The history of Jerusalem dates back over 3,000 years and one of the best ways to learn about the different periods and to ‘bring them alive’ is to visit the Jerusalem Archaeological Park – Davidson Center.
The Davidson Center is unique since it combines both an archaeological park and a museum. The Davidson Center contains artifacts from the First and Second Temple periods, the Byzantine Muslim period and the ancient Crusades period.
One of the most wonderful things about the Davidson Center is that visitors can walk though an actual street from the Second Temple period. This is not any old street, this was THE MAIN STREET of the city! Visitors can see the stalls where shopkeepers sold their goods and get a real sense of what life felt like.
Not only that, the Davidson Center screen a 3D movie which shows the journey of a Jewish pilgrim on his way to the Holy Temple during the Second Temple period. The movie helps visitors to ‘visualize’ what it was like to walk through the main street of Jerusalem and buy a sacrifice (before entering the Holy Temple the pilgrim bought a sacrifice to thank G-D for the all the good He has bestowed upon him. There were different types of offerings- animals, grains, wine etc. After buying the offering, the pilgrim then purified himself in the ritual bath called a Mekve.
The Davidson Center houses the original baths and visitors can walk through them. After the ritual bath, the pilgrim climbed special stairs that led to the Huldah Gates. The stairs are unique since their width is uneven. They were designed in this manner so that worshipers would climb them slowly and with care as they approached the Holy Temple. The stairs are also part of the Davidson Center and you can take your time, close your eyes, and imagine walking towards the Holy Temple yourself!