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Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus
and The Great Revolt and the Various Possible Routes of the Via Dolorosa

Green locations

1. Monument of Huldah
2. Palaces of Helena Queen of Adiabene
3. Robinson's Arch
4. Synagogue of Freedmen
5. Pool of Siloam
6. Rose Gardens
7. Perfume Factories
8. Industrial Quarter
9. Buttressed Wall
11. City Archives
12. Wilson's Arch
Blue locations

13. Phasael Tower
14. Hippicus Tower
15. Mariamme Tower
16. Jaffa Gate
17. Ginnoth Gate
18. Herods' Palace
19. Upper Market
20. Hanania's Palace
21. Hasmonean Palace
22. Xystus and Town Hall
23. Theatre
24. David's Tomb
25. Palace of Caiaphas
26. Dyers' Quarter
Brown locations

27. Traditional Calvary
28. Hyrcanus' Monument
29. Towers' pool
30. Damascus Gate
31. Wood Market
32. Psephinus Tower
33. Women's Gate
34. Jannaeus' Monument
35. Sheep Pool and Market
Yellow locations

36. The Temple
37. Basilica
38. Tadi Gate
39. The Antonia Fortress
40. Wailing Wall
41. Huldah Gates

This world-famous magnificent scale model of Jerusalem during the later period of the Second Temple - around the time of Herod the Great and the life of Jesus, covering an area of about 2,500 sq. yards, and contoured to reproduce the topography of Jerusalem, has been transferred to, and re-erected (2006) on, the campus of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.  It is based on as many authentic and scholarly works as are available and is revised from time to time as more evidence is unearthed. Much of it is based on the detailed descriptions of Jerusalem by the Jewish historian, Joseph ben Matittiyahu (Josephus Flavius), who lived from about 34/5 CE. until circa 103 CE, whose pen has proved to be accurate more often than not.
Nearly all the landmarks known to have existed and mentioned by him, have been located on the ground with reasonable certainty, although the real existence of some - like the hippodrome (now removed), and a theatre (23) - are open to dispute for religious/social reasons. In spite of some small pieces of evidence vaguely suggesting their existence, no concrete archæological finds have led to the actual locations of either, certainly not in the places ascribed to them.


The Temple, looking west

Today's northern wall of the city, starting from the north-east corner, begins just to the right of the Bethesda Pools (where the number 34 is), and runs westwards across the city straight through the Damascus Gate (30), and on to the corner north of the Jaffa Gate.
Some remnants, believed to be of the so-called "third" northern wall, built after the death of Herod the Great by Agrippas, have been found about 250-300 yards north of the Damascus Gate.

The ancient City of David, shown here in the bottom left of the plan, continued to be included within the walls until sometime during the Byzantine period. The early Ommayads (early Moslem), when they rebuilt the destroyed and damaged walls, decided not to include David's City and the southern jutting-out of the wall below the el-Aksa Mosque that we know today was created enclosing Mount Zion and then turning north towards the Jaffa Gate.
Later still, during the Crusader period, the walls were again repaired but remained essentially the same, and not much has changed since then. A major rebuilding took place after the Ottoman conquest and from about 1535 onwards the walls were rebuilt by Suleiman the Magnificent; these are the physical walls we know today in the most part although in some places there are remnants of parts of the wall going back even to the earliest periods.

For a brief overview of the shape of Jerusalem throughout the ages you can look here

Other sites of great interest are the Bethesda Pools (35), the Palace of Caiaphas (25), the Antonia Fortress (39), the possible site of the Hasmonean palace - today a well-excavated site and worth a visit (21), Herod's Palace and the Citadel near today's Jaffa Gate (13, 14, 15, 16) and, of course, the Temple itself (36).

The Via Dolorosa - The Way of the Cross

Although there are around three theories (or even more - especially if one includes the popular "Garden Tomb" site a hundred yards or so north of the present Damascus Gate), as to where the true route of the Via Dolorosa really passed, the red line on the plan shows generally what the consensus seems to be. This assumes that Jesus was held, tried and condemned in the Antonia Fortress and that the place of crucifixion was where the Empress Helena and most of the Christian world says it was - just outside a gate no longer in existence (the 7th Station of the Cross, in fact). Another traditional route suggests that Jesus was held captive in the cellars of the house of Caiaphas (25), until the time of the crucifixion and walked along the route outlined in blue. Yet a third places the starting point in Herod's citadel, close by the Jaffa Gate (13,14,15.); a much shorter route and marked in green.

A popular homily, supporting the "Antonia Fortress" theory bases itself on Matthew 27;19: "When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.".

The reasoning goes like this: Herod's magnificent palace was still very much the most luxurious residence in Jerusalem in those days and Pilate, whose official seat was Cæsarea, would undoubtedly stay there on his visits to Jerusalem. However, the natural place to actually imprison Jesus would be the Antonia Fortress, close by the Temple Mount, where the Roman Legions were stationed. This could be borne out by the wording in the verse quoted above: had Jesus, in fact, been imprisoned in the Citadel, Pilate's wife would have had little need "to send" - e.g. a servant - to tell Pilate; she could easily have walked through the Palace to the judgement room and spoken to Pilate personally. The suggestion that "she sent unto him" about her nightmare and disturbed sleep over the fate of Jesus, indicates that the place of judgement was remote from where she was and probably places it in the Antonia Fortress as being almost inevitably the only alternative, and that she delegated someone to carry her premonitions to Pilate. The arguments against the site being the house of Caiaphas are manifest and complex, going to the root of the Gospels themselves, involving the entire sequence of events surrounding Jesus' last week in Jerusalem and being based on the fact that this was the Passover and it is difficult to visualize the orthodox Jewish Establishment involving itself in these proceedings at such a religious time. A.N. Wilson is excellent on this, and many other aspects of the Gospels in his outstanding work  "Jesus"  (p.21; pp.212 et seq. Flamingo Publications, paper-back).

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