Leen Ritmeyer

The Temple Mount: When King Herod (37–4 B.C.) rebuilt the Temple (1), he carried out the project on a grandiose scale. Not satisfied with the size of the Temple Mount that Solomon had built, Herod doubled its extent by lengthening the eastern wall, in the background, at each end and by building a new wall on the other three sides. To this he added the monumental Stoa (9) along the southern wall, right foreground, a series of gates—some with simple stairways, others adorned with magnificent stairways—and a bridge (3), at left, linking the Mount with the Upper City (8). The Antonia Fortress (22), at the far left, was built to guard the Temple Mount’s vulnerable northern side, the only side lacking a natural valley that could give protection to the Mount.

This glimpse at grandeur is the product of painstaking excavations, insightful interpretations, and the skilled hand of architect-artist Leen Ritmeyer, who translates the evidence into a vision of the past. Using photos, drawings and words, Ritmeyer and his wife Kathleen conduct the reader on a tour around the wall surrounding the Temple Mount. They employ archaeological and literary evidence and relevant other structures to reconstruct the ancient appearance and function of all the major features of the wall and its gateways during the Herodian period. The reconstruction seen here, with the western wall extending to the left and the southern wall extending to the right, can serve as a visual guide to the accompanying article. Features discussed in the text, and photos and plans that illustrate it, are keyed by numbers to their locations in this drawing.