Jerusalem Archeological Park Southern Wall – Jerusalem, Israel

From the Temple steps you have the closest view of the Southern Wall of the Temple platform. It’s also from here that you can witness a clash of history right before your eyes.  

The Palestinian Authority was given administrative control of the Temple Mount by the Israeli government in the early 1990’s. Since that time, a number of structural changes have been made within the plateau, all aimed at increasing Islamic claims to the site (and at removing any traces of the Jewish Temple’s previous existence).  

It was also around this time that an agreement was struck between the Palestinian Authority (and more specifically, the Muslim administrators of the Temple Mount) and the Israeli Antiquities Authority. In exchange for allowing the Muslims to build out the Al Marwani Mosque, the Israelis would be allowed to further explore and excavate a tunnel running the 1600 foot length of the Western Wall. Incidentally, this tunnel is known as the ‘Rabbinical Tunnel’ – one which we would be visiting later that evening. 

In 1996, the Muslims began construction on the area previously known as ‘Solomon’s Stables’. Believing this to be the Al Marwani mosque location, they begin a significant construction project that required considerable digging. This long unused portion is found inside the Temple platform along the Southern Wall. In this process, important supports were removed and other alterations took place that has increased strain. 

As a result, some 230 square yards of the wall bulged out as much as 2 ½ feet. The Israeli Antiquities Authority warned that unless something was done, the Southern Wall and the structures directly above it could collapse. A similar protrusion also formed on the Eastern Wall.

Temple Mount with bulge scaffolding

After several years of work involving Jordanian engineers (and others), the bulges were finally repaired.  The repair work is evident in the photo below: