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Jerusalem Archaeological Park
The City of David
Site 33: The Pool of Siloam and the King's Garden

The Pool of Siloam is a remnant of the reservoir into which the Gihon Spring waters flowed through the Hezekiah Tunnel. Southeast of the pool is an area of gardens and orchards, known in the First Temple period as the 'King's Garden'.

The Pool of Siloam in its present state is smaller than the ancient pool. In the Second Temple and Roman periods it was a large pool surrounded by porticoes. In the 5th century CE, the Byzantine empress Eudocia built a church by the pool, marking the spot where, according to Christian tradition (John 9:1–7), Jesus cured a blind man. A hint of the splendor of Eudocia's church is provided by the column-drums lying in the shallow water. The remains of the church were excavated in the late nineteenth century; later, a Mosque was built on the site.

Visitors who did not walk through the Hezekiah tunnel can reach the Pool of Siloam from the south end of the City of David. The path, which leads west toward the Siloam Pool, runs along the foot of the rock scarp on which the city fortifications stood from the 18th till the 8th century BCE.
A short but steep ascent leads from the bed of the Kidron Valley to the King's Garden Observation Point. Here, the Kidron Valley widens out near its confluence with the Valley of Hinnom. Several reservoirs were built a short way upstream. Some of them are mentioned in the Bible: the Upper Pool (2 Kings 18:17), the Lower Pool and the Old Pool (Isaiah 22:9–11), the King's Pool, the Pool of Shiloah and the pool that was made (Nehemiah 2:14; 3:15–16). These reservoirs stored excess water flowing through the Siloam Channel and the Hezekiah Tunnel, as well as surface runoff from rainwater.

Due to this abundance of water, the area was one of the most fertile in Jerusalem. Today, as then, luxuriant orchards produce figs, pomegranates and other fruit, and between the trees field crops are cultivated. The kings of Judah may have owned estates in this fertile region, explaining the name of the place: "...the wall of the pool of Shelah [Shiloah] by the king's garden..." (Nehemiah 3:15).
From the observation point the route proceeds north through a lane between the present-day houses, leading to the Ophel Road. On the way, one can explore the ritual bath and the rock-cut spaces known as the 'Royal Tombs of the House of David' (Tour 2, Sites 34, 35).
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