This wide Herodian stairway leaf from the Ophel, south of the Temple Mount, up to the Temple Gates. Two gates known as the Hulda Gates, provided entrances to and exits from the Temple Mount. One, a triple entryway is to the right, outside the edge of the picture; the other, the now-sealed Double Gate is interrupted by a 16th-century Turkish wall on the left, perpendicular to the southern wall; the outline of part of this gate is in the shadow where the two walls intersect. The monumental stairway, two hundred and fifteen feet wide, was constructed of wide, smooth, closely fitting limestone paving blocks. Set alternately in wide and narrow rows, the thirty-step stairway ascends twenty-two feet to the upper street which passed immediately in front of and along the length of the southern wall.
In this picture we can see all stages of exposure and restoration of these steps. Where the workman stands on the right are well-preserved original steps. At center left a person stands on some of the new limestone blocks replacing steps which have worn away, such as those in the center of the picture.
In the Temple Mount wall the smooth faced, tightly fitting Herodian ashlars with narrow margins can be easily distinguished from the much less refined and less monumental later construction stacked above.