According to the Bible, King David, the great Israelite king of the 10th century BC, was buried in "the City of David," one of the contemporary names for his capital, Jerusalem. Medieval Jewish pilgrims erroneously placed the ancient city on this hill, where they sought—and supposedly found—the royal tomb. Its authenticity may be questionable, but a millennium of tears and prayers has sanctified the place.
A cenotaph, a massive stone marker draped with velvet
cloth and embroidered with symbols and Hebrew texts traditionally associated with David, caps the tomb itself. Behind it is a stone alcove, which some scholars think may be the sole remnant of a synagogue from the 5th century AD, the oldest of its kind in Jerusalem. Religious authorities have divided the shrine, already cramped, into two tiny prayer areas to separate men and women. Modest dress is required; men must cover their heads.