Sunday, May 4, 2014

King Solomon's Quarries

Solomon's Quarries is a 5 acre underground meleke
 limestone quarry that runs the length of five city blocks 
under the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.
It was carved over a period of several thousand years. 

The quarry entrance is east of the Damascus Gate.
 It was concealed during the Ottoman Empire
 by Suleiman in 1540  for security reasons
 and was not rediscovered until 1854
 when James Barclay found it and snuck in one night.
 It became known as Zedekiah's Cave because 2 Kings 25
 and Jeremiah 52 tell how Zedekiah
 fled the city in 586 even though the Babylonian army
 encircled the city for 24 months.
There is reported to be a tunnel
 from the royal palace of David
 connecting under Temple Mount on Mount Moriah.

Zedekiah's Cave was a small natural cave
 until the Second Temple Period 
when it was enlarged into a
 huge subterranean stone quarry
 extending under the houses of the Old City.
 This quarry supplied the stone
 for many magnificent buildings in Jerusalem.
 According to common belief,
 it was used to construct the First Temple.
 Hence the nickname, "King Solomon's Quarries."

You can see the lines of the rock blocks 
removed from the underground quarry.

Yossi offers a flute concert just for us.

On both sides of the path are huge
 supporting columns dug out of the quarried rock.
 These columns were left by the stone cutters
 to support the rock ceiling, 
which measures 300 by 600 feet
 and weighs approximately 1/2 million tons.

Such beautiful coloring in the rock walls.
Many many slaves worked in these mines
 to bring out the limestone.
No matter what legend or story is accurate- 
it is easy to see that this quarry was a significant 
piece of the building of ancient Jerusalem.

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