Biblical Archaeology Review 7:4, July/August 1981
Jerusalem Explores and Preserves Its Past

Keeping Jerusalem’s Past Alive

By Rivka Gonen

Jerusalem is not only one of the oldest cities in the world, it is one of the few cities which has been continuously inhabited for more than 40 centuries. From before 1850 B.C., when the first wall surrounded and defended Jerusalem, people have been living there, building homes and markets, temples and palaces, defense walls and water cisterns. Over the millennia, the city has been destroyed many times. The ancient structures were razed and covered by an accumulation of debris. Buildings which escaped destruction were incorporated into new constructions.

To walk the streets of Jerusalem is to walk through history. You encounter a well-built corner of a first century B.C. Herodian tower which stands not far from a complete Crusader church of the 12th century A.D. A street paved by fourth century A.D. Romans leads you to the Temple Mount and the dazzling beauty of the Moslem shrines built in the seventh century A.D. You can gaze into an excavation uncovering the city walls built by the Canaanites in the 19th century B.C. You can ascend wet and shivering from a water tunnel cut under the City of David by King Hezekiah when the Assyrians besieged Jerusalem in 701 B.C.

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