The Broad Wall is located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. It is the remnant of a massive defensive wall originally erected during the First Temple Period (c.960BC-586BC) and excavated in the 1970s by archaeologist Nahman Avigal.
The wall's impressive breadth of 7 meters gives it its name – Broad Wall. It is also thought to be the Broad Wall referred to in the Book of Nehemiah. Experts came to the conclusion that the Broad Wall was part of the ramparts of Israelite Jerusalem. The discovery of the wall helped to determine the size of Jerusalem during the First Temple Period. Prior to the discovery ancient Jerusalem was considered to have been much smaller.
History of the Broad Wall
Archaeological experts date the construction back to the First Temple Era either during the reign of King Jehoiakim or King Hezekiah. The western part of the wall was built on the remains of ancient houses which would have been outside the original city walls. This is in line with a Biblical passage from Isaiah 22:10 when the prophet refers to King Hezekiah’s fortifications of Jerusalem:” …and ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem and the houses have ye broken to fortify the wall.” The most widely accepted theory is that the Broad Wall was constructed in the 8th century BC during the rule of King Hezekiah to protect against attacks from the Assyrian Empire. This event is documented in the Bible in the books of Isaiah and Kings.
The wall would have originally measured 65 meters long; 8 meters high and 7 meters wide. Today 45 meters of the original wall are exposed and the wall continues west beneath the houses of the Jewish Quarter until HeYehudim Street. In places the exposed wall reaches a height of 3.3 meters while the rest of the wall is still unearthed. Visitors to the site can see the wall from an open balcony that looks down on an archaeological garden beneath street level.