Over the years I have heard about the excavations under the Kishle (Turkish “temporary encampment;” now an Israeli police station) that revealed the foundations of King Herod’s Palace. This site is located just inside and south of Jaffa Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. I have always wanted to see these excavations but have not been able to gain access until today.
What I found out is that there are guided tours (in English) that are open to the public on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10:00 AM for 45 NIS (ca. $11.50). So, I purchased my ticket at the entrance to the citadel. I was expecting a 20 minute tour of the excavations, but instead the tour lasted 90 minutes! Our guide, Talia, took us to the top of the citadel and gave us an overview of the Old and New City). We then walked down through the citadel examining the Hasmonean (2nd to 1st centuries B.C.) and Herodian (Herod ruled 37–4 B.C.) walls (maybe even Hezekiah walls) along the way.
Via an underground passage way we entered the dry moat and made our way to the south (Talia commenting all along the way). Along the path toward the excavated area we were shown a magnificent stepped pool that was part of King Herod’s Palace.
And . . . .
And . . .
We spent about 20 minutes under the Kishle examining modern, Medieval, Herodian, Hasmonian, and First Temple walls and an aqueduct and a tanners’ tub—but these will be for a future post.
All in all, it was a very worthwhile 90 minutes! And to top it off, we ended up inside the citadel so we were free to wander and photograph to our hearts content—all for $11.50!