King David, the great Israelite king of the 10th century BC, was buried in "the City of David"—the Bible's dynastic name for his capital, Jerusalem. Archaeologists have identified and excavated that site, on a low ridge to the east, but 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.
tomb is capped by a cenotaph, a massive stone marker draped with a velvet cloth embroidered with symbols and Hebrew texts traditionally associated with David. Behind it is a stone alcove, which some scholars think may be the remnant of a synagogue from about the 5th century AD, making it (if correct) the oldest extant in Jerusalem. Ultra-Orthodox religious authorities have divided the shrine, already cramped, into two tiny prayer areas to separate men and women. Modest dress is required, especially for women; men must cover their heads.
Off Ma'ale HaShalom, Jerusalem, 9114001, Israel