Temple Mount Overview

Temple Mount Overview

View looking west at the whole of the Herodian Temple Mount (Arabic: Haram esh-Sharif) as it would have appeared towards the end of the Second Temple Period.  The whole platform, Herodian in design, is 36 acres [14.5 ha.] in size.  In the "center" is the sacred area consisting of the Court of Women, the Court of Israel, and the Temple building itself.

Surrounding the above is the "Court of Gentiles."  The whole platform is bounded on all four sides by colonnades.  The one on the left, with the red roof, is the "Royal Portico."  This was a large multipurpose portico (basilica) where the Sanhedrin used to meet.   Just to the right of this large structure are two places where two underground passageways led to and from the temple mount to the outside—on the south.  These are entrances/exits that lead into and out of the Temple Mount area from the Double and the Triple Gates.

 Along the near wall, on the inside, was "Solomon's Portico," which was probably the oldest portion of the platform.

Note that the upper portion of the exterior of the surrounding wall has slightly projecting "pilasters."  This was to break up the monotony of just a plain wall.  Compare the walls of the "Tomb of the Patriarchs" in Hebron—which was constructed by Herod.

The four-towered structure on the right (north) is the Antonia Fortress where Roman troops were stationed to monitor activities on the platform itself.