Tomb of David

By the Editors of the Madain Project

  • This article is a stub as it does not provide effective content depth for the core subject discussed herein. We're still working to expand it, if you'd like to help with it you can request expansion. This tag should be removed, once the article satisfies the content depth criteria.
    What is this?

  • This article is undergoing or requires copyediting. Once done, this tag should be removed.

The tomb of biblical King David is believed to be located on Mount Zion in a small building complex which is also believed to contain the Upper Room. King David's Tomb (Hebrew: קבר דוד המלך‎ Kever David Ha-Melekh) is the site considered by some to be the burial place of biblical king David of Israel/Palestine, according to a Christian, Jewish, and Muslim tradition beginning in the 9th or 12th century CE, some two millennia after the traditional time of David.


The actual site of David's burial is unknown, though the Jewish Bible and the Old Testament locate it southwards, in the City of David near Siloam. In the 4th century CE, he and his father Jesse were believed to be buried in Bethlehem. The idea that David was entombed on what was later called Mt Zion dates to the 9th century CE.

The tomb is located in the eastern part of the ground floor, dubbed as the Chamber of Washing of the Feet, and it is inserted in a room under a huge barrel vault. The tomb is located in a corner of a room situated on the ground floor remains of the former Hagia Zion, an ancient house of worship; the upper floor of the same building has traditionally been viewed by Christians as the "Cenacle" or "Upper Room", the site of the Last Supper.

Most of the current building was constructed during the Crusader times, that holds David’s cenotaph although three of the walls remain from an earlier synagogue-church that was used by Roman and Byzantine-era Jewish Christians.

No archaeological excavation has ever been attempted at or around the alleged site of Jesus’ Last Supper and the Tomb of David on Mount Zion to assess the development, relationship or even age of the built structures.

Brief History

circa 900 BCE

Although, three of the walls of the burial-chamber where the cenotaph stands are much older — apparently from a synagogue-church used by first-century CE Judaeo-Christians, which became known as the "Church of the Apostles".

It was actually the Christian Crusaders who built the present Tomb of David with its large stone cenotaph.

In the 14th century the Franciscans renovated the structure before being ousted in the 16th century by the Muslims who converted the building into a mosque.

circa 900 BCE

In 1429 CE Mamlk Sultan Barsbay took part of the lower floor of the complex away from the Franciscans and converted the tomb chamber into a mosque. Though it was returned a year later, possession alternated back and forth until 1524 CE when Ottoman Sultan Sulayman (Suleiman the Magnificent) expelled the Franciscans from the entire complex. The resulting Islamic shrine was entrusted to Sufi Sheikh Ahmad Dajani and his posterity.

Tomb Complex

circa 900 BCE

Burial Chamber and Cenotaph
Today the massive cenotaph stands in front of a niche blackened by pilgrims’ candles. Over it is draped a velvet cloth with embroidered stars of David and inscriptions from the Jewish Scriptures. On it are scrolls of the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible) in ornate cases.

circa 900 BCE

Ground Floor
The ground foor is divided in three parts, largest part immediately after entering is called the Hall of Washing of the Feet, after the tradition of Jesus washing the feets of his deciples.

circa 900 BCE

Upper Room (Cenaculum)
The other significant part of the tomb complex is the Last Supper Room, situated on the upper story. It is identified as the original meeting place of the early Christian community of Jerusalem. In the 4th and 5th centuries CE, Byzantine churches were built in the area. In 1335 CE, the Crusaders built the building of the Last Supper Room which has early Gothic architectural features. Columns adorn the large room, transported from the ruins of Roman Ceasarea on the Sea. During the Ottoman era the room was converted into a mosque dedicated to the prophet David who is revered by the Moslems as a prophet of God. In the middle of the room, there is a large niche (Mihrab) which marks the direction of prayer (Qiblah) for Moslems.

Depiction in the Holyland Model of Jerusalem

circa 900 BCE

The Holyland Model of Jerusalem hosts a model of David's Tomb (identify). It is depicted south of Agora, and immediately to the east of Caiaphas' palace.

Gallery Want to use our images?

See Also


Let's bring some history to your inbox

Signup for our monthly newsletter / online magazine.
No spam, we promise.

Privacy Policy