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Jewish Quarter. Avigad excavations - November 17, 2003
Panoramic view of the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem seen from the south (beyond the walls). Click to enlarge.

The Ottoman Citadel of Jerusalem is built upon part of King Herod's palace. The king had it three towers named after the names of friends and relatives: Hippicus, Phasael, and Mariamne. The Hippicus Tower was the starting point of the main defensive walls of Jerusalem on the north side.

Following the overthrow of Jerusalem, the Roman Emperor Adrian (135 A.D.) rebuilt the city and gave it a new name: Aelia Capitolina. The ruins of the ancient city got buried beneath layers of dirt and subsequent structures.

A flourishing market-place stands today where once ran the rather complex, northern line of Jerusalem's city-walls.

Wall remains of considerable size going back to the Israelite Period (8th-6th cent. BC), and perhaps the same as the "broad wall" mentioned in the book of Nehemiah (Ne 12:38).

The yellow area in the plan represents the maximum extent reached by Old Testament Jerusalem, stretching over both the eastern and western hills. The red dot shows our position.

Colonnaded porticoes that ran on both sides of the main road (Cardo) in the Roman city. Byzantine Emperor Justinian (in the 6th cent. BC) made the road to extend right up to the new Church of Mary (the Nea Church).

In the Madaba Mosaic Map, the Holy City of Jerusalem is shown in its bloom during the Byzantine Period.

The Jewish Quarter is home to various synagogues. The Iohanan ben Zakkay synagogue belongs to the Sephardite community made up mostly of Jews coming from Arab countries; this synagogue was founded in the 17th cent.

Near Rotschild House stands a colossal pillar originally part of some unknown, majestic Herodian building.

Significant relics of ancient Jerusalem (1st cent. BC) are preserved in the basements of these existing houses (Wohl Archaeological Museum).

Some large stone vessels stand out among the excavation's finds; it reminds us of the "six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification" mentioned by John, the Evangelist in the episode of the Wedding of Cana (Jn 2:6).

The wealthy residence of a 1st century Jewish family which most likely belonged to the priestly aristocracy of Ancient Jerusalem. Reconstruction proposal based on the archaeological setting as revealed by Prof. Nahman Avigad's excavations.

Double opening of a ritual bath (miqveh) connected to the palatial building. On one side of the stairs, members of the same household would go down to bathe after which they would go up purified through the other side of the same stairs.

In the "Burnt House" the incense to be used in the Temple was manufactured. A weigh, made of white stone, was found there with the inscription, "Bar Qathros", which is the name of a well known priestly family.

Details of the colorful mosaic floor in the "Herodian House". Click to enlarge, then scroll to the right.

 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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