Model of the Second Temple in Jerusalem

by David Padfield

Second Temple in Jerusalem


Among the many interesting sites to visit in Jerusalem is the open-air model of the city as it existed in the mid-first century A.D. The model was originally located at the Holyland Hotel, but has been moved to an area near the Knesset and the Shrine of the Book.

Professor Michael Avi-Yonah, the designer of the model, used numerous ancient descriptions of Jerusalem and recent archaeological discoveries to help him draw up the plans for the ancient city.

Most of the buildings are faced with the same "Jerusalem stone" as were the originals. The great public works buildings such as the city's fortifications and King Herod's great reconstructed temple (the second temple, pictured above) are thought to be fairly accurate representations of the originals. Private buildings, such as the numerous houses and shops, are meant to reflect the building style of the first century.

The model is built on a scale of 1:50, which is roughly 1/4 inch to the foot. The entire complex is about the size of a tennis court, and only takes about an hour to view.

Most of us have seen photographs and maps of Jerusalem throughout our entire lives, but this model really brings all of the maps and photographs to life! It is so much easier to imagine what life was like in the first century when you have something tangible to view.