Now that Menucha is home and almost over her jet-lag, our summer has begun in earnest. On Wednesday, I took her to buy her school supplies. Glad to have that over with! Yesterday we went on a tour of what is known as the "City of David", or in Hebrew, "Ir David". The City of David is the area believed to have been the home of King David, over three thousand years ago, and the site of the original settlement of Jerusalem. It is not far from the site of the Temple Mount.
Menucha's friend, Chani, came along with us. Never take a teenager anywhere without a friend.
The entrance to the site is marked by a beautiful sculpture of a harp, the symbol of the City of David.
Part of the wall of the Old City is visible from the City of David. This was the wall which surrounded the Temple. The lowest stones (click on picture to see them more clearly) are the most ancient and the largest. The smaller stones higher up are from more recent times.
We followed our tour guide to see all the amazing archaeological excavations. Much has been found from over 3,000 years ago, including parts of houses, a fortress, and an ancient toilet (sorry, I couldn't bring myself to take a picture of that one). But the highlight of the 3-hour tour was the descent into the ancient water tunnel of King Hezekiah. In anticipation of a siege by the Babylonians, a tunnel was chiseled through the rock to bring water from the Gihon spring to the people inside the wall of Jerusalem. The water is still running through it today. It is icy cold and crystal clear. We walked through the narrow tunnel in the freezing water for 45 minutes. After a couple of minutes, my feet adjusted to the temperature of the water, which was shin-height most of the time, but up to my knees in some places. The tunnel is like a very narrow cavern, with water dripping from the ceiling in some spots. In some places we had to bend our heads to pass through. People with claustrophobia were warned not to go through this part of the tour. I had a hard time taking pictures inside the tunnel, as it was pitch black inside. The only light was from our flashlights. Without a flashlight, it would be difficult to walk through the tunnel, so we were all equipped in advance.
Here's our group...going down into the tunnel.
After we came out of the water, we sat and dried off a bit in a large man-made room.
At the exit from the tunnel, the water continues into this lovely pool.
The water from the tunnel used to end up in a beautiful pool called the Shiloach, a part of which is visible today. But archaeologists can't uncover the whole thing, as part of it is in privately owned property. Hopefully one day they will have access to it, and we will be able to see it all.
When we got home, my son and his three little boys came over to visit for a while. The baby played with toys on the floor, Ariel the oldest ran after the cats, and Itamar, the middle child, headed straight for the Little Tikes car, same as always.