The wall was first built in this area by Hezekiah, king of Judah, at the end of the 8th century BCE. A wall, which is flanked by two towers was built by the Hasmoneans. At the highest point of the southwestern hill of Jerusalem, it protected Jerusalem from enemies coming from the west and north (Jewish Virtual Library). Herod later occupied the site and added three towers named Phasael, Hippicus and Miriam after, his brother, best friend, and wife, respectively. Jerusalem has gone through many periods under different civilizations: Canaanite, Israelite, Persian, Hasmonean, Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Crusader, Mameluke, Ottoman and British (Gerrie, 2008).
Approximate Year of Completion
First built by Hezekiah in 8 B.C.E (Gerrie,, 2008)
Duration of construction
The Hasmoneans built the wall 2,300 years ago adding a wall and two towers to guard Jerusalem's vulnerable northern and western approaches. Next, Herod added "three magnificent towers, name after his brother, his best friend and his wife - Phaesal, HIppicus and Miriam. Herod's palace was sacked around 2,000 years ago... Traces of plaster, roof tiles, and water piping bearing the impritmatur or the Tenth Legion attest to the Roman occupation around 70 AD." "...spanning the second and third centuries AD, the Byzantines reinforced the Citadel walls with stones salvaged from the damage caused by previous assaults and Herod's Phaesael Tower... The Arabs who followed the Byzantine built their own fortress on the Citadel site. The ruins of its rounded tower can be seen in the southern part of the courtyard. The Crusaders, who arrived in Jerusalem in 1099, destroyed the existing fortress and, over the next eighty-eight years, replaced it with the palace, its extensions and the moat that we see today." (Gerrie, 2008)
“Remains of the Jerusalem wall and of three large towers are preserved to an impressive height of over 7 m. in the citadel courtyard. Several construction phases belonging to different periods can be observed, distinguishable by differences in the
masonry and in the method of laying the stones” (jewishvirtuallibrary). Fig. 1 shows one of the towers that remain standing.
Fig. 1: Citadel and Tower of David
"The width of the tower (east-west) is 18.5 m and its length (north-south) is 24 m. The inner space of the tower was filled with layers of large roughly dressed stones of various shapes. In view of the stratigraphy, features of construction and the pottery
analysis, we tend to date its origin to the Hasmonean period (140 to 116 B.C.), contemporary with tower DEF and wall C-D. (Geva, 1983)
Other significant comments
2 Chronicles 32 links Beth Shemesh and Jerusalem through Hezekiah and Sennecherib: “After these things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself. 2And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem 3He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him 4So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water 5Also he strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance. 6And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying 7Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him.” The wall was damaged in587/6 BCE by the Babylonians (jewishvirtuallibrary).