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תצפית על מגדל דוד

About The Museum

Tower of David Jerusalem Museum

Welcome to the Tower of David, the new gateway of Jerusalem. Welcome to Jerusalem’s citadel, a meeting point of ancient and modern, east and west, history and innovation, experience and creation.

Located at the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City, the Tower of David Jerusalem Museum resides within the ancient citadel, once the fortress defending the city. Today, it stands as one of Israel’s prominent cultural institutions and Jerusalem’s official museum, intertwining the historical narrative of Jerusalem with its significance to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

The Tower of David archaeological excavations reveal the city’s evolution across 3,000 years. For thousands of years, the city’s rulers resided here. Within these walls, Hezekiah’s soldiers built a wall, the Hasmoneans launched ballistas, Herod erected a magnificent palace, zealots fought during the revolt, a crusader dug a tunnel, the Mamluks built a minaret, and Allenby stood on the citadel’s steps. In every era, the importance and beauty of this place was recognized. As Ronald Storrs, the first British Governor of Jerusalem, put it, “This is the most beautiful spot in the city!”

The Tower of David Jerusalem Museum opened in 1989 with the support of the city’s mayor, Teddy Kollek, as a historical museum for the study of Jerusalem’s origins. Since then, hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world have come to the museum each year and have participated in educational programs, guided tours, workshops, lectures, immersive learning experiences, and cultural events for diverse audiences. The museum showcases temporary exhibitions featuring Jerusalem’s contemporary expressions in art, design, architecture and more. The archaeological garden featuring findings from 2800 years alongside olive trees and spice gardens, and a stunning viewpoint that offers a panoramic view of the city from the west and east, spanning 360 degrees. Visitors walk through the impressive citadel, where the stones tell the story of one beautiful and intricate city, where Jerusalem as we know it today emerged. For over a decade, as daylight fades, the citadel walls transform into a canvas for mesmerizing sound and light displays, projecting the history of Jerusalem and the tale of King David in huge breathtaking images.

In 2020, after 31 years of continuous operation, we embarked on an extensive renewal project, including the preservation of the ancient citadel, expansion of the activity area, restoration of the minaret, revitalization of the archaeological garden, the establishment of a shop and café next to the new multi-level sunken entrance pavilion, infrastructure upgrades, the unveiling of additional archaeological excavations, improving accessibility within the citadel, and the introduction of a new permanent exhibition in 10 galleries that provide a unique experience by combining authentic artifacts and technology, creativity and innovation. The Tower of David Jerusalem Museum, is open seven days a week, morning and evening, 364 days a year.

In June 2023, after more than a decade in planning and three years of construction, we opened our doors as the gateway to the Old City, the new Tower of David Jerusalem Museum. The renewal and conservation project included the conservation of the ancient citadel, the conservation and renewal of the minaret – the iconic symbol of Jerusalem, the construction of a new sunken multi-level entrance pavilion and a museum shop, the renewal of infrastructure, the improvement of accessibility, and the highlight: a new permanent exhibition with 10 completely new galleries, which bring together authenticity and technology, creativity and innovation, and provide an extraordinary interactive experience. The new permanent exhibition provides an engaging exploration of the city, intertwining the historical narrative of Jerusalem of 4000 years with its significance to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The visitor leaves the Museum with a deeper understanding the city’s past and is better equipped to interpret and explore the Old City and the modern metropolis today.

תצפית על מגדל דוד

Our Mission

The Tower of David Museum is located within the iconic citadel of Jerusalem and presents the city’s full story, emphasizing the importance of Jerusalem to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It portrays the city’s relevance and its re-establishment as the capital of modern Israel. The Tower of David Museum draws from the city’s multifaceted history and the inspiring events that took place here. It offers core and contemporary exhibitions that rely on current academic research; modern and creative cultural events; and educational tours to discover the sites, people and treasures of Jerusalem. Jerusalem’s ancient fortifications are displayed in the courtyard and archaeological gardens of the citadel and comply with meticulous conservation practices.

