Jerusalem’s Tower of David sees major renovations during Coronavirus Crisis
|“Never let a good crisis go to waste” goes the saying. In Jerusalem, archaeologists, history enthusiasts and conservationists are using the coronavirus crisis to learn more about their precious ancient citadel.|
Normally besieged by pilgrims and tourists alike, the bastion of the Tower of David would otherwise be impossible to thoroughly excavate and investigate. The citadel is one of Jerusalem’s most visited sites and attracted more than half a million visitors last year. However, now that these numbers have dropped to a mere trickle, restoration and excavation work has begun in earnest.
Funded by a sizeable $40 million budget allocated by the Tower of David Museum, and supported in turn by Israel’s Tourism Ministry, the Clore Israel Foundation and Jerusalem’s municipality, work to revitalize the site and preserve the treasure trove of history has been underway since July 2020.
The galleries have already been stripped of all their previous exhibits, and archaeological digs have begun in the fortress’s courtyard. The Tower of David’s chief curator and director, Eilat Lieber, affirms that hopes are high for gaining greater historical understanding of the bastion’s medieval past. This is because the Old City comprises the remains of successive fortifications build one on top of the other stretching as far back as two and half millennia.
Jerusalem is holy not only to Judaism, but also to Christianity and Islam. Historical records show that the city changed hands multiple times since the First Crusade back in 1099. The aim of the new excavations, slated to end in 2022, is to use modern technology to assess and process the historical remains. It is hoped that this undertaking will produce a clearer picture of past events, as well as clues as to the way of life of the various civilizations that once inhabited this iconic fortress.