Archaeologists have unveiled a grand building near Jerusalem’s western wall

A structure that was built between 20 and 30 AD, just a few decades before the cities temple mount was destroyed by the Romans was unveiled recently.

Officials with the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Western Wall Heritage Foundation announced that portions of the building will soon be accessible to the public as part of the Western Wall Tunnels itinerary.

Archeologists believe the structure was built to welcome dignitaries and elites to the Temple Mount. The building was first documented by Charles Warren in the nineteenth century with other portions of the structure later being uncovered by archaeologist throughout the 20th century.

It wasn’t until recently that archaeologists were able to uncover the entire building and its grandiose footprint, which revealed two tremendous halls separated by an elaborate flowing fountain.

The massive walls were adorned by sculpted cornice and flat supporting pillars crowned with Corinthian capitals which were characteristic designs of the second temple period. “These chambers are part of a new walk through the Western Wall Tunnels,” Mordechai Soli Eliav, chairman of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, said in a press release.

As the site opens up “Visitors will view fascinating finds and walk for the first time along the entire route among Second Temple-period remains that illustrate the complexity of Jewish life in Jerusalem between the Hasmonean and the Roman periods,” Eliav said.

The excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority said, “This is without a doubt one of the most magnificent public building from the Second Temple period that has ever been uncovered outside the Temple Mount walls in Jerusalem,”

The extent of the foundation itself suggests several guest rooms, dining rooms, were attached to the large halls. This magnificent were built on slab foundations archeologists have discovered. With this new discovery visitors without a doube will gain a greater appreciation for the scope and magnificence of buildings that populated Jerusalem’s old city during the second temple period.

Shachar Puni, architect for the Israel Antiquities Authority conservation department said, “It creates a new visitors’ route that passes through the building and leads to the spacious compound at the foot of Wilson’s Arch, one of the bridges leading to the Temple Mount,”

“By making the route accessible and opening it to the public, visitors are introduced to one of the most fascinating and impressive sites in the Old City of Jerusalem,” Puni said.



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