Room 33 – The Double Gate, the main exit of the Bais HaMikdash

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Exhibit 33a- Southern Wall in Temple Times. The main exit from the Bais HaMikdash was the Double Gate.

Exhibit 33b- Crusader Tower. The Crusaders built a guard tower against the Southern Wall. This tower blocks 1 1/2 of the Double Gates from view. The half that can be seen is in the corner where the Crusader tower meets the Southern Wall.

Exhibit 33c- Sealed Gate. The wall on the left side of the photo is the wall of the Crusader Tower. The wall on the right side of the photo is the Southern Wall of Har HaBayis. The half of the Double Gate that was not blocked by the Crusader Tower has been sealed with small stones by the Moslems.

Exhibit 33d- Decorative Arch. The decorative arch above the sealed Double Gate was installed by the Byzantines in the 4th Century.

Exhibit 33e- The Design. Although some archaeologists think that this design work dates back to the Second Bais HaMikdash, the ornamentation is typical of the Byzantine designs.

Exhibit 33f- Temple Double Gate. This is how the Double Gate looked in the time of the Second Bais HaMikdash. Please note the arches over the doorways. They are called relieving arching and were made to relieve the pressure of the upper stones on the lintel stone. Without those relieving arches, the lintel stones would crack and fall in.

Exhibit 33g- Byzantine Double Gate. The Byzantines added the decorative stonework to the Double Gate.

Exhibit 33h- Relieving Arch Stones. As mentioned before, the Crusader Tower blocks one and a half gates. The relieving arch stones of the remaining half can still be seen.

Exhibit 33i- Hadrian. About 60 years after the “churban,” around 130 CE, the Roman Emperor, Hadrian, converted the remaining ruins of the Bais HaMikdash into a pagan temple. A dedication stone was set into his temple. The pagan temple was destroyed in the 4th century by the Christian Byzantines. The dedication stone was thrown over the wall.

Exhibit 33j- Dedication Stone. The plaque was found centuries later by an Arab worker and was set into the Southern Wall to replace a broken stone. It was placed in the wall upside down where it remains today.

Exhibit 33k- Dedication Stone. It is very difficult to see the writing on the stone today, but if you have good eyes, and if the sun is shinning just right, you can make out the upside down Roman letters.