The archaeological excavation project at the City of David National Park, which is currently revealing the pilgrimage route, has won first place at the international tunnel construction and underground spaces competition held by the International Tunneling and Underground Space Association annually. No less than 170 different projects from 54 countries applied to the competition this year.

The pilgrimage route was the main road of ancient Jerusalem at the time of the Second Temple, 2000 years ago, and it was the road the pilgrims took on their way to the Temple. The total length of the road, connecting the Siloam Pool in the south of the City of David to the bottom of the Temple Mount, is 600 meters long and 8 meters wide. So far, the southern part of the road, which is 400 meters long, has been exposed. The luxurious road was tiled with large stone panels – as was customary in monumental construction in the Roman Empire, and it is currently being excavated by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Since this is an underground excavation, engineering experts are involved in the excavation process, and extensive construction is used to ensure that exposing the road is done safely.

The International Tunneling and Underground Space Association announced that the City of David excavation project, under the engineering administration of the project’s engineer and member of the young division of the Israeli Association of Construction & Infrastructure Engineering, Gilad Friman, has won first place.

According to Friman, “this is the ‘Oscar’ of the tunneling world, and the fact that we won first place excites me very much both on a personal level and on a national level. In the end, when they say that I was a part of the project that had the privilege of revealing the City of David pilgrimage route – that is worth everything to me. The win this weekend is the international recognition of the work we do on site every day.”  According to him, “I think this project should be international, to bring hearts closer together and bring peace. What we are revealing here is everyone’s history and I think organizations from all over the world should be a part of it. This is not my personal victory but rather that of everyone who took part in this important project: firstly, the City of David, the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and of course the office I work for – Grouchko Structural Engineers.”

In listing the reasons for the award, the award committee referred to the fact that this is a unique project that makes use of creativity and groundbreaking methods in the field of engineering and archaeology.