The citadel compound includes archeological findings attesting to Jerusalem’s long and eventful history: remains of a quarry from the First Temple period; a segment of the wall surrounding Hasmonean Jerusalem (the first wall); remains of monumental steps, probably from Herod’s palace which was located nearby; remains of a fortress that stood in this location during the rule of the Ummayid dynasty (7th and 8th centuries CE) and more. In fact, the citadel compound includes archeological findings from most of the periods in the city’s history.
The citadel is surrounded by a moat which served as part of its defenses. The moat, which was dry, was spanned by a wooden bridge leading to the citadel’s gate. Its size was significantly reduced when Sultan Suleiman made changes to the citadel’s entranceway in the 16th century.At the end of the 19th century, a segment of the moat was filled in and a special entrance to the Jaffa Gate was prepared in order to allow Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and his entourage to enter the city on horseback. The moat contains unique archeological findings, including the remains of a quarry from the First Temple period and the remains of monumental steps, probably from Herod’s palace which was located nearby.
One of three towers built by King Herod and named for his wife Miriam, his close friend Hippicus and his brother Phasael. The towers were built to defend the city and Herod’s palace which was located nearby. The top of the tower, marked by its small stones, is a later addition from the Mamluk period. The roof of the Tower of Phasael is a spectacular lookout point offering a 360-degree view of Jerusalem’s East and West.
A segment of the wall which surrounded Jerusalem during Hasmonean times (2nd century BCE runs through the courtyard. This wall was referred to as ''the First Wall'' by Josephus Flavius and received its name as it was the first of three walls which surrounded Jerusalem during the Second Temple period. In Herod’s time and in the later Byzantine period, additions were made to the wall.
The citadel’s courtyard contains remains of a round tower which was part of a Muslim fortress - the first to have been built in the place during the rule of the Ummayid dynasty (7th and 8th centuries CE).
A minaret, built in 1635 by the Turkish rulers. The minaret was added onto a mosque which had been active in the citadel during the Mamluk period. The minaret is known as the Tower of David, and is the symbol of Jerusalem.
During the Mamluk period, a Mosque was built in the citadel. It was renovated toward the end of the Ottoman period by Abdul Hamid II, as indicated in the stone inscription located at the entrance. Today it serves as a gallery which houses the Early Muslim Period exhibition. The hall has a mihrab – a niche that orients worshippers towards Mecca, which was built back in Mamluk times and a minbar - pulpit which was built toward the end of the Turkish rule. The minaret was added by the Turkish rulers authorities only in the 17th century. It later came to be known as the Tower of David.