Garo Nalbandian

Warren’s Gate. Blocked since medieval times and now identified with signs, this former opening lies next to the northern end of the Master Course and is thought to be one of four late-Second Temple period gateways to the Temple from the west. Charles Wilson, who named it in honor of his countryman and fellow Jerusalem explorer Charles Warren, explored a large medieval cistern on the Temple Mount side of this gateway. Much of the gateway and the wall further to the north are later masonry repairs made following the earthquake of 1033 C.E., but the jamb on the right dates to Herod’s time. Excavators suggest that the threshhold of Warren’s Gate lay at a still lower level, at the bottom of the Master Course—putting it at the same level as the thresholds of the Double and Triple Gates along the Temple Mount’s southern wall.

In 1993 excavators uncovered large paving slabs in front of Warren’s Gate that may date to the first century C.E. or may be connected with a synagogue from the late first millennium C.E. The synagogue was known as “the Cave” because it was located under the Temple Mount, in the area that would later be turned into the cistern that Wilson explored. This underground location for a place of worship seems strange, but it lay directly west of the Dome of the Rock, where the Temple had been located. The synagogue was repaired after the 1033 C.E. earthquake and remained in use until the Crusader capture of Jerusalem in 1099. After that, Jewish prayer became focussed on the exposed portion of the western wall, reached today via the open-air plaza.