SACRED FOR CENTURIES. For more than a millennium, sacred structures stood atop Mt. Gerizim. Around 450 B.C.E. (during the Persian period), the people on Gerizim first built a temple on the site. This was remodeled and expanded c. 200 B.C.E. (during the Hellenistic period). In 110 B.C.E., the Hasmonean ruler John Hyrcanus I destroyed the temple. Several centuries later, in the fifth century C.E. (during the Byzantine period), Roman emperor Zenon built a church on Mt. Gerizim’s summit; this complex was expanded in the sixth century. The archaeological remains of the Byzantine church appear in the center of the photograph—with the remnants of the temple surrounding it.