Underground sights in Middle East
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The highlight of a visit to the City of David complex is Hezekiah's Tunnel, a 500m-long underground passage of waist-deep water that ends at the Pool of Siloam, where it is said that a blind man was healed after Jesus told him to wash in it. The purpose of the tunnel was to channel water flowing from the Gihon Spring, a temperamental source of water that acts like a siphon, pouring out a large quantity of water for some 30 minutes before drying up for several hours.
Gihon, appropriately, means 'gushing' and the spring is the main reason why the Jebusites settled in the valley rather than taking to the adjacent high ground. There is believed to be enough water to support a…
The long, sloping Warren's Shaft was named after Sir Charles Warren, the British engineer who re-discovered it in 1867. The tunnel, which runs underneath the City of David to the Spring of Gihon, allowed the Jebusites to obtain water without exposing themselves to danger in times of siege. It's just inside their city's defence wall and is possibly the tunnel that David's soldiers used to enter and capture the city, as mentioned in II Samuel 5.
Modern archaeologists, however, tend to doubt this theory, suggesting the invaders used a different tunnel. From Warren's Shaft, you can then proceed down to Hezekiah's Tunnel at the bottom of the hill.
For a different perspective on the Western Wall, join a tour of the Western Wall Tunnels, a 488m passage that follows the northern extension of the wall. Dug out by archaeologists, the tunnel burrows down to the original street level (nicknamed Market St by tour guides because it was believed to have been a shopping area). The foundation stones here are enormous – one is a 570-ton monster the size of a small bus. You can only visit the tunnels on a guided tour, which takes about 75 minutes and must be booked in advance. Try to book at least a week ahead of time – these tours are very popular and fill up fast!