Biblical Archaeology Review 36:2, March/April 2010

Strata: New Model of Ancient Temple Installed in Jerusalem

Just a few hundred yards from where the Temple once stood, visitors to Jerusalem can once again marvel at the beauty and grandeur of the ancient holy sanctuary—albeit on a much smaller scale.

The world’s largest model of the Second Temple (more specifically Herod’s Temple) was recently set up on the roof of the Aish HaTorah Yeshiva in Jerusalem’s Old City, which affords a spectacular view of the Temple Mount, where the Jewish Temple stood until its destruction by the Romans in 70 C.E.

The model took builder Michael Osanis about a year to create at a 1:60 scale of the ancient Temple. Mimicking the rich construction materials of the original, the model is made of gold, silver, wood and Jerusalem limestone. A crane lowered the 2,400-pound finished product into place. Although the actual Temple faced east from the Temple Mount, toward the Mount of Olives, Osanis decided (to the objection of some) that the model should instead face west, offering visitors better access and a better view of its components.

The model depicts the Herodian Temple, which was built beginning in 20 B.C.E. and stood for less than a century until it was destroyed by Titus’s troops in 70 C.E. during the First Jewish Revolt. The model includes the gates and courts of the Temple, as well as the sanctuary building itself, which is raised using a hydraulic system to reveal the Holy of Holies, the innermost shrine (debir) of the Temple.

Join the BAS Library!

Already a library member? Log in here.

Institution user? Log in with your IP address.