Western Wall Tunnels - Opening Model
Known as one of the greatest builders in history, King Herod left an impressive mark and everlasting monument with the building of the Temple Mount.The building of the Second Temple was a wonder in its time and its magnificence was known throughout the Roman Empire. In order to build the Second Temple and create a huge plaza which could accommodate thousands of worshipers, King Herod built four retaining walls around the peak of the Temple Mount which were then filled with sand and stone to create a leveled stage thus greatly enlarging the Temple Mount surface.
The Westen Retaining wall is what is known today as the "Western Wall" or “Wailing Wall”. However the exposed part of the Western Wall which can be seen today is only a partial segment of the original wall which began at a lower point and continues along the Temple Mount, as can be seen when touring the Western Wall Tunnels. To this day many scholars are baffled by Herod's construction and abilities which included mobilization of huge chiseled stones which even modern day machines could not carry. Herod’s Reign -Temple Reconstruction The construction on the Temple Mount began in the 19 BC during King Herod’s 18th year of reign. 10,000 skilled workers were brought for the construction. Due to the holiness of the Temple Mount, laymen were not allowed to work on some parts of the Second Temple so thousands of Levites (Jewish practitioners) were trained to carry out the work in these areas. Second Temple & Temple Mount construction - How It Was Accomplished The building of the Temple on the Temple Mount was made possible with the donations and offerings of wealthy Jews. Construction began with the 'Holy of Holies" - the holiest part of the Second Temple, where it is believed the ark of the covenant was stored.Following the construction of the 'Holy of Holies' is the altar area where the sacrifices were offered. The construction of the Israelite’s court followed along with the women's court.
The major stages of construction were completed before Herod’s death in 4 B.C but it lasted for six decades after his death. Second Temple - Stones Revealed The horizontal layers of the Second Temple were made of local limestone cut by expert stone-cutters. In fact, some of the remains of the original limestone can still be seen in several areas of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount. Some of the stones weigh over 160,000 pounds, while others weigh less and were destroyed when Romans invaded Jerusalem in 70 AD. The Second Temple and Temple Mount was magnificent with impressive ancient construction techniques used in the process. It served as a Jewish monument and a serves as reminder of King Herod's abilities and ego who ordered the renovation of the Second Temple when he noticed that the Second Temple was shorter by 90 feet compared to Solomon’s Temple (the First Temple) which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.