Ancient Israel: Monuments
Temples, buildings, and other structures from ancient Israel
Aqueduct of Caesarea Virtual Tour Panorama
The Aqueduct brought running water to the old city of Caesarea, along a raised aqueduct. The source of the water was the springs of Shummi, 10 KM away. Herod build the aqueduct in the 1st C BC. later, in the 2nd C AD it was expanded by the Romans. Later, 2 more aqueducts were built
Also known as "Caesarea as near Sebastos,"¯ Caesarea of Straton, Caesarea of Israel, Caesarea Palaestinae, Colonia Prima Flavia Augusta Caesariensis, Herodian Caesarea, Horvat Qesari, Kaisariyeh, Kessaria, "Metropolis of the province Syria Palaestina,"¯ Migdal Shorshon, Qaisariya, Qaisariyeh, Qaysariyah, Qesari, Qisri, Qisrin, Strato's Tower, Straton's Caesarea, Straton's Tower, Turris Stratonis
Also known as Baal-gad, Banias, Baniyas, Banyas, Barias, Belinas, Caesarea Neronias, Caesarea of Philip, Caesarea Paneas, Caesarea Panias, Caesareia Sebaste, Keisarion, Kisrin, Medinat Dan, Mivzar Dan, Neronias, Pamias, Paneas, Paneias, Paneion, Panias, Panium.
Crusader Wall, Caesarea
The most substantial city walls are of the small Crusader city, not the larger Herodian or the still larger Byzantine ones. Here, bits of Roman columns can be seen re-used as fill near the east gate of the Crusader wall.
Although it is one of the smallest of the Aegean islands (1.3 square miles), Delos has a long and storied history. Inhabited as early as the third millennium BCE, the island was celebrated in antiquity as the legendary birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. Not only did its cult attract throngs of pilgrims throughout the Classical and Hellenistic periods, but its centralized location and sizable port allowed it to dominate maritime commerce until nearly the turn of the era.
Great Theater at Ephesus
The ancient city of Ephesus is located outside the modern city of SelĆ§uk on the Mediterranean coast of present-day Turkey. Although the region was settled as early as 5000 BC, the city whose ruins we see today dates from the 3rd BC and are the product of Hellenistic city planning and Roman renovations. Lysimachus, the Thessalian general of Alexander the Great, relocated Ephesus to its present site and constructed the city using the then modern principles of urban development envisioned by Hippodamus of Miletus. Although Lysimachus is often credited with building the "Great Theatre" at this time, there is no evidence of a theatre in the initial construction phase of the city. Stefan Karwiese of the Ć–sterreichisches Archaologisches Insitut questions the existence of a theatre at Ephesus prior to 100 BC but acknowledges the possibility that Lysimachus may have chosen the building site prior to his death in 281 BC. The magnificent theatre is set into the side of a steep hill at the center of the ancient city. Its design, location and conception may have benefited from Hellenistic influences but its size and ornamentations are the products of Empirical Rome. The theatre was built at the end of the Hellenistic period, but it was significantly altered and enlarged by the Romans during the following five centuries. The theatre remained in use until the 5th century AD.
Grotto of Pan
Against the cliff and in the large cave on the left, in the third century BC, was a cult center to the fertility god Pan. This center probably was built to compete with the high place at Dan, about three miles away.
Herod's Palace in Masada
Herod built the fortress-palace of Masada on a huge rock plateau overlooking the Dead Sea in the barren, remote, Judea Wilderness.
The Jewish Temple in the First Century A.D. It is interesting that in the Middle East certain places have remained holy throughout the centuries, even if another religion may have taken possession of them. Today the Moslem Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem is the prominent building where the Jewish temple once stood. When Jesus came to Jerusalem, the Temple had just been marvelously rebuilt by Herod the Great. The Temple area had been enlarged to a size of about thirty-five acres. Around the Temple area were double colonnades.
