5 Amazing Traces of History on Israel's Temple Mount
The Romans may have destroyed the Jewish Temple in 70 AD, but not all of it. Take a look at a few interesting structures you can still see glimpses of today:
1. Robinson's Arch
Named after the mid-nineteenth century 'grandfather of Biblical Archaeology,' Edward Robinson, this once archway formed part of the monumental staircase which led from the main road to the Royal Stoa (the main public hall on top of the Mount). It is still partially visible today.
2. Stairs of Ascent to Double and Triple Gates
On the southern wall of the Temple Mount is a grand staircase that ushered Jewish pilgrims and priests into the Temple Mount. Thirty steps led from the major street at ground level and rose 210 feet to a Double Gate for pilgrims to enter and a Triple Gate for priests to reach the storerooms. These steps alternated in width, some much wider than others, and so acted as a landing for pilgrims to stand and gather and sing the Psalms of Ascent (120-134).
3. The Eastern Wall 'Seam'
King Herod didn't build the Jewish Temple, King Solomon did; however, Herod did greatly extend and enlarge it. There exists a straight edged 'seam' on the eastern wall (the wall that you can see from Mt. Olives) where it's possible to see where Solomon's work ended and Herod's began. Archaeologists know this because Herod used smooth ashlar stone, whereas the older wall is rough ashlar.
4. Roman Shops along the Main Street
"Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and benches of those selling doves." Matthew 21:12 NIV
These were shops that were located right under Robinson's arch. Shops also existed all along the southern wall and western wall.
5. 'Beware of God' Sign
This is one of the few relics we have from actually inside the Temple Mount enclosure. Much like we would have a metal sign outside say the White House telling us to come no further, this sign stood inside the enclosure at regular intervals to warn Gentiles (non-Jews) to come no further. They were written in both Greek, like this one, and Latin. It reads, "No foreigner shall enter within the forecourt and the balustrade around the sanctuary. Whoever is caught will have himself to blame for his subsequent death." In short, it's a 'Beware of God' sign.