King David’s Tomb

King David’s Tomb

When planning a tour of the Holy Land, make sure your itinerary includes a visit to the tomb of King David, located on Jerusalem's Mount Zion. Discovered during renovations to a church in the 12th century, the tomb is believed by many to be the grave of the greatest Israelite king. King David was the first Israelite to capture Jerusalem and make it the capital of his kingdom, some 3000 years ago.

Visitors will note that the tomb is covered by a deep blue cloth with the Hebrew words, "King David is alive," which refers to the belief that the Messiah will emerge from the descendants of King David. At most times, you will find Jewish worshippers sitting near the tomb reading Psalms, which were composed by King David himself, or studying other ancient texts. On the eve of Shavuot, the site is filled with people who have come to study the Bible throughout the night, since the holiday marks the anniversary of David's death.

Although its authenticity cannot be determined (many posit that David's Jerusalem was located in what is today Silwan, the next valley over), the tomb is revered by both Jewish and Christian pilgrims. Between Israel's War of Independence in 1948 and the Six Day War in 1967, the Old City of Jerusalem was closed off to Israelis, so Jews came to this tomb to pray and to gaze from the rooftop at the Wailing Wall, to which access was not permitted.

Above the tomb is a Byzantine church commemorating the site of the Last Supper, and above it is a mosque. A walk up the staircase will afford a panoramic view of the Old City and the neighborhoods just outside the Old City walls.

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