Robinson's Arch is a historic site along the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. Named after the American biblical scholar Edward Robinson who discovered it in 1838, the Arch is part of a more extensive bridge system believed to have once stood along the Western Wall, serving as a primary entrance to the Temple Mount.
We can see stones projecting above the channel carved into the wall. These supported a massive arch of a staircase portal that led up to the Temple Mount. This was an entrance for believers into this part of the Temple Mount, where Jews and Gentiles - Greeks, Romans, and all visitors to Jerusalem - could ascend to the large marketplace. Near the wall beneath the now-nonexistent Arch, you can see the small walls of shops and stalls and a wide pavement paved with large stones in front of them. It's easy to see how the falling Arch damaged the rocks of the pavement, and you can also notice that the pavement didn't come up tightly against the supporting wall of the Temple Mount but was separated by a parapet, behind which were the shops. Interestingly, the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, the contemporary name for this location, is nothing more than a continuation of this enormous, massive supporting wall of the Temple Mount.
The Arch itself, a masterpiece of Roman architecture, is thought to have been one of several that supported a staircase ascending from the street below to the entrances of the Temple Mount. The Arch collapsed during the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD, leaving only its western abutment visible.
After its initial discovery, detailed excavations began in the late 1960s under the direction of archaeologist Benjamin Mazar, revealing different elements of this impressive structure. The excavations unveiled Arch's large size and complex design, suggesting its vital role during the Second Temple period.
Subsequent studies of the area around Robinson's Arch have shed light on various periods of Jerusalem's history and confirmed the Arch's importance in the city's architectural layout during the Second Temple era. The site continues to interest archaeologists and historians today, offering invaluable insight into the rich history of Jerusalem.