Pinsteps. Robinson's Arch in Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem
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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.

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Evgeny Praisman
Jewish Quarter and The Davidson Archaeological Park, Jerusalem

The Jewish Quarter and The Davidson Archaeological Park in Jerusalem offer a remarkable and profoundly engaging journey into the city's past and vibrant present.

As soon as you enter the Jewish Quarter, located in the southeastern sector of the walled city, you are immediately met with a fusion of ancient history and living culture. The area is teeming with synagogues, schools, and archaeological treasures that attract scholars, tourists, and religious pilgrims worldwide.

The narrow, winding, stone-paved streets are filled with shops selling religious artefacts, artwork, jewellery, and traditional Jewish foods. Historic sites like the Hurva Synagogue, an architectural marvel restored to its former grandeur, and the Four Sephardic Synagogues, each with its unique history and style, are crucial stops.

Just a short walk away, The Davidson Archaeological Park, also known as the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, reveals the city's history layer by layer. Overlooking the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, the park displays remnants from the First and Second Temple periods.

One of the standout features of the park is the Southern Wall excavation site. Here, you can see the steps pilgrims used to climb to reach the Temple Mount and the Hulda Gates, once the main entrance to the Temple compound.

Robinson's Arch, the ruins of an impressive ancient staircase that once led to the Temple Mount, is another must-see in the park. You can also explore the Umayyad palaces, evidence of the rich Islamic history of Jerusalem.

The Davidson Center, located within the park, houses a museum where you can learn more about the Temple Mount's history through interactive exhibits and 3D virtual reconstruction models. A film shown at regular intervals helps visitors understand the significance of the Temple Mount in both Jewish and Muslim traditions.

In addition to its historical and archaeological significance, the park also offers breathtaking views of the Old City and the Mount of Olives, making it a popular spot for contemplation and reflection.

This unique combination of rich history, spiritual significance, and vibrant, ongoing culture makes visiting the Jewish Quarter and The Davidson Archaeological Park a genuinely immersive and unforgettable experience.

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Evgeny Praisman (author)
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