Also known as el-Fureidis, Har Hordos, Herodeion, Herodion, Jebel Fureidis Herodium is 3 miles southeast of Bethlehem and 8 miles south of Jerusalem. Its summit is 2460 feet above sea level.Herod built or re-built eleven fortresses. This one he constructed on the location of his victory over Antigonus in 40 B.C.
Israelite Temple, Arad
View looking northwest at the reconstructed remains of the three"“part Israelite Temple! Just right of center the stone sacrificial altar is visible. It is of biblical dimensions "” 5 x 5 x 3 cubits and had a flint slab on the top surface where the sacrifices were actually offered. It is situated in a large area equivalent to the "courtyard" of the Tabernacle or Solomon's Temple.
Herod's palace stood at the top of Masada and provided a spectacular view.
Masada Palace - another photo
Herod's ornate palace stood on the top of Masada.
The ancient fortress of Masada is located near the western shore of the Dead Sea about ten miles south of the town of En-gedi. Situated on top of a cliff rising over 1,200 feet above the surrounding desert, the fortress was originally constructed during the reign of Alexander Jannaeus (103"“76 BCE) and later extensively expanded under Herod the Great (37"“4 BCE), who added two luxurious palaces, a Roman bathhouse, twelve huge cisterns, and a number of other structures.
Mudbrick Gate of Tel Dan
In the Middle Bronze Age, around the eighteenth century BCE, the occupants of Dan constructed a massive city gate on the eastern side of the city. Built entirely of mudbricks surviving today as high as 47 courses, the gate featured three enormous arches framing the entryway into the city. Classical archaeologists once boasted that it was the Romans who invented the arch sometime in the mid-first millennium BCE. We now know not only that the arch originated in the Near East, but that the so-called Canaanite gate at Tel Dan preserves the earliest intact archway in the world at almost 4000 years old!
Niches, Caesarea Philippi
These niches originally held statues of the pagan gods worshipped at Caesarea Philippi. The largest is actually an artificial cave that leads to a niche in the cliff itself. This niche apparently held a statue of Pan. Above it is another niche with an inscription indicating that a priest named Victor dedicated the statue of the goddess in the niche to the god Pan. The statue is gone. Other niches are seen in the cliff around the cave. This rock cliff, against which the temples stood, could be viewed as the ?rock of the gods.?
Roman Theater and Pilate Inscription - Caesarea
The theater was built by Herod in 22-10 BC and was the first of its kind in Israel. It was continuously maintained throughout the Roman and much of the Byzantine eras. It had (and has) a seating capacity of 3,500-4,000 and was built using many granite columns from Aswan. Originally, there was a large stage that blocked the view of the sea.
Solomon's Gate at Gezer
Solomon's Temple (also known as the First Temple) was, according to the Torah and the Bible, the first Jewish temple in Jerusalem. It functioned as a religious focal point for worship and the sacrifices known as the korbanot in ancient Judaism. The temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.
Solomonic Gate, Megiddo
View looking southeast at the six chambered gate that is located on the north edge of Megiddo. This gate is depicted on the model of Megiddo and is labeled "1a."¯ This view shows only the foundations of one side of the gate. Note, from left to right, the first chamber (#1) was cleared of debris, the second chamber (#2) is still filled with rubble and supports a later "“ four-chambered gate above it (#4 - still partially preserved), and then, on the right side of the image the third, and inner most of the chambers is visible (#3).
Storehouses of Masada
This photograph shows the remains of the 15 storehouses on the eastern side of Masada. The one on the left is as it was found by archaeologists; the others have been reconstructed. In the background above the storehouses, you can see the Dead Sea, which is partly dried up at this spot due to extensive mining of the minerals in the water. The mountains of Moab can be seen beyond.
