the wealthy and the important residents of Jerusalem! where the houses of the priest who served in the Second Temple were discovered, containing beautiful mosaics, warehouses, and ritual immersion baths – all in one place. The site is undergrounded and it is very suitable for tours in the winter and in the summer.
The findings displayed in the exhibitions give visitors another look at the extent of the Herodian Quarter’s residents’ wealth: decorated tables, vibrantly colored imported pottery, and more.
A fascinating, unique find was discovered on one of the walls – an etching of the Menorah (a sacred candelabrum with seven branches) used in the temple. Does the idea that the Menorah depicted in the etching on this wall is the Menorah used in Temple seem contrived? Not necessarily. Many scholars believe that there is a fair chance that the person (a priest, perhaps?) who etched the Menorah into the wall had seen the Menorah in the Temple with his own eyes. This may be a glimpse of a close to accurate depiction of what the Menorah in the Temple really looked like. This Menorah is different from the Knesset Menorah (a bronze, five meter high monument that stands outside the Israeli parliament building) and from the representation of the Menorah on the Arch of Titus.
The wealth and splendor on display in the Herodian Quarter are referred to in rabbinical sources as well as in other historical sources, and demonstrate the gap between the rich and the poor. This contributed to the problems and tensions in the Jewish society of the period, leading to a civil war and culminating in the destruction of the Temple and the devastation of the city of Jerusalem.
The houses discovered in the Herodian Quarter were burnt and ruined in the fierce fire that raged in the area approximately a month after the destruction of the Temple (in 70 AD).