Not far from the King David Hotel in Jerusalem lies the site where King Herod the Great chose to bury members of his family killed during the violent fits of paranoia that, alongside a penchant for grandiose construction projects, were his main claim to fame. Among those buried at the three-chamber site is the King’s notoriously breathtaking wife Mariamne, who was singled out for execution after Herod’s infamous sister, Salome, informed him that she had committed adultery.
Near the entrance, archaeologists have excavated a pyramid. Stairs lead down into the entrance passage, beyond which are the tomb’s three chambers. During World War II, the British Mandate used the crypt as an air-raid shelter, moving the original sarcophagi to the Monastery of Constantine in the Christian Quarter of the Old City. Herod’s own tomb lies at Herodion, a huge fort built by the King southeast of Jerusalem, on the outskirts of the Judean Desert.