Beneath (and around) the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount): Some 19th century views

Here is a wonderful depiction of the Interior of the “Double Gate” of the Herodian Temple Mount. It is by the British artist William “Crimea” Simpson who, after gaining fame documenting that conflict, took up with the Palestine Exploration Fund on their work in the Holy Land starting  in the 1860s. The space illustrated here is today part of the Marwani Mosque beneath the Haram/Temple Mount platform, and the massive columns pictured have been surrounded and almost obscured by tall reinforcing structures. Visitors to the mosque arrive via the left-hand passage, which still – 2,000 years later – descends from the surface of the platform.

The other Simpson watercolors below show:

~ the use of archaeological shafts by the PEF, the only method of excavation allowed them by the Ottoman authorities;

~ the clearing of a vaulted drainage tunnel (penetrated by a huge tumbled ashlar!)  beneath the Herodian street (for the story of how the stone got there, see my subsequent post); and

~ the vast spaces of the so-called Great Sea, largest of the many cisterns hewn into the bedrock beneath the platform.

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4 Responses to Beneath (and around) the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount): Some 19th century views

  1. I’ve always loved these…thanks for posting them.

  2. Cynthia Thompson says:

    Tom, have you been below the mosque to actually see what is there today? It would be such a privilege to see this.

  3. sir Bulwer Lytton of the rosacrucian order says:

    It’s really amazing an underground city under jeruslam. I suppose hides an entrance to Agharti.

    • Tom Powers says:

      Um… Whatever you say. [Agartha (sometimes Agartta, Agharti, Agarta or Agarttha) is a legendary city that is said to reside in the earth’s core. It is related to the belief in a hollow earth and is a popular subject in esotericism. Source: Wikipedia]

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