Jerusalem's Temple Mount

In 2001, the Ethan and Marla Davidson Exhibition and Virtual Reconstruction Center in the Jerusalem Archaeological Park was opened to the public. The Center's interactive classroom featured a real-time visual simulation model of the Herodian Temple Mount developed jointly by the Urban Simulation Team at UCLA and the Israel Antiquities Authority. In 2006, a second classroom was dedicated and in 2007 an expanded version of the simulation model was unveiled that includes a reconstruction of the early Islamic structures on and around the Temple Mount. After touring through museum rooms displaying the history of the Temple Mount complex and seeing a short high-definition digital movie on the site as a pilgrimage destination, visitors to the Center have the opportunity to explore the real-time models in the center's interactive classrooms with an archaeologist guide.

The Herodian version of the model shows visitors how excavators believe the Temple Mount site appeared prior to its destruction by Roman troops in the year 70 CE. The focus is on the southern portion of the enclosure, and includes reconstructions of Robinson's Arch (an early overpass linking the top of the platform with the major city street below), the Hulda Street gates and passages onto the platform, the Royal Stoa, and the Second Temple. The reconstruction is based on the excavations at the Temple Mount under the direction of Ronny Reich and regional archeologist Gideon Avni.

The Umayyad version of the model shows the site as excavators believe it appeared just prior to a major earthquake that hit the city in 749 CE. During the Umayyad period, Jerusalem enjoyed an extensive building campaign by Caliph 'Abd al-Malik ibn al-Marwan and his son Al-Walid. The Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque were constructed during this period. The focus of the model is on the two large buildings south of the Temple Mount platform and the north/south Cardo. The reconstruction is based on the excavations at the Temple Mount under the direction of Yuval Baruch, Jerusalem District Archaeologist.

For additional information, please visit The Jerusalem Archaeological Park website

SAMPLE VIDEO CLIPS FROM THE HERODIAN MODEL: Click on the following links for short clips captured from the model: the view of the Temple Mount from City of David spur, the view of the Temple with a pan to the Royal Stoa, and a test of a combination of clips with no thought given to transitions.

A NEW SAMPLE CLIP FROM THE HERODIAN MODEL (a large file, so best to download and view offline): An overview of the entire Herodian model.

SAMPLE CLIP FROM THE UMAYYAD MODEL: An overview of the Umayyad version of the model focusing on Buildings 2 and 3.

Download a pdf for a 2x3 poster of the Herodian Temple Mount project
Download a pdf of the Computer Graphics 12/2001 article on the Herodian Temple Mount project 

-click a thumbnail for larger image-
    Screen snapshots from the Herodian version of the model     
    Screen snapshots from the Umayyad version of the model