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The Zedekiah’s Cave was once used as an ancient quarry. It is a large space with an area of about 9000 square meters. It is 225m long, about 100 m wide, and 15 m high.

In ancient times stone was carved here known by its Arabic name “Mizi Malka”, a fine building stone that was used to build the magnificent buildings of Jerusalem. As far as is known, the quarrying began at the site during the First Temple period.

Legend has it that during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, escaped through this cave to Jericho, and since then it has been named after him, and the spring that springs from its depths is called the “Spring of Zedekiah’s Tears”.

As far as is known, the quarrying at the place began in the days of the First Temple.

Joseph ben Matthieu called it the “Cave of the Kings”, and from it the stones for the building of Jerusalem and the Temple were cut during the Second Temple period.

It disappeared from sight with the construction of the city walls in the Ottoman period, and was revealed again, by chance, at the beginning of the 20th century.

The last quarrying from the cave took place at the beginning of the 20th century AD, when stones were hewn from it to build the clock tower that once stood above the Jaffa Gate, and was destroyed during the British Mandate period, and later stones to build the communion room in the YMCA tower.

Members of the secret “Masons” order adopted the ancient quarry as a meeting and gathering place, and founded the first Lodge of Freemasons in the Holy Land.

The tour of the cave envelops the visitor in a mesmerizing silence where you can almost still hear the reverberation of the chisels of the carvers and the trickling of the spring of Zedekiah’s tears.

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