Ophel

Ophel or Ophlas meaning fortified hill or risen area, is the biblical name given to a certain part of a settlement or city that is elevated from its surroundings. In the Bible the Ophel refers to the elevation in two cities: the City of David in the Old City of Jerusalem, and at Samaria, the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Israel.

This area may also be the location of Acra, the fortified compound built by Seleucid emperor Antiochus Epiphanes following his sack of the city in 168 CE.

Date Landscape Notes Reference
c. Ophel, looking towards the Solomon's Stables and the Southern Wall. The stairs are to the left and the Jewish cemetary is to the right in the background.
c. Looking towards Jewish Cemetery on the western slopes of Mount of Olives.
c. Pool unearthed during the Mazar excavations in the Ophel, at the foot of Jerusalem's Temple Mount. Either Hellenistic or Hasmonean, it may be a remnant of the Seleucid Acra.
c. 710 BCE The large mikveh 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.
c. The Huldah Gates, are the two sets of now-blocked gates in the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount. The western set is a double arched, and the eastern is a triple arched gate. Other than two Huldah gates there's another crusader era gate, which is now blocked.
c. Interior of the southern tower (believed to the built by Fatimids) provided direct access to the Haram al-Sharif area from the residential and adminstrative area along the southern wall.
c. View looking north northeast at the reconstructed Royal Sturcture located north of the Gate House. The large replica storage jars are placed in positions where they were found. This structure and the vessels were destroyed when the Babylonians captured Jerusalem in 586 BCE.
c. Hellenistic structures
c. This ritual bath (miqveh) is located just south of the Double and Triple Gates. It is one of over forty ritual baths that Benjamin Mazar discovered in his excavations south of the Temple Mount. These baths were used by worshipers who purified themselves prior to entering the temple area — via the Double or the Triple Gates.
c. The Acra was the Seleucid stronghold built in 186 BCE against the south wall of Solomon’s Temple Mount on the Ophel. It was used as a military post against the Jewish people who lived to the south and west, and to monitor Temple Mount activities between the years of 186-141 BCE. At that time the Acra was torn down, and the Temple Mount was extended to the south to cover it up in 141 BCE.
Latest Update: June 22, 2018
Top