Mikveh of the Priests (Ophel)

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The large mikveh, dubbed as the Mikveh of the Priests due to its impressive size and location is ancient Jewish ritual bath located in the Jerusalem Ophel. It was most probably used by priests for ritual bath during the Second Temple period, the archaeological context suggests that it may have been built as early as the 710 BCE. The design of mikveh is unusual in size i.e. 10x10 meters and is above ground.


In contrast to the other mikvat in the Ophel area, the Large Mikvah is fully built and plastered structure of ca. 9.8×8.2 m and 2.5 m deep dimensions. The mikvah has two circumferential flights of stairs, and was constructed at the center of the Ophel area on top of massive Iron Age architectural remains.


circa 710 BCE

Upper Structure
Two uppermost steps, added on the top northwest side of the mikveh, were paved, while all the other steps of both flights of stairs, together with the mikveh, were plastered. The only surviving construction around the mikveh’s immediate surroundings is the 50 cm wide wall bounding the entire length of the paved floor to its northwest for a length of 7.8 m, perhaps continuing to the southwest. This wall is built of medium-sized, nicely smoothed ashlar stones, and is extant for up to three courses, rising to a maximum height of 1.6 m.

circa 710 BCE

The drainage basin, 2.8×1.2 m and 80 cm deep, at the center of the mikveh, has a drainage channel on its northeastern corner. This basin is surrounded by a wide-tread step and a circumferential flight of ascending stairs with three steps on the northeastern and the northwestern sides and four lower steps on the other two sides. A wide tread connects between the lower flight of stairs surrounding the basin and the upper flight of stairs leading to the mikveh’s surroundings.

See Also


Let's bring some history to your inbox

Starting in November 2023 we will be publishing a monthly newsletter / online magazine.
No spam, we promise.

Privacy Policy