On Friday, June 9, we explored Old Jerusalem on our own and roamed through the Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem.

From the name on the tourist’s map and on the brochure we picked up, our self-guided tour led us to some wrong conclusions. But more about that later on our second time to visit this very interesting site.

The museum looked like an ancient fortress. Obviously, reconstructed in many parts. Definitely not built according to ADA accessibility requirements!

Very interesting exhibits on the historical timeline and topographical displays of the appearance of Jerusalem, at different eras.

Actually, new understanding of the topography dawned on us during the taxi ride back to the hotel.

South slope of Mt. of Olives showing a hillside cemetery.

We could not take the shortest route of back-tracking in the direction we came from. If the walled city were a clock face, we had started near 11 o’clock. When we exited the Tower of David Museum at the 6 o’clock position, we were prevented by police barricades on this holy Friday of Ramadan from going right.

Tower on Mt Scopus visible from top of Gibeon about 9 miles northwest of Jerusalem.

Our taxi had to go left, and subsequent barricades continued to direct us farther away from our intended destination. We had to go to the 3 o’clock position. From there we continued on that ridge to the 12 o’clock point, shown on maps to be Mt. Scopus and visible in my picture from our trip to Israel in 2010!

Fighting traffic, both pedestrian and automobile, we went down to the Ritz Hotel of Jerusalem and our lodging with the ABR crew with grateful hearts.

–A very blessed day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nearly a week later, we made reservations on an English tour of the Tower of David Museum.

The first thing we learned: though King David’s name is attached to this site on tourist maps, King Herod built it originally.  “Tower of David ” (King David, ca. 1000 BC), King Herod (ca. 50 BC, Matt. 2:1), used as a Roman army garrison during the siege of Jerusalem (ca. 66 AD), destroyed by Romans (70 AD), rebuilt and used by Crusaders (ca. 1000 AD), destroyed and rebuilt by Ottomans (ca. 1500 AD), rebuilt today and contains elements of all its builders, rebuilders/occupiers.

This may be a microcosm illustration of the Old City of Jerusalem and every landmark within it, without exception.

Besides being a museum, the Tower of David (built by Herod) is often used as an entertainment venue: bar mitzvahs, weddings, etc. They had a highly advertised light show one evening during the dig week. Some of our diggers tried to go but decided it ended too late for early risers with a 4:59 bus to catch.

Another tidbit of information from the English tour guide: She pointed out the “hill of evil counsel” south of the Ben Hinnom Valley.

Without comment or change of facial expression, she said “At this time it is the site for the offices of the UN.”

(Later insights: The “hill of evil counsel” may be the place Solomon built the temples to foreign gods for his foreign wives.)

To add a present-day cultural shock, the week day we were there it was lunch time for a summer youth camp. Forty or more teens wearing bright pink t-shirts proudly proclaimed, “I am a Hacker.” A computer camp for youngsters.

Everywhere we turned, the juxtaposition of modern and ancient jarred our senses.