Herod’s Palace as a Cultural Center

Having returned from Canada, where we gave a series of lectures on places mentioned in the Gospels, we bring this news item to your attention.

A former prison, locally known as the Kishle, that was built over the ruins of Herod’s Palace in Jerusalem, will soon feature a concert as “one of many performances and exhibits that the Tower of David Museum plans to hold in the Ottoman compound, once it turns it into a hall that it seeks to open to the public by June”.

The new hall will host summertime cultural events that are part of the Jerusalem Season of Culture, sponsored by the Schusterman Foundation, with temporary platforms to be built over the ongoing archaeological excavations. In the future, the Tower of David Museum, which had 300,000 visitors in 2010, plans to use the Kishle compound to house temporary exhibits and shows while allowing visitors to take a look at the archaeological finds beneath their feet.

Herod's palace stood at the northwest corner of the First Wall, which was fortified by the Towers of Hippicus, Phasael and Mariamne. Only the remians of the Hippicus Tower have been found.

The Tower of David Museum, which is housed in the Citadel, is an excellent place to visit as one can trace the history of Jerusalem through well-designed exhibits. The remains of the massive Hippicus Tower can still be seen today near the Jaffa Gate.

This is a reconstruction drawing of the First Wall near Herod's Palace with the towers discovered inside the courtyard of the Citadel, which is shown in light color. In the foreground are the original Hasmonean Southern and Middle Towers which Herod strengthened. The Hippicus Tower stands at the north-west corner of the First Wall.

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