection of authentic artifacts, but rather utilizes a myriad of illustrative methods in order to relate the city’s history was groundbreaking.
Ever since it’s opening day, the Tower of David Museum has ranked among the leading historical museums in the world.
The Museum’s establishment and continued work have been made possible through the support of Dame Vivien Duffield and the Clore Israel Foundation through the Jerusalem Foundation.