Jerusalem's Siloam Pool to be fully excavated and opened to public

Joshua Marks

English Digital Content Journalist at i24NEWS | @JoshMarks78

4 min read
Northern perimeter of the Pool of Siloam.
Koby Harati, City of David ArchivesNorthern perimeter of the Pool of Siloam.

'It's a great achievement. We, the archaeologists, have been waiting for it for a long time and are very excited.'

The Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem will be fully excavated and opened to the public for the first time, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced on Tuesday.

In the first stage, visitors will be able to observe the excavations at the ancient site mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. In the coming months, tourists will gain access to the entirety of Siloam as part of a route that will begin at the southernmost entrance to the City of David and end at the Western Wall. The route traces the footsteps of millions of pilgrims who would stop at the pool to purify themselves as they ascended through the City of David to the Holy Temple 2,000 years ago. 

Shalom Kveller, City of David Archives
Shalom Kveller, City of David ArchivesRendering of the Pool of Siloam, Second Temple period.

"It's a great achievement. We, the archaeologists, have been waiting for it for a long time and are very excited," Dr. Amit Re'em, Jerusalem regional archaeologist at the IAA, told i24NEWS.

Calling the Pool of Siloam "one of the pearls of archaeology and the history of Jerusalem," Re'em noted that the site is of significant importance to Christianity as the place where Jesus healed the blind man as recorded in the Gospel of John. Siloam is also mentioned earlier in the Hebrew Bible (Book of Kings II, 20:20) in a passage that describes how the King of Judah, Hezekiah, "made the Pool, and the conduit, and brought water into the city."

The pool was first constructed some 2,700 years ago during Hezekiah's reign as part of Jerusalem's water system, serving as a reservoir for the Gihon Spring.

Ze'ev Radovan, City of David Archives
Ze'ev Radovan, City of David ArchivesReplica of the Siloam Inscription, the original of which was discovered in the City of David, near the Pool of Siloam.

Jerusalem's mayor welcomed the announcement of the full excavation and opening to the public, which was also made by the Israel National Parks Authority and the City of David Foundation.

"After many years of anticipation, we will soon merit being able to uncover this important site and make it accessible to the millions of visitors visiting Jerusalem each year," Moshe Lion said.

Re'em echoed the mayor's praise for the site's potential after Tuesday's announcement: "I think it’s going to be a marvelous site and a major attraction in the tourism of Jerusalem. Only the future will tell."

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