Vincent and Mackay

This detailed drawing of the southeastern wall of the Machpelah enclosure dramatically depicts a flat wall at the bottom and pilasters protruding from the upper half of the wall. Steps gradually ascend beside the wall. On the seventh step, a man stands beside a hole in the wall. This hole leads to the underground caves below the inner pavement of the Machpelah. For more than six centuries, Jews and Christians could ascend these steps no higher than this hole or crack in the wall. Today, this part of the stairway has been removed. The drawing reveals the magnitude of the wall and the precise margins of each of its rectangular ashlar blocks. The minarets on the eastern corner, right, and on the western corner, left, frame the rear of the church, center, above the wall, that was converted from a mosque—probably by Crusaders in 1100 A.D.—and is today again being used as a mosque.