The glass doors of the Davidson Center near the Western Wall in Jerusalem swish open silently to welcome you. When they close behind you, you enter another world. It is the world of this city’s glorious past, showcased through the prism of advanced visualization technology.
The center was built into the basement of an eighth-century building, scrupulously preserving and enhancing it. As you follow the winding ramp downward, artwork and archaeological finds take you back through the ages, and you’ll meet colorful figures of Jerusalem’s exploration in days gone by.
A ten-minute, high-definition digital video ingeniously interchanges the experience of Second Temple pilgrims with that of present-day visitors.
The realization that the historic and spiritual treasures depicted – the Temple Mount, the Western Wall and the Southern Wall – still stand only a few strides away adds to the power of the presentation. The center’s highlight is a three-dimensional virtual reconstruction of the Temple, based on ancient writings and excavations, and produced by a team from the Department of Urban Simulation at UCLA. Pictures generated every 41 millionths of a second give participants the eerie feeling that they are really walking up the staircase to the Temple and through its towering colonnades to stand before the grandeur of the Holy of Holies.
The center maintains regular visiting hours for groups and individuals, and is closed on Saturdays. The virtual reconstruction session is part of a guided tour pre-arranged through the Davidson Center.