Richard Nowitz

Massive ashlars quarried near Jerusalem were set in place with a precision that astounds even modern engineers. Masons chiseled margins 3.5 to 7 inches wide and less than an inch deep around each block to guide the workers who would set the blocks in place. So tight and exact was the fit that no adhesive was used between the stones; today tufts of persistent greenery sprout from cavities worn by time into the once-smooth facade.

Here at the western wall of the Temple Mount, a guide points out features of the ancient Temple complex in a reconstruction drawing.