Tomb of David

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Tomb of David

According to the Hebrew Bible, King David, the great Israelite king of the 10th century BC, was buried in "the City of David"—the Bible's dynastic name for his capital, Jerusalem. Archaeologists have identified and excavated that site, on a low ridge to the east; but medieval Jewish pilgrims erroneously placed the ancient city on this hill, where they sought—and supposedly found—the royal tomb. Its authenticity may be questionable, but a millennium of tears and prayers has sanctified the place.

The tomb is capped by a cenotaph, a massive stone marker draped with a velvet cloth embroidered with symbols and Hebrew texts traditionally associated with David. Ultra-Orthodox religious authorities have divided the shrine, already cramped, into two tiny prayer areas to separate men and women. Modest dress is required, especially for women; men must cover their heads. There's no photography on the Sabbath and Jewish religious holidays, and the unusual opening hours may be subject to change.

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