(JNS) An ancient Jerusalem pool that was used by millions of Jewish pilgrims for ritual bathing before ascending the Temple Mount during the Second Temple period two thousand years ago and revered by Christians as the place where Jesus healed the blind, The Israel Antiquities Authority announced that it will be fully excavated and then opened to the public.
The Pool of Siloam is located south of the City of David, the center of the ancient city of Jerusalem, just outside the old city walls, and is expected to become one of the city’s most important historical and tourist attractions.
The pool has been the focus of attention of archaeologists and scholars for the past 150 years. Excavations are scheduled to begin in January and will continue for at least several months, while the site is expected to open to the public in about a year.
The City of David is a popular tourist attraction in the capital, adjacent to the Silwan neighborhood in east Jerusalem.
The Pool of Siloam was discovered in the late 19th century when British and American archaeologists led by Frederick Jones Bliss and Archibald Campbell Dickie uncovered some steps in the pool, followed by work by British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon in the 1960s.
Dr. Amit Re’em said the extent of the site was not improved until 2004, when a tractor accidentally exposed more of the site while the Kihon City Water Company was doing infrastructure work, leading to partial excavation at the time. Comprehensive excavation, Jerusalem area archaeologists of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The well-preserved, ashlar-covered pool is a monumental site, and the archaeological community agrees that it is indeed the Pool of Siloam, he said.
In addition, the recently discovered adjacent stone path known as the “Pilgrimage Way” was used by Jewish pilgrims to ascend the Temple Mount during the Second Temple period after purifying themselves in water and donning white robes, from The pond leads to the Temple Mount, Israeli archaeologists say.
“Without a doubt, this is one of the most important historical sites in Jerusalem, and as such, it should be fully exposed,” Rehm said.
It remains to be seen what lies beneath the cistern, and whether an earlier cistern stage dating back to the First Temple will also be found, the archaeologist said.
The Pool of Siloam was built during the reign of King Hezekiah (715–687/6 BC) as part of Jerusalem’s water supply system, as described in 2 Kings 20:20.
The Antiquities Authority said it served as the cistern for the Gihon Spring, which was diverted by underground waterways and was one of the most important areas of Jerusalem during the First Temple period. Because of its location and importance, the Pool of Siloam was renovated and enlarged some 2,000 years ago, towards the end of the Second Temple period.
Excavations at the planned 1.25-acre site of Wudnam are underway after a 14-year legal battle ended in June after Israel’s Supreme Court found no reason to challenge the validity of the 99-year lease purchased by the Ateret Cohanim organization Among them, the Greek Orthodox Church, the largest landowner in Jerusalem, can be renewed for another 99 years.
One of Ateret Cohanim’s goals is to buy land in historic areas for public viewing, said Doron Spielman, vice president of the City of David Foundation. Previously, the off-limits area had been deserted and littered with rubbish for decades, he said.
“It’s not every day that we find icons in Jerusalem,” Spielman said. “It’s not just a huge discovery, it’s a huge discovery.”
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion said in a statement: “The Pool of Siloam in the City of David National Park in Jerusalem is a site of historical, national and international significance. After years of anticipation, we will soon be able to discover this important site, And make it accessible to the millions of tourists who visit Jerusalem every year.”
A million tourists visited the City of David in 2019, before the coronavirus outbreak, and a record number is expected next year with the opening of the cable car, said Oria Dasberg, head of sport development at the City of David Foundation. 3 million passengers.
“Just as this swimming pool attracted pilgrims thousands of years ago – on the paths of our ancestors – it will attract millions of visitors now,” she said.
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