Where to go Guide
Silwan is in a valley below the southern walls of the Old City and its character is unique in that the old homes are built on steep cliffs. This village was built on the first City of Jerusalem – the old Canaanite city that David conquered.
It has a perennial spring called Ein Silwan, originating far beneath the Kidron Valley and it wells up at Birket Al-Hamra. When David conquered the city, he was able to do so in part by cutting the water supply, accessing it from the spring’s tunnels which exist to this day, and forcing the Canaanites to surrender. Important discoveries of the tunnels were made by British archeologist Kathleen Kenyon who conducted extensive excavations in this part of Jerusalem from 1961 to 1967.
Highlights of a tour should include a walk through the tunnels and a meander through the Kidron Valley, stopping at the first century B.C. Tomb of Absalom (or Tantour Firaoun) and the Tomb of Zachariah, associated with Saint James. Roman and Byzantine excavations abound. Looking back at the Walls of the Old City from Silwan offers unusual perspectives of the Al-Haram Al-Sharif.
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