The Story of the Citadel

The Citadel is a treasure trove of archaeology that tells the story of the city and its history of over 3000 years

  • First Temple Period (1006 – 586 BCE)

    Remains of a wall dating to the end of the First Temple Period were found in the Citadel complex. This was apparently a fortification wall built during the reign of King Hezekiah, 2,700 years ago, as part of the city’s defense.

  • התקופה החשמונאית

    Hasmonean Period (141 – 63 BCE)

    The Hasmonean kings built a massive wall and towers on the site of today’s Citadel complex. Dozens of ballista stones were discovered here near the very place they landed 2,200 years ago. A royal palace was also built in the Citadel area.

  • התקופה ההרודיאנית

    From Herod until the Destruction of the Second Temple (37 BCE – 70 CE)

    King Herod built three towers atop the Hasmonean fortifications named Hippicus, Phasael, and Miriam. One of these towers survived and is the Museum observation point. A royal palace was built adjacent to the towers and featured pools and gardens.

  • התקופה הרומית (70–324)

    Roman Period (70 – 324 CE)

    The historian Josephus Flavius recorded that only the Phasael Tower survived the Roman destruction of 70 CE. The Roman legion camped in the ruins of the Citadel and left clay pipes stamped with the seal of the 10th Legion.

  • התקופה הביזנטית (324–638)

    Byzantine Period (324 – 638 CE)

    Byzantine monks came to Jerusalem and lived at the foot of the Phasael Tower. They mistakenly believed that King David built the tower and called it the Tower of David. Two Byzantine era water cisterns also survive in the courtyard.

  • התקופה המוסלמית הקדומה (638–1099)

    Early Moslem Period (638 – 1099 CE)

    An enclosed citadel was built on the site during the Early Muslim Period. Much smaller than the current citadel it was attached to the Phasael Tower. The base of a round tower with two walls emerging from it can be seen in the courtyard.

  • התקופה הצלבנית (1099–1260)

    Crusader Period (1099 – 1260 CE)

    A Crusader castle built in the French feudal style was built in the citadel area and included knights’ halls, arches and defensive walls and was surrounded by a moat. The Crusaders gave the Citadel its current size and dimensions.

  • התקופה הממלוכית (1260–1517)

    Mameluke Period (1260 – 1517 CE)

    Most of the rooms used today as exhibition spaces for the Museum were built by the Mamelukes using the structural base of the Crusader Citadel. The Mamelukes extensively renovated the Citadel, enlarging it and adding advanced, defensive features.

  • התקופה העות'מאנית (1517–1917)

    Ottoman Period (1517 – 1917 CE)

    The Ottomans rebuilt the walls surrounding the Old City. The Citadel underwent extensive renovation, and the monumental entrance gate, cannon plaza, and minaret were built. The minaret, today known as the Tower of David, became a symbol of Jerusalem.

  • התקופה הבריטית (1917–1947)

    British Mandate Period (1917 – 1947 CE)

    The British declared the conquest of the city on the entrance steps to the Citadel. The first archaeological excavations in the complex were conducted during this period and the Citadel was used as an art gallery, museum and cultural center.

  • מדינת ישראל (מאז שנת 1948)

    State of Israel (1948 CE to present)

    After the 1948 War, the Jordanians used the citadel as a fortress. Captured by Israeli forces in 1967, the citadel came under Israeli sovereignty. Extensive archaeological excavations were conducted and in1989 it opened as the Tower of David Museum.

  • מוזיאון מגדל דוד מתחדש (2020)

    State of Israel (1948 CE to present)

    After the 1948 War, the Jordanians used the citadel as a fortress. Captured by Israeli forces in 1967, the citadel came under Israeli sovereignty. Extensive archaeological excavations were conducted and in1989 it opened as the Tower of David Museum.