‘Tower of David Museum is lovely.’
About The Museum The Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem is located in the medieval citadel known as the Tower of David, near the Jaffa Gate, the historic entrance to the Old City.
The Museum presents Jerusalem’s story. It details the major events in its history beginning with the first evidence of a city in Jerusalem in the second millennium BCE, until the city became the capital of the State of Israel, as well as its significance to three religions. The permanent exhibition illustrates the city’s history along the axis of time using myriad methods and includes explanations in Hebrew, Arabic and English.
The Citadel itself is a fascinating archaeological site. The finds uncovered within are a testimony to Jerusalem’s eventful past and produce a representation of Jerusalem and its various historical periods in microcosm. The Citadel’s towers offer a 360-degree view of the Old City of Jerusalem as well as the city’s modern areas.
In addition to being a museum of history, the Tower of David relates to both the past and the future. The museum stages temporary exhibitions which integrate the unique location and majesty of the ancient Citadel and its history with a contemporary presentation of artistic and historical issues. The museum also hosts lectures and special events in music, dance and drama as well as dozens of educational activities and programs.
The museum also stages a unique sound and light show – The Night Spectacular – the only one of its kind in the world.
The museum is located in an ancient citadel. A large part of the exhibition is accessible to persons with mobility disabilities and to wheelchairs. Parking for persons with disabilities can be arranged in advance. Call the museum office for details: +972-2-6265333.
After walking past it on many occasions, my family finally made it to see the Tower of David properly. The truth is, we ended up timing it well as our children aged 9-12 really got something out of the visit. At the same time my younger two, age 4 and 6 joined in the Summer activity about knights that ran this summer, and enjoyed that at their own level.
Firstly, if you park at Mamilla, it is a short walk across to the Tower of David. My older children did the IPad challenge – Swipe the Citadel and really enjoyed themselves. Essentially it is a really clever treasure/scavenger hunt around the tower of David. Each challenge was different including augmented reality, animation and film and it took them all around the citadel. They had to read about the history in the indoor exhibits, find monuments, take photos of views through the slits in the wall and they got really into it. I accompanied them but left them to do it themselves. The iPad game was very detailed and pretty long and at some point after nearly 2 hours, admittedly I persuaded them to take a break although we were probably right at the end. I was impressed with the content, how it held their attention and what we all learnt from it…did you know that the Tower of David is not really David’s tower at all…??!
The view from the very top of the citadel is really incredible (some pics in the collage here) and there is another iPad option called AugmentiGuide where you can use the iPad to look at the panoramic views and it will let you point on various monuments/sites and tell you what you are looking at. You need to ask about this at the main desk. It costs 20 NIS per tablet.
The younger kids enjoyed cute ‘knight’ themed activities including using a bow and arrow, making a money pouch and other challenges. We all had a go at the bow and arrow afterwards but I am not sure if it is always available (I will check!)
There is also a really fascinating photograph exhibit at the moment which you can also look at, included in your entrance ticket. It is an exhibition of old photos from Jerusalem and helps you to picture Jerusalem over the past century.
Overall, I recommend a visit to the Tower of David. I am sure a good guide can really bring it alive if there is a tour running when you want to go (included in the entrance price), but otherwise the iPad game was great for the older children and/or they provide free audio guides if there is no tour. All the exhibits we went to were in the cool air conditioning with lots of interesting details and facts about the history of Jerusalem so even though it was Summer, we didn’t find it too hot (we also went after 4pm). You could spend a good couple of hours here at least. It is a beautiful historic site and well worth the visit! For younger children, it is worth checking to see if they are running any special programs during the peak holiday seasons.