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Mikveh of the Priests

The large mikveh, located in the Jerusalem Ophel, was probably used by priests for ritual bath during the Second Temple period. The design of mikveh is unusual in size i.e. 10x10 meters and is above ground.


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circa 710 BCE

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

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.

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