Solomon’s Temple, Jerusalem

Watch an artist’s 3D rendition of Solomon’s Temple

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A model of the temple Solomon built on the flat summit of Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem. The walls were the whitest stone and gleamed like snow. The roofs were all covered with gold. Each stone was fashioned outside the walls, and then put in place by the masons, so that the temple rose without “the sound of hammer or any metal instrument” to mar the sanctity of the place. Each court was held more sacred than the one outside it. The Holy of Holies (inside the tall arched entrance of the innermost building) was the most sacred of all. The Rock of Abraham rested just in front of the tall arch. For 3000 years people have said that Solomon dug caves beneath the Rock, and that in these caves the Ark of the Covenant and all the royal treasures were hidden when the Babylonians destroyed the Temple in 600 B.C.  Legends also tell that secret tunnels lead from the caverns underneath the outer walls of the temple-grounds and down into the valley outside Jerusalem. Here they connect, so people believe, with the rock shaft which Joab climbed to capture Jerusalem for King David, Solomon’s father. It is these rock passages that we explore on our visit to the Holy City. (public domain, Berthold Werner)


A photograph of the actual temple grounds as they look today (at a different angle). From the time of Solomon’s Temple, another temple rose in 570 BC, after the Jews returned from captivity in Babylon. This was enlarged, shortly before the birth of Christ, by King Herod. Herod’s temple, in its turn, was leveled to the ground—in 70 AD, by the Romans. Six centuries later the Mohammedans captured Jerusalem and built the mosque (seen here) called the Dome of the Rock. This picture shows how the temple grounds have looked since that time—for a period of 1200 years. (CC BY 2.0 ©2017 Larry Koester)