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Temple Mount excavations, south of al-Aqsa Mosque - November 10, 2003

Panoramic view of the Mosque area (Haram esh-Sharif, Temple Mount), from the south. Click to enlarge.

Jews come to pray at the Wailing Wall (Kotel ha-ma'aravi - Western Wall). Ancient stones in the lower part of the wall are deemed parts of the external precinct of the Herodian Temple (see also here and here for a different idea).

The Herodian precinct is built with beautifully dressed, gigantic stones. The starting point of Robinson Arch is seen in the middle part of the wall. The arch got its name from E. Robinson, the American explorer who discovered it in 1838.

Stones taken from the ruins of the Temple, but also from the Nea Church, were recycled in the Arab building made by the Umayyad Caliphs in the 8th cent. A.D.

Byzantine Christian houses were discovered by an archaeologist, deeply buried beneath the foundations of three Arab palatial buildings.

General view of the excavations to the south of al-Aqsa Mosque ("the far-away Mosque"). In the background stands the Mount of Olives.

The main south gate (Hulda Gate or Double Gate) is located at the top of this largely restored stairway. Its original, double opening was almost completely blocked up by the addition of a tower in the Medieval Period.
The internal, subterranean galleries of the Double Gate were exploited by the early Moslems for their first place of prayer in Jerusalem (Aqsa Qadima, or "Ancient Aqsa"). The decorated arch in the foreground is an Arab addition to the original Herodian gate.

Little is left from the original Triple Gate. The three arches were completely re-built in the Arab Period.

Remains of the city of Jerusalem from the Israelite Period (9th-6th cent. B.C.) found in the area of the excavations nearer to the City of David.

Four-chambered gate of a large, public building of the Israelite Period (9th-6th cent. B.C.).

Cisterns and bathhouses of the Herodian Period (1st cent. B.C - 1st cent. A.D.) built to accommodate the pilgrims' need to purify themselves before entering the Holy Place.

Panoramic view of Ophel and the Cedron valley (to the left) while the Pinnacle is seen to the right. Click to enlarge and scroll to the right.

External Links

 SBF main, Index

Biblical Escursions


1. City Walls (North)

2. City Walls (South)

3. City of David

4. Ophel

5. Jewish Quarter

6. Mount Zion

7. Armenian Quarter

8. Holy Sepulchre

9. Via Dolorosa

10. Probatica

11. North Jerusalem

12. Gethsemane

13. Mount of Olives

14. Ascension, Bethphage, Bethany

15. West Jerusalem

16. Ain Karem

17. Bethlehem

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Created/updated: Sunday, December 16, 2001 by J. Abela ofm / E. Alliata ofm
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