A full day spent at the Tower of David and its museum chronicling the 3000 year history of Jerusalem.

A medieval Muslim minaret that became the symbol of a Jewish King who lived 2000 years before it even was built, and which now symbolizes the city of Jerusalem like hardly any other landmark except perhaps the Dome of the Rock.  How is that for some mix-up?  That’s the Tower of David for you as the citadel of Old Jerusalem is known.  It wasn’t David’s tower but Herod’s fortified castle and the medieval minaret was a much later addition.  But who is checking?  For hundreds of years this landmark has been known as the Tower of David and it is unlikely that this will change.

The buildings of the citadel have been renovated to house a wonderful museum of about ten different rooms to represent the major developments in the 3000 year history of the town of Jerusalem.  Beautiful panoramas, well-drawn maps, spectacular models and overall state of the art displays are the strong points of this museum.  I thought I would spend a couple of hours there, but I had to be dragged out by the guard, who shut off all the lights as we left — the last person out, I had been listening to my guided tour and I did not hear the closing announcement…  And I was not done yet!  Oh well.

For me to summarize a museum experience in this blog would make for very boring reading.  So instead, I will finally get around to writing my last Iraq entry and leave it at this:

Jerusalem’s history is a series of remarkable ups and downs of vibrant life, immigration, pilgrimage, trade, commerce and religious competition on one hand, and war, power shifts, and outright neglect on the other.  And it isn’t over.  If Jerusalem will remain in Israel’s hands in the future is questionable if a two State solution will be pursued.   Despite all of these shifts, the Old City has never ceased to be a magnet for all kinds of people, like hardly any other town in the world.  Let’s hope that this will always be the case and that the tolerance between the religious groups which finally has been achieved here will be the basis for its future no matter who “owns” it.

Good night.

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