A special monitoring system run by the University of Padova in Italy has been installed in the Tower of David heritage site as part of an international project that attempts to use technology to determine the structural weaknesses in an ancient edifice .
The Tower of David is the tallest structure in the Old City of Jerusalem and a famous symbol to residents and tourist, with at least 2,000 years’ worth of history dating back to the First Temple period.
However, six major cracks in the tower raise questions if the structure would be able to survive an earthquake. Israel is located in a region extremely prone to earthquakes, and a major quake could be devastating.
“A major earthquake poses a serious threat and needs to be treated as such,” Dr. Avi Shapira, chairman of Israel’s National Earthquake Preparedness Committee, told Tazpit News Agency.
“We want to preserve the structures of our past and historical monuments of the Holy Land that are significant to the world.,” he added.
Israel experienced five moderate earthquakes in October, which prompted experts to install a seismic monitoring system at the Tower of David in November 2013.
In a special conference at the Tower of David this week, Italian experts brought their knowledge during unique sessions addressing earthquake monitoring.
“Italy is a world leader in the earthquake monitoring field and conducting research in methodology for effective dealing with earthquakes,” explains Professor Claudio Modena, a Professor of Structural Engineering at the University of Padova. “Israel is new to this area, and we believe that sharing our knowledge will help maintain historical structures in the event of a major earthquake.”
Modena, who lives in Verona, Italy, has also investigated historical and archaeological sites in Akko, Tzfat, and Beit Shean.