The Tombs of the Kings

The Tombs of the Kings

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based on 119 traveler reviews

The splendor and sheer size of the site known as the “Tombs of the Kings” was what led people to mistakenly believe that the site was the burial place of the Kings of Judea. The location, a few hundred meters north of the Old City, also seemed to point in this direction.

However, these days the site is believed to be the tomb of Queen Helena of Adiabene in Mesopotamia, who converted to Judaism around 30 CE and moved to Jerusalem with her children. Jewish sources laud her for her exemplary piousness and generous spirit.

The tombs lie behind a 28-meter facade, which according to 1st century CE historian Josephus, was once crowned by three pyramids. The tombs are arranged around a central chamber, which is accessible through the outer courtyard. The antechamber then descends into the eight burial chambers.

The tombs are now empty, but once contained several sarcophagi, which were excavated by French archaeologists and transferred to the Louvre in Paris. One of the sarcophagi has an Aramaic and Hebrew inscription identifying its contents as the remains of Queen Sara (Tzara Malchata). This is believed to be a reference to Helena, who changed her name to Sara when she converted to Judaism.

The magnificent site is located on Salah ah Din Street, near the St. George Monastery and the American Colony Hotel in eastern Jerusalem.

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based on 119 traveler reviews
  • Alex Drukpa.
    Alex Drukpa.
    March 10, 2023

    This Archaeological site is very big by area and there are lot of tombs. You can have a peaceful walk all around the tombs and you can spend a good 2 to 3 hours if you visit every tomb. Great site to explore the local his...

  • Amanda Lee
    Amanda Lee
    October 31, 2019

    Newly open to public during specific times! Tuesday’s and Thursday’s in the morning, they let a set number of people enter each day it seems. We arrived at about 11:45 and were the last two. Pretty cool! Although you cann...

  • Nachum Applbaum
    Nachum Applbaum
    January 28, 2020

    An amazing site - burial caves from the first century. This site was excavated back in the 19th century and today is controlled by the French. Till recently it was almost impossible to visit the site because it was locked...

  • יוחנן בן הרננדז
    יוחנן בן הרננדז
    September 16, 2016

    This is an archaeological site I happened to visit just across the street of the hotel I was staying at. Actually, the site is the property of France, and does not open to the public for regular visits. It is a complex...

  • Joanna Yang
    Joanna Yang
    February 27, 2023

    There is no contact. very strange! The door is always closed.

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