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The Israelite Tower


The remnants of ancient fortifications were found in the basement of a building on the outer perimeter of the Jewish Quarter. The impressive system enclosed in the small basement bears impressive testimony to the strength and might of Jerusalem during the First Temple period. The remnants are essentially the remains of two periods: The foundations of Jerusalem’s ramparts from the end of the First Temple period and an adjacent tower from the Hasmonean period.
The first tower is apparently the corner of a tower gate, preserved from the end of the First Temple period. This period is also known as the Israelite Period, hence the name of the tower. The tower reaches an impressive height of 8 meters and the walls are 4 meters wide. The tower is built of large, sturdy rocks, and the cornerstones are carved and planed. The remnants are exceptionally preserved and well built, and they remain an impressive, unique architectural monument. הודות למידת השתמרותו וטיב הבניה המגדל הוא מונימנט ארכיטקטוני מרשים ביותר ויחיד מסוגו.
It may be that this tower protected the city during the war waged by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, in 586 BC. During the excavations, remains of ash and soot, testimony to the fire that raged here, perhaps the remnants of one of the Babylonian siege machines that came too close to the ramparts and was destroyed by a flaming torch thrown by one of the defenders . . or perhaps vestiges of the destruction caused by the Babylonians, as is described in the Book of Kings: “And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man's house burnt he with fire. And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about.” (2 Kings 25: 9-10).
Four arrowheads were found in the layer of ash. Of these, three are flat-headed and made of iron of the type used in the Judean army. The fourth is a faceted, bronze arrowhead, typical of the type used by foreign armies. All bear additional testimony to the battle that raged here. Despite its size, the tower was not up to the task for which it was created, and was able to delay the Babylonians for a mere six months.
Another tower was built adjacent to the Israelite Tower. This tower was built during the Hasmonean period, in the second century BC. The width of this tower is 9 meters and it is built of hewn stone typical of buildings from the Hasmonean period. It seems that the Hasmoneans employed existing fortifications when fortifying Jerusalem. A common floor informs us that the Hasmoneans adapted the fortifications to their needs.
The Site List
The Western Wall
The ‘Hurva’ Synagogue
The Herodian Quarter Museum
The ‘Burnt House’ - Katros’ House
The City of David
The Israelite Tower
 
“Ariel” – The Center of the History of the First Temple
The Broad Wall
The Cardo
The Temple Institute
 
Museum of the Old Yishuv Courtyard
The Ophal
The Monument – Communal grave of the defenders of the Jewish Quarter
The Ramban Synagogue
Tifereth Yisrael Synagogue
 
The Four Sephardic Synagogues
The Keraite Synagogue
The Garden of Resurrection
The Memorial to the Defenders of the Jewish Quarter
Batei Mahse
The Nea Church