King David Tomb, Jerusalem
King David is the most known of Jewish Kings of the Old Testament and from his lineage Saint Joseph and Jesus came from. His tomb is located at a nondescript part at the ground floor of the Ruins of the Byzantine Haga Maria Sion Abbey (now known as the Dormition Abbey), the tomb is a few steps away from the Cenaculum (last supper) and along the main walkway to the Church. The tomb is also the former prayer area for Jews when the Western (wailing wall) was still under the control of Jordan until the 1967 war.
admission is free
opens: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm everyday
Sitting atop each other in the same building is the holy Jewish site of King David' tomb and the location of The Last Supper.
As with anything related to such history, nothing is absolutely certain. It is believed that the tomb is unlikely to be the real thing and no-one knows for certain exactly where (or if) the last supper before Christ's betrayal took place. And if either/both is/are true, things have much changed since in the 2-3,000 years that have since past.
The Coenaculum in particular has changed enormously, coming as it did both under Muslim and Crusader (and back to Arab) rule - arabic script is to be found on the walls and stained glass windows, the direction of Mecca is very apparent. But thousands of Christian pilgrims and curious tourists pass through the room - get there early (free entry) to avoid the crowds.
David's tomb attracts the devout more than the curious as the whole is surprisingly low key, with the tomb itself covered.
The site, located on Mount Zion, is the traditional site of the tomb of King (Prophet) David, and is considered one of the holiest places for Jews, Christians and Muslims - one of the few sites in the world shared by the 3 religions.
The tomb is located just below the "Upper Room" site of the Last Supper. Like that location, it is unlikely that this is the actual burial site for the King. The Bible tells us "So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David". (1 Kings 2: 9) Since this is a lone tomb, it does not match that description. Also, the building is a 12th Century Crusader building. It is unknown if there is even a corpse inside, but still the pilgrims come to kneel before the tomb of the King.
There is a separate entrance for the men and women - something which violates my modern, Western sensibilities. I had to kind of "get over it", since it was a common thing throughout the mostly Othodox Israel.
So, we asked the young guard if he could please let us past each locked door. He swore to us that he didn’t have the keys to those doors…someone else did (some other security guard) -but he knew what we were after…he knew we wanted to see the “real” room of the Last Supper! He knew all about it and why some believe it to have taken place NOT in the popular main hall (which is what I show in my photo), but rather, in one of the smaller rooms….and he agreed that the idea seemed plausible.
But then he also offered his own opinion that the rooms in question - any of them - might all be too small to have housed upwards of 15 people, though he hadn’t actually seen them himself…..SO…it remained a tantalizing mystery to me, to this day!
So please, when YOU go, try to get the guard on duty to open the doors. I think it’s the one that you see to your left or, “twelve o’clock” if you are looking away from the brass olive tree that Pope John Paul2 had erected there on his 2000 visit….which reminds me of the funniest part of this story: as I was unable to hide my disappointment about not being able to “investigate” said rooms, the young security guard ended our conversation by telling me “I’m sorry I can’t help you. But you know what? Seems to me that if this main room is good enough for the Pope, then it should be good enough for you!”
Theory: that the actual room where Jesus ate the Last Supper w/ his disciples is a small room off of the larger, main one. Reasons and rationale for this new theory are given but I don’t recall now what they are. But my curiosity was piqued.
Therefore, on this last trip, I was on a quest to investigate further, as we went into the main room. There are 3 metal doors leading out of the room (in addition to the one through which you enter). I must have spent at least 15 minutes trying and re-trying the doors, but they were locked. I stood in the middle of the room and visualized which door might lead to the “real room”. I insisted on trying to open each door to see what was behind it. No luck, all locked.
So we walked over to the youngish kid who was “guarding” the main entrance…he was sitting behind a desk looking bored, gun by his side (on the desk)…we could see he was engrossed in drawing something with a pencil on paper. When we got nearer, I laughed to see it was images of a gun, over and over and over again…he was basically just doodling…but the subject of his “artwork” was so incongruous with the place itself, it just made me laugh!
To continue with this story, please see next tip.
I'm sorry - it's not a particularly long story, but VT won't let me fit it all into this one space!
When the Crusaders restaurated the old church, held to be the place where Jesus showed himself to the desciples after he rose from the dead, they stumbled upon an old cave. In the cave they found a golden crown and a scepter. They immediately conidered it to be the grave of King David.
The site is situated on Mount Zion, just outside of Zion Gate.