Adjacent to the Western Wall lies an impressive archaeological park. The park contains artifacts from different periods: the First and Second Temple periods, the Byzantine Muslim period, the ancient Crusades period, as well as others. The most exciting findings are: the walls of the city from the First Temple period, the steps leading up to the Temple, the original street from the time of the Second Temple period, shops, ritual baths and more. The Davidson Center is a museum within the archaeological park, with presentations and exhibitions related to findings from the site. You can watch a video about the pilgrims that will bring you back in time. In addition, a virtual model with local guidance will take you on a journey in time to the days of the Second Temple.
Excavations conducted after the unification of Jerusalem adjacent to the Western Wall and the southern wall (yes that’s right, there is a southern wall) yielded amazing and exciting findings. Adjacent to the Western Wall was a large and impressive street from the Second Temple period, which was actually the main street of Jerusalem at the time. Everyone strode there, pilgrims and tourists and the greatest Jews of the time – Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai and even Rabbi Akiva. You friends, if you come to the archeological park, can also walk on the same tiles! Use your imagination, and you can feel the atmosphere felt when hundreds of thousands of Jews 2000 years ago, walked in the street before their arrival pure and trembling before ascending Temple Mount.
In 70 CE the Romans destroyed. Giant stones that fell from the walls of the Temple Mount landed on the street. An enormous arch that was spread across the street and led to the southern part of the Temple Mount (with its remains visible on the Western Wall) also fell on the street and caused a huge hole. An impressive drainage channel was discovered beneath the street and inside it were amazing finds from the time of the destruction. This is where the fighters fled, hoping to escape from the Romans’ sword. Next to the southern wall, climb a staircase carved into the bedrock of Mount Moriah (an original part of the Second Temple period) that served the immigrants to the Temple Mount.
The Davidson Center has a museum showing artifacts found in the excavations. As well as an impressive three-dimensional model that allows you to tour Jerusalem and go up to the Temple together with the pilgrim. To walk with him on the street, to buy a sacrifice with him, to immerse with him in the mikveh, and from there to accompany him on the ascent to Temple Mount. Viewing the unique 3D model completes the pilgrimage experience.
Many of the structures that are seen in the area date back to the Byzantine period, when there was a large construction boom in the area. Among the ruins of one of the shops is a large gold medallion bearing the image of a menorah and other Jewish symbols. Interestingly, during the Byzantine period, Jews were not allowed to enter Jerusalem. From the Early Islamic period remains of the Umayyad palaces were found, impressive in size (the finds date to the Persian occupation at the beginning of the seventh century CE). The most important of them was a bridge that connected the upper floor of the palace to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The bridge served as a private passage of the Sultan to the mosque. A massive earthquake in 749 CE caused the collapse of buildings that were never rebuilt. Remains from these palaces are scattered throughout the site and can be seen at the entrance.