Haram al-Sharif


Jerusalem was named as Urusalim on ancient Egyptian tablets, probably meaning "City of Shalem" after a Canaanite deity, during the Canaanite period (14th century BCE). During the Israelite period, significant construction activity in Jerusalem began in the 9th century BCE (Iron Age II), and in the 8th century the city developed into the religious and administrative center of the Kingdom of Judah.

Featured Article: Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount)

The Haram al-Sharif is a walled compound within the Old City of Jerusalem, the site of two magnificent structures: the Dome of the Rock to the north and the al-Aqsa Mosque to the south. King Solomon, according to the Bible, built the First Temple of the Jews on this mountaintop circa 1000 BCE, only to have it torn down 400 years later by troops commanded by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar.

Explore >

Featured Article: Hananiah of Yerushalayim Inscription

The 'Jerusalem Inscription' or the Hananiah son of Dodalos of Yerushalayim Inscription is the earliest three-line stone inscription of the full modern Hebrew spelling of 'Jerusalem' found on a pillar drum fragment from the Second Temple period.

It is believed that the column and inscription date back to 100 BCE, and belonged to or was built with money from Hananiah son of Dodalos—Dodalos being a nickname used at the time to refer to artists, based on the Greek myth of Daedalus. The stone appears to have been repurposed from a building even older than the Roman structure where it was discovered.

Explore >

Featured Article: Holyland Model of Jerusalem

The model was built between 1962-1966 by Prof. Michael Avi Yonah, in a 1:50 scale. It was moved from the former Holyland Hotel, its original location between 1966-2005, to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, in 2006. It is probably the largest model in the world depicting Jerusalem circa 66 CE and one of the most accurate reconstructions of the city at that period. The structures reconstructed in the model are mostly Herodian, but they include also Hasmonean structures as well as buildings added in post-Herod's times. Construction of the Second Temple started in the 6th century BCE and was dedicated circa 514 BCE. Circa 19 BCE, Herod the Great renovated the Temple, expanding it to the north, hence it became known as "Herod's Temple".

Explore >

Featured Article: Roman Structures in Jerusalem

Most archaeologists agree that the historical layout that forms the basis of the Old City as we know today, was created, not during Jewish, Christian or Muslim rule, but during the Roman period, when the city of Aelia Capitolina was built on the ruins of Jerusalem following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE.

After 70 CE siege, when much of the Jerusalem was conquered and subsequently destroyed by the future emperor Titus, the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century CE laid out and rebuilt Jerusalem as a pagan city. A number of structures from this Roman rebuilding of the city still remain and are part of the old city's architectural fabric.

Explore >

Featured Article: Seal (Bulla) of Jerusalem's Governor

The 2,700-year-old seal (mud-bulla) bearing the mark of the governor of the city of Jerusalem was discovered under the Western Wall plaza, at a site where a First Temple–period building stood. The monumental building is thought to have been home to a government official.

In the upper part of the impression on the tiny piece of clay, two figures wearing striped, knee-length garments stand facing each other. “Sari’ir,” which the archaeologists believe is ancient Hebrew for "sar ha'ir," or “governor of the city,” is written in script at the bottom of the seal.

List of Seals (Bullae) | Explore >

Jerusalem at the Time of Solomon

When the reign of King Solomon began, extended the small town or citadel that he inherited from his father, known as the "strongholdof Zion" or the "City of David". He built the new Temple to the north of the City of David, on top of Mount Moriah, where previously Abraham was called upon to sacrifice his son Isaac, and incorporated the Temple Mount in the extended city. On completion of the Temple, Solomon built a Royal Complex south of the Temple. It consisted of Solomon’s Palace, the House of the Forest of Lebanon and other buildings. A new city wall was built to protect this new expansion and that linked up with those of the City of David. This illustration makes it possible to add your own annotations.

Explore Media Library | Explore City of David

Herodian Era Jewish Temple

The reconstruction of the Jerusalem temple was begun by Herod the Great, king of Judea, in about 18-20 BCE. By the time of Jesus' minstry the temple complex had been under construction for forty six years (John 2:20). and wasn't completed until around 63 CE. Just seven years later in 70 CE, the temple and much of its courts would be destroyed during the first Jewish Revolt.

It was known as Har Habayit, the "Mountain of the House [of God]". It was said that whoever had not seen the Temple of Herod had never seen a beautiful building. No other temple complex in the Greco-Roman world compared with its expansiveness and magnificence.

Explore Media Library | Explore City of David