Garo Nalbandian

Built by Herod the Great, this monumental enclosure in Hebron encases the traditional burial site of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their wives Sarah, Rebekah and Leah. The only Herodian structure intact today, its design is identical to the enclosure Herod built about the platform of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Unfortunately the Jerusalem enclosure wall can no longer be seen in its original splendor. Both enclosures were built of beautifully dressed blocks of stone with narrow margins and flat central bosses. About half-way up the wall, pilasters protrude slightly from the face of the wall.

In the second century, when the Roman emperor Hadrian built an enclosure on the Jerusalem site that would someday be the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, he built it with exactly the same design, including the pilasters that began part way up the wall. He even reused stones from Herod’s Temple Mount, which the Romans had partially destroyed in 70 A.D. On the platform created by this enclosure, in imitation of the Jewish Temple Mount, Hadrian built a temple dedicated to the goddess Venus/Aphrodite.