Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Knights Templar and "Solomon's Stables"

The Knights Templar are said to have been using Solomon's Stables, vaults below the Temple Mount at Jerusalem. These "Stables" were in fact vaulted cellars built by Herod the Great, meant to support the huge platform of the Temple Mount when he enlarged and remade the second temple in the 1st century BC.

This huge scaffolding reached 45 metres above ground level at the southeast corner of the Temple Mount. It is estimated that there are four levels of vaults. However, only the highest level is accessible, although for the moment it is not open to tourists. The Umayyads re-used the Herodian masonry to restore this last level between the end of the 7th century and the early 8th century.

And the Templars rebuilt later arcs. Apart from the structural support offered first for the Temple Mount platform and then to the Al-Aqsa mosque built at this location, these caves possibly served as spare rooms for the Temple of Herod. The Templars were probably the first to make them stables.

A short tunnel runs from the south retaining wall of the Temple Mount under "Solomon's Stables." After 30 meters, the tunnel is blocked by rocks and debris and archaeologists have not been able to conduct investigations beyond because of the refusal of Muslim authorities. However, given the tunnel construction method, often with large blocks dating from the time of Herod's Temple, archaeologists have concluded that it was built as a postern (a secret gateway) by the Templars.

The entrance would have been located somewhere on the surface and the exit at the south wall, allowing the Templars to launch surprise attacks against their enemies.

Today this place being restored, has been transformed into a place of prayer the Al-Marwani mosque.

Illustration from, and tekst translated from French to English from a Facebook-post of Temple de Paris ©

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