JERUSALEM IN THE SECOND TEMPLE PERIOD
The model is on a scale of 1:50; two centimeters represent one meter of the ancient city.
Jerusalem, by far the most famous city of the East. … (Pliny the Elder, Natural History V, 70)
The model before you recreates Jerusalem in 66 CE. In that year, the Great Revolt
against the Romans erupted, resulting in the destruction of the city and the Temple.
The ancient city was then at its largest, covering an area of ca. 445 acres (more than
twice the size of the Old City today). The model thus reflects ancient Jerusalem at
its peak, just before all was lost.
The model was built at the initiative of Hans Kroch, owner of the Holyland Hotel, in
memory of his son Jacob, who fell in Israel’s War of Independence. Produced under
the direction of Prof. Michael Avi-Yonah of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, it
took four years to complete. In 1966 the model opened to the public on the premises
of the hotel and quickly became a popular attraction. In 2006 it was relocated to the
The reconstruction was based on three main sources of information: literary works,
especially the books of Josephus, the Mishnah and Talmud, and the Gospels; ancient
cities similar to Jerusalem; and archaeological discoveries in Jerusalem itself. Though
the information available at the time of the model’s construction was rather limited,
extensive excavations in Jerusalem since then have greatly enhanced our understanding
of the ancient city and enabled us to improve and update the model. It is expected
that such work will continue in the future.
Source: Israel Museum