Kishle 2

The Need:

The Jerusalem Foundation celebrates Jerusalem's rich history and helps create opportunities for residents of diverse backgrounds, particularly youth, to learn about the city's significance through the ages. Central to this endeavor, the Tower of David Museum contains archeological finds dating back over 2,800 years. Each year, the museum brings Jerusalem's history to life for more than 300,000 people from Israel and abroad, offering innovative exhibits tracing history from ancient through modern times, examining Jerusalem's centrality to diverse peoples and religions. The Foundation seeks to enable the museum to expand its educational and cultural horizons and reach out to a larger and more varied audience through a plethora of additional activities.

In 2000, archeologists began inspecting the on-site Kishle structure, erected in 1834 by the Egyptian Governor of Palestine and later used by the British to imprison members of the pre-state Jewish underground. They stumbled upon layers of remains chronicling Jerusalem's expansive history: evidence of Jewish life in the Crusader period as described by the medieval Jewish scholars Nahmanides and Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela; important and fascinating finds from the Second Temple period, when the site was the palace of Herod, King of Judea, built atop the foundations of an earlier Hasmonean palace; part of the First Temple period city walls; beneath the entire structure, a quarried tunnel that served as a drainage duct for Herod's Pool, and an escape route for the priests and their families when the city was destroyed by the Roman Legion. The many layers – from King Hezekiah's fortifications and the Hasmonean and Herodian palaces to a Crusader period Jewish factory and signs of defiant Jewish underground prisoners – symbolize the struggle for independent Jewish life in the Land of Israel.   

The Kishle has been set aside as the future home of a world-class archeological center and gallery with cutting-edge multimedia and display equipment, forming a high-quality, interactive 45-minute experience through light, sound and media. The visitor will follow a linear route exploring the mysteries of the Kishle excavations and the remains of the palace, the walls, the tunnels and the people behind them.

The Impact:
The 450 sq. m. (4,850 sq. ft.) space unearthed will serve as an important archeological site for visitors from around the world, a spectacular center split into two levels: A multimedia archeological center displaying archeological findings on one floor and a gallery on the upper level for changing exhibitions on Jerusalem-themed subjects and other cultural activities. New digital and technological accessories will highlight each historical period as the visitor becomes part of the vast story of Jerusalem. This is a priority heritage project for the State of Israel and is a designated landmark tourist attraction.

Website: http://www.tod.org.il/en/the-kishle-and-the-citadel-moat/

The National Heritage Site Fund of the Prime Minister's Office