View looking southwest at the synagogue that was excavated at Gamala... The entrance is on the west southwestern wall (above right of center). The exterior of the synagogue measures 84 x 56 ft. [25.5 x 17 m.]. Note the benches that surround the central hall and the replaced columns. On the right (north) side of the image is the northern wall of the synagogue while on the left (south) the site of Gamala falls away precipitously into the Nahal Daliyot (note the green in the upper left of the image"”the hillside on the far side of the Nahal). Some suggest that it was built as early as the rule of Alexander Jannaeus (103"“76 B...C.). If this is the case, then it is probably the earliest preserved synagogue in Israel.
Synagogues of Capernaum
Aside from various references to Capernaum in the Gospels, the earliest literary attestation of Capernaum is from Josephus, who refers to the village in connection with a fertile spring. The Jewish historian reports he spent a night there with a fever during the second year of the Jewish War. For centuries, Capernaum has traditionally been identified as a site located on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, about three miles west of the upper Jordan River. In 1838, Edward Robinson correctly identified there the remains of a synagogue that was partly excavated by Charles Wilson between 1865 and 1866. More extensive excavations took place in the early twentieth century, first by Heinrich Kohl and Carl Watzinger (1905) and then by Wendelin von Menden (1906"“1915). In 1921, the synagogue was partially restored by Gaudenzio Orfali. In more recent times, Virgilio Corbo and Stanislao Loffreda conducted nineteen seasons at Capernaum between 1968 and 1986, excavating not only the synagogue, but also a nearby church that had long been associated with the house of St. Peter.
Also known as Haram, Haram Ash-Sharif, Haram esh-Sharif, Mount Moriah, the Noble Sanctuary, Temple Platform. The present Temple Mount was constructed by Herod the Great beginning in 20 B.C. Construction on it continued for 83 years until 64 A.D. when a halt was called to the project and 18,000 workers were laid off (riots resulted). The Temple Mount is 1/6 the size of today's Old City and covers 35 acres. Construction of this rectangular platform required filling in a large part of the Central Valley.
The Citadel, Arad
View of the Iron Age Citadel looking east. The citadel is not very large, "” measuring 165 x 180 ft. [50 x 55 m.]. Above it and to the left, on the horizon, the modern city of Arad is faintly visible. Its remains consist of 12 strata "” seven of which belong to the Israelite period.
The Gamla Synagogue
The following is the ESV Study Bible reconstruction of the synagogue at Gamla (click the image to enlarge). The synagogue itself seems to have been built during the time of Herod the Great (1st century B.C.). The Romans destroyed it in A.D. 67, early in the Jewish revolt. Gamla was never rebuilt, which is enormously helpful for us in that we now have a very good idea of what the synagogue would have looked like in the first century A.D. The Gamla synagogue is considered by many scholars to be one of the oldest in Israel.
The Kotel - The Western Wall
Old City Jerusalem Virtual Tours -
The Western Wall also called the Wailing wall, is the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount, the one that was closest to the Holy of Holies when the Temple stood.
The Temple Podium, Caesarea Philippi
The reconstructed platform, or podium, near the cave at Caesarea Philippi was originally the base of a temple either to the Roman emperor Augustus or to Pan (or possibly both). The entrance to the Grotto (or cave) of Pan is seen to the left of the Podium. Niches in the cliff face originally held statues of Pan and other gods. The largest arched niche is next to the cave, from which a spring flowed.
Theater at Beth Shean
This spectacular theater was built during the Roman period in the Decapolis city of Beth Shean, known also by its Greek name, Scythopolis. It was more than 360 feet in diameter and seated over 7,000 people.
Tomb of Zechariah
This grand monument is built into the rock on the foothills of Mount of Olives. According to tradition it is the tomb of the Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. The tomb is built on the lower western foothills of Mount of Olives, facing the old city of Jerusalem, on the eastern side of Kidron valley. This entire area is a large cemetery with thousands of tombs. It is located south to the tomb of Absalom, and adjacent to the Bnei-Hezir tombs cluster.
Wall of Citadel, Arad
View looking west along the southern wall of the Iron Age Citadel. Note the small salients protruding from the wall "” possibly to strengthen it. This wall was in use during strata X"“VII (9th through 7th centuries B...C.).
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