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 amos tall and each measured “as wide as three men can reach” which is about 12 amos (18 feet) in circumference. The cedar roof covering this portico extended 30 amos (45 feet) from the inside of the Temple Mount walls and had a fence on top to prevent anyone who might be walking there from falling off.
Aside from this portico which covered the interior perimeter of the Temple Mount, the remaining area of the Temple Mount was also covered by a roof. This roof extended from the inner edge of the portico up to the walls around the Courtyard, leaving the Women’s Courtyard and the Main Courtyard open to the sky. The roof was designed to keep out the heat of the sun in the summer and the rain in the winter and had some sort of openings to let in light.
In the rendering shown below I have started putting many of these elements into place, such as the columns (modelled after those found at Persepolis), the cedar roof above the portico, and the fence around that roof. We are looking at the eastern wall which was lower than the other three walls of the Temple Mount and stood only 26 amos (39 feet) high. This is why it is not visible above the cedar-covered portico. The gate in this wall is the Shushan Gate leading out to the Mount of Olives. The building at the lower left is the Sanhedrin courthouse which was located just inside the eastern gate.
Not (yet) shown is the large roof of Temple Mount proper.
|Interior of the Temple Mount, looking east.|