Containing absolutely no connection with King David, this fortress was built by Herod the Great on Hasmonaean foundations to try and secure Jerusalem’s northern wall, always the weakest point of its defences. Its three towers were named after his three favourite people: Miriam (his wife), Phasael (his brother) and Hippicus (his friend). Today only the base of the tower of Phasael survives from that time.
The fortress, due to its colossal size, was only partially destroyed by the Romans during the first Jewish Revolt (AD 66-70) and survived as a fortress through successive Islamic, Crusader and Turkish periods right up to the First World War. In fact, it was from those steps that British General Allenby declared the freedom of Jerusalem from Turkish rule.