Tombs with a view. The Silwan necropolis, 50 rock-carved tombs running in two parallel curved lines, faces Jerusalem from the eastern ridge of the Kidron Valley. Best known among them are tomb 3, far left, popularly called the “Tomb of Pharaoh’s Daughter” and, tomb 35, left of center, the “Tomb of the Royal Steward.”

The Silwan burial caves typically contained one to three chambers, but tombs 33 and 38 probably had four chambers and tomb 49 contained even more. The caves have been in use, for varying purposes, for nearly three thousand years: first as burial chambers for important Jerusalemites, then as quarries during the Roman period, as huts for Byzantine monks, as Christian chapels and—even today—as living quarters for Silwan’s inhabitants.