Werner Braun

Wilson’s Arch: Discovered by the British engineer-excavator Charles Wilson in the mid-19th century, Wilson’s Arch (3) supported a bridge and aqueduct that spanned the Tyropoeon Valley to connect the Temple Mount with the Upper City. Today’s arch is apparently a later restoration rather than the original Herodian structure. Originally the arch rose some 74 feet above the bedrock of the Tyropoeon Valley, but partial filling of the valley has reduced the arch’s height to 25 feet above the present pavement. The arch is 45 feet wide. Today the reconstructed arch shelters an area where Jews pray and where Torah scrolls—often carried outdoors to be read in the plaza before the western wall—are stored. The first-century A.D. historian Josephus mentions the Hasmonean forerunner of this bridge in connection with the Roman siege of Jerusalem by Pompey in 63 B.C. The Hasmonean forces retreated into the Temple area and “cut the bridge.”