Warren's Shaft

Useful Information

Location: Jerusalem, Old City.
The site is part of the City of David, Ma'alot Ir David St, Jerusalem.
(31.773089, 35.236072)
Open: Summer Sun-Thu 8-19, Fri 8-16.
Winter Sun-Thu 8-17, Fri 8-14.
Last entry for water system 2 h before closing.
On Shabbat and Jewish holidays limited open hours and limited access.
Fee: City of David: Adults NIS 28, Children (5-18) NIS 14, Seniors NIS 14.
Groups (30+): Adults NIS 23, Children (5-18) NIS 12, Seniors NIS 12.
Additional fee for 3D movie: Adults NIS 15, Children (5-18) NIS 15, Seniors NIS 15.
City of David VR: Adults NIS 55, Children (8-18) NIS 40, Seniors NIS 40.
On Shabbat and Jewish holidays free admission.
Classification: SubterraneaWater Supply
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided and various guided tours
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Sir Charles William Wilson, Sir Charles Warren, Walter Morrison7, Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (1871): The recovery of Jerusalem : a narrative of exploration and discovery in the city and the Holy Land New York D. Appleton. archive.org
Ronny Reich, Eli Shukron (1999): Light at the End of the Tunnel: Warren's Shaft Theory of David's Conquests Shattered. Biblical Archaeology Review, vol. 25, no. 1 (January/February, 1999):22–33, 72. ISSN: 0098-9444. online
Ronny Reich, Eli Shukron (2000): The Excavations at the Gihon Spring and Warren's Shaft System in the City of David. Pp. 327–339 in Ancient Jerusalem Revealed: Reprinted and Expanded Edition, ed. by Hillel Geva. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 2000.
Hershel Shanks (1999): I Climbed Warren's Shaft (But Joab Never Did). Biblical Archaeology Review, vol. 25, no. 6 (November/December, 1999):30–35.
Avraham Faust (2003): Warren Shaft, Yes it was Used to Draw Water, Biblical Archaeology Review 29/5: 70-76, September/October 2003. academia.edu
Address: City of David, Box 33, Jerusalem 97400, Tel: +972-2-6268700, Fax: +972-2-6274365. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


12-DEC-1867 discovered by Charles Warren.
1980s excavations.
1998 construction of a visitor center, discovery of an additional passageway.


Warren's Shaft is a vertical shaft next to the Gihon Spring, the main source of water of Bronze and Iron Age Jerusalem. It was discovered in 1867 by the British engineer and archaeologist, Sir Charles Warren (1840–1927), and named after him. So the term actually means an almost vertical natural shaft leading down to a pool fed by the Gihon Spring. However, the tourist site Warren's Shaft, it is the Bronze Age water system allowing protected access from the city to the Gihon Spring.

As always in Jerusalem, the remains were never explored and interpreted, they were always compared to descriptions in the Bible instead. According to 2 Samuel 5:8 and 1 Chronicles 11:6 Joab entered the City of David through an aqueduct. Generations of archaeologists were convinced that Warren's Shaft s this location. The site is today about 100 m down from the entrance to the City of David excavation. But recently some archaeologists checked reality instead and are now convinced the shaft was never used in the water system. It was most likely discovered by chance much later, during the Iron Age. In 2005, archaeologists discovered a massively fortified passage connected to a tower above the Gihon Spring. This fortification provides secure surface access to the spring from inside the Middle Bronze Age city wall. It's obviously impossible to use a structure to sneak into town, if it is completely inside the city walls.

The site has actually four sections, the 13 m high vertical shaft, a feeding tunnel, a horizontal but curved tunnel, and a stepped tunnel. The site is connected to Hezekiah's Tunnel, probably it was working like a Qanat system, used to transport water underground. All the tunnels are a combination of natural caves with massive human intervention. Numerous small karst caves can be seen along the rock.City of David his probably made the construction work easier, the creators only followed a natural conduit and widened it. Or it made engeneering harder, as such caves tend to redirect water against the will of the engineers.

The site is located 100 m from the City of David excavation. There is a small museum which shows the results of the excavations, explains the function of the system, and allows access to the tunnels. The tunnels have trails and electric light, so they are easy to visit, but there are numerous steps. The shaft itself is natural, almost vertical, and can be seen from above and below. However, it is not used anymore to enter the tunnels.