Who Built the Citadel?
The Tower of David is located on the spot that has guarded Jerusalem for thousands of years; rulers throughout history have left their mark here. King Herod built 3 massive towers here and the largest one, the Phasael Tower, is still standing. During the Early Muslim Period, the Citadel was built, the remains of which can be seen today in the center of the courtyard – a round tower 10 meters/30 feet in diameter. The Crusaders constructed a royal palace here; they added a beautiful entrance and a moat (dry and without alligators!). The Mamelukes strengthened the walls of the Citadel and added sophisticated, advanced architectural elements to make the Citadel a symbol of strength. Among the impressive extensions built by the Mamelukes is the hexagonal tower appended to the Phasael Tower. The Ottomans built a monumental entrance gate at the Museum’s eastern entrance, a beautiful stone bridge, the open mosque, and the cannon yard. Their most striking addition was the minaret, the tower of the mosque, known today as the Tower of David, a prominent symbol of the city of Jerusalem. The British converted the Citadel’s rooms into exhibition spaces; they actually were the first to use the Tower of David not for defense and protection but rather for peace – as an exhibit space for art and cultural events. After the War of Independence in 1948 the Jordanian Legion controlled the citadel and it became a fortress once again. After the 1967 Six Day War, the Citadel came under Israeli sovereignty and in 1989 the Tower of David Museum was opened. From then until now, the archaeological courtyard has hosted visitors from all over the world who come to discover the story of Jerusalem. So actually, everyone contributed to building this place, and all are welcome to enter it! The courtyard of the Citadel is extensive and there are many shady and grassy areas to relax in – come tour the citadel through its exciting history or just to enjoy a picnic in the pleasant hours of the afternoon, all in the shadow of a Second Temple Period tower or a Byzantine water cistern.