Susan C. Anthony

Scale model of ancient JerusalemThe Holy Land Hotel

We loved the scale model of Jerusalem as it looked in Jesus' day at the Holy Land Hotel (the display has since been moved to the Israel Museum). The scale is 1:50 (1/4 inch = 1 foot). On this scale, an average man would be 1.4" tall.

In the middle of the picture at the far side of the model is the Temple, the tall building in the center of the Temple Mount which is surrounded by walls. The present-day Western Wall is on the near side in the model, to the far right. The retaining wall was 100 feet high in Jesus' time and enclosed an area of about 40 acres.

The first temple was built by Solomon and destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 B.C. The temple in Jesus' day had been built by Zerubabbel and significantly expanded and improved by Herod the Great, who had been proclaimed "King of the Jews" by the Roman Senate. The Temple was utterly destroyed by the Romans after the Jewish rebellions.

To the left of the temple is an imposing structure with four towers called the Antonia, after Mark Antony. It overshadowed and dominated the temple, and was hated by the Jews. It is here that Jesus was brought before Pontius Pilate.

In Jesus' day, the population of Jerusalem was about 100,000. Everyone lived inside at least one of its three city walls. Until 1860, very few people dared to live outside city walls. Walled cities were very effective for defense until the invention of aircraft.

Although this is a model, it was one of our favorite sites to visit. It gave us an accurate backdrop against which to place the events recounted in the New Testament.

Go on to read about Death in Jerusalem
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