The Tomb of Pharaoh’s Daughter is one of Jerusalem’s most neglected sites, despite being one of the most complete, distinctive and magnificent First Temple period tombs in the city.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the City of David, the ridge south of the Temple Mount where the original city of Jerusalem was located. The imposing Tomb of Pharaoh’s Daughter sits in the village of Silwan, overlooking the City of David on the opposite hill to the east. But no one goes there.
Perhaps that is because the Silwan villagers are now, as they have been historically, an unfriendly lot. Many 19th-century scholars refrained from exploring the Tomb of Pharaoh’s Daughter (or the cave tombs of Silwan) because of the attitude of the local inhabitants. Charles Warren, the famous 19th-century British surveyor of Jerusalem, described the people of Silwan as “a lawless set, credited with being the most unscrupulous ruffians in Palestine.” Another account from the same period tells us that the Silwan villagers are “a vicious, quarrelsome and adishonest set of people, and noted for such propensities for centuries past.”