The Jewish Quarter of the Old City, including nearly fifty synagogues, was completely destroyed by the Jordanians in 1948. The rebuilding since 1967 has made it possible to conduct extensive archaeological excavations throughout the entire Quarter. Most buildings have documented excavations in their basements.

One such is the Israelite Tower, part of the fortification of the First Temple city, destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. In the layer of ash and soot four arrowheads were found, three typical of those used by the Israelites, one used by the Babylonian invaders. Close by are the remains of Hezekiah’s Broad Wall and the Second Temple Herodian house complex.

Until recently the desolate arch of the ‘Hurvah Synagogue was all that could be seen but now the entire dome is visible from afar as the synagogue has been completely rebuilt, an exact replica of what was destroyed in 1948.

Also restored is the complex of the four Sepharadi Synagogues which had been used as a store room and barn. Although the Tiferet Israel synagogue has not been rebuilt the façade of the three arched entrance, reminiscent of ancient synagogues of the Galilee, has been restored.

Traversing the Jewish Quarter is the restored Byzantine Cardo above which are Crusader shops, once more in use with modern merchandise.

Text content copyrights: Bein Harim Ltd., Beryl Ratzer (www.ratzer.com)

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