Although the Courtyard was open to the sky, there was a portico, or roof, along the inside of the walls around all four sides
which jutted out of the walls halfway up their height.
[The walls were forty amos
high, which would put this roof at a height of twenty amos
, or just even with the tops of the gateways.] The roof was not continuous but was built in sections which ran between the gates of the Courtyard,
and each section was supported by a single row
of marble columns similar in design to those of the Temple Mount.
Each morning the Kohanim from the Hall of the Fire would make their way beneath this roofed area around the perimeter of the Courtyard to check that all of the Temple vessels were in place for the start of the sacrificial service.
|Early morning view of the southwest corner of the Courtyard.|