Walls of the Temple Mount
|King Darius (wikimedia)
|Line of sight from the Mount of Olives
to the opening of the Sanctuary Building
The Temple was not squarely centered within the four walls of the Temple Mount but was offset towards the northwest corner. Although in many models of the Temple the Temple Mount is shown as a large, open expanse of space, this is not accurate. The space between the walls of the Temple Mount and the Temple itself was packed with numerous chambers, storehouses, workshops, and offices which were necessary for the day-to-day operation of the Temple. Since we do not know the names and locations of these many chambers they are often omitted from the depictions of the Temple.
Just inside the walls of the Temple Mount ran a cedar-covered portico supported by marble columns, each of which was hewn from a single block of stone and adorned with flowered capitals. The columns stood 25 cubits tall and each measured “as wide as three men can reach.” A man’s reach is about 4 cubits, thus the columns had a circumference of 12 cubits and a diameter of 3.8 cubits. The columns were spaced approximately 15 cubits apart and arranged in three rows along the walls of the Temple Mount, with the first row of columns set into the walls.
The cedar roof covering this portico extended 30 cubits from the inside of the Temple Mount walls. It was carved with flower designs and had a fence on top to prevent anyone who might be walking there from falling off. The entire area of the portico was set upon a raised platform a few steps higher than the floor of the Temple Mount and, like the entire expanse of the Temple Mount, was paved with marble stones.