This mysterious cave located east of Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem goes back about 1,000 feet under the northern Old City wall, and about 2,000 years in history. Make that 2,600 years, if you include the legend that gave it its name.
It is said that Zedekiah, Jerusalem’s last biblical king, a Babylonian puppet deposed of during the final siege on the city, attempted to flee Jerusalem to Jericho through this cave.
He was captured and brought before the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, where his sons were murdered in front of him and his eyes were put out (2 Kings 25:1-6).
In keeping with this tragic story, at the back of the cave is a tiny spring, known as “Zedekiah’s tears.” That is were you discover the cave has no exit; archaeologists tell us that in fact it was a quarry from which Herod the Great hewed stone to build the Temple.
The cave’s dramatic lighting reveals signs of the quarrying. In 1868, the first meeting of Freemasons in Ottoman Palestine was held by candlelight in Zedekiah’s Cave. Its impressive dimensions have bestowed another traditional name, meaningful to Masons: “King Solomon’s Quarries.”
The cave is closed on Fridays and Saturdays.