The gates of the Temple were very large buildings. People entered in through the right archway and exited through the left archway.
Double Gate (Warren Survey of Palestine)
My diagram of the Temple, began with locating gates using the "Survey of Palestine" maps, and also photos of the Ophel ruins outside the south wall.
There were two gates in Herod’s northern wall: the North gate and the Tadi gate, which was used by priests if they had become impure. The gate's special lintel was built from two stones, one leaning on the other, together forming a triangle. Warren’s description of cistern #6 is that its shape inside was like a hollow truncated pyramid.
two underground cisterns,
numbers 36 and 6 on Warren’s map, seem
to be part of the ruins of Herod's North gate and the Tadi gate.
In the western wall there were four gates. One is called Robinson’s Arch on the maps. It entered the Mount by means of stepped bridge and was one of the temple gates described by Josephus.
Six hundred feet straight across from Robinson’s Arch is the underground halls called Triple Gate on Warren’s map. Inside Triple Gate on its western side, part way up the passageway, was what appeared to be a huge lintel of a gate. This gate would have been the true East Gate to the Temple.
The same gate can
also be seen on Sir Charles Wilson’s map (red arrow). This map shows
both above ground and below the surface.
Notice that the
Muslim’s named this gate on the east the "Gate of Elias” but that
and the ruins below it would have been the East gate, which entered
into the Woman's Court of the Temple. What this means is that these
halls of Triple Gate, on the maps, were actually Solomon's Porch or
that he built to the east of the Temple House.
There are three archways of what are called Triple Gate in the South wall of the Temple Mount.
Mazar, in 1967, excavated the Ophel mound outside the South wall, ruins
steps were found leading down from the two arches on the right only.
no steps to the arch on the left. In the southern theory the arch on
was inside the east wall and the other two were outside the wall.
This would make the inside hall on the left (west) Solomon’s Stoa, which lined the eastern wall inside the Temple complex. The other two, on the right (east), entered an arched entryway, a porch, so to speak, to the east gate. The Kings entrance, because Solomon had built his palace just south of this on the Ophel Mound and he entered through the East Gate into the temple complex.
When entering the two arches on the right the East Gate would have been on the western wall of the portico and entered directly into the Women's Court.
the time this picture was taken these halls were full of tons
and tons of
dirt and debris, leaving only the tops of the arches exposed.
halls do not lead up to the Mount surface, and never did.
think that Solomon’s Porch might still exist to this day, buried
surface of the Temple Mount, is amazing to say the least.
“Attached to the original temple of Solomon was the porch of judgment where king Solomon had constructed a large hall 50 cubits long and 30 cubits wide. The "porch" or "portico" was located on the east side of the outer court (Women's Court) of the New Testament Temple of Herod.”
lower section of the Triple Gate halls on Warren's map, is a
portico, and is approximately
50 x 30 Hebrew cubits and the woman's court was the outer court of the Temple. So this fits the description rather well.
Double Gate is also located in the south wall of the Mount. Only a small portion of one of these arches can be seen today. They were covered up when the Crusaders built a building against the South Wall.
In the southern theory this is not the most southern gate of Herod’s Temple. Instead this gate would have been, what is called, an inner gate of the Temple which entered into the Men’s court, Priest court, and the Temple House itself.
is an illustration of Double Gate after being rebuilt sometime after
of Jupiter was torn down in 325 CE.
We know this because of a plaque, of a statue that stood before the Temple of Jupiter, was built into the wall upside down on the right side of the east arch. However, many of the wall stones are Herod stones, such as the center divider between the two gates and the lower courses of the wall itself.
This is how the double gate halls appears on Warren’s map (In blue)
Below is the same map with an overlay of my diagram
believe these halls to be where the old inner gates were once located.
inner south and north gates with the Men's court in between.
The double halls lay deep below Al Aksa Mosque. I don't believe these halls to have been built by Herod. They are built with recycled stones and columns. In fact they were built after the 70 CE destruction of the Temple. Even though these great halls were built after 70 CE, they were built upon those things that remained from second temple era, such as the huge stones of the eastern and western doorposts on the entrance to the Double Gate which belong to the remaining course of stones in the southern wall of the Temple. The existence of the original floor level and the remains of the original gate foundations. The same is true of the intermediate gate pier, built of huge ashlars with drafted margins, and of the two monolithic lintels with their drafted margins posed above the two doorways-the eastern lintel cracked at a later stage. Based on the archaeological evidence, the Herodian foundations of the side walls are visible, but only on the lower courses of the eastern wall, where they consist of large stones in the typical Herodian boss technique exploiting a considerable portion of the ancient masonry found in situ.
Charles Warren wrote:
"Double Passage " is a tunnel built through the made earth of the Haram... at one time the passage only extended for 190 feet from the south wall of the enclosure.... When the Aksa was built, it appears that the passage was extended to its present length (260 feet) ,but on the east side only”
This means the Halls did not lead up to the Temple Platform when they first were built but one passage was extended after the Mosque was built. It is possible that a group of people dug out the inner gates and the men’s court to preserve the area, perhaps to create a place of Jewish prayer sometime after 325 CE.
Perhaps the builders of these halls could have been the Jews that were allowed to return to rebuild their Temple in 360 - 363 CE. The work stopped when an earthquake hit and fire issued out of the ground. Many people were killed or maimed.
The Muslim’s claim that these halls were part of the first wooden mosque built on the mount that collapsed during an earthquake. But these halls are made of stone not made of wood, as was the old mosque.
This sketch was drawn of the double gate halls as it might have looked when first built.
Below is a sketch of what Warren actually saw
Below is a photo taken in 1902
Under the Double Gate Passages
Another photo by Robert Hamilton of a rock cut passageway that is entered into by stairs leading down from the Double gate Hallways. I find this very interesting because the Jews hollowed out the rock under sacred areas so that there would be air in between to insure no one had been buried below.
mishna. Para 3.3 tells us that "The Temple Mount and
Courts had a hollow space beneath them in case there was a grave in the
“From the inner court the Priests entered the hollow by lifting a marble slab.
In the North (inner) gate near the threshold there was a black slate slab that was also an entrance to these hollows”.
So not only do we find that there is a Jewish Mikveh below the Al Aqsa Mosque but also the required hollows that would have been cut into the rock below the Temple courts!
This is a good time to review the physical evidence supporting my theory.
Return to Table of Content