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southern wall archaeological park

The Southern Wall Archaeological Park (also known as “Jerusalem Archaeological Park”) is Jerusalem’s most significant archaeological park. It resulted from several large-scale excavation projects following the Six-Day War. This site presents the finds made in the digs in front of the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount. The park is also a popular place for various public events.

History of Research of the Southern Wall Archaeological Park

Following the Six-Day War in 1967, the city of Jerusalem was unified. Among the many changes and developments, large-scale excavations were launched around the Temple Mount, especially along its Southern Wall. The excavations yielded a wealth of finds from different historical periods. Eventually, the site developed into a big archaeological park for public events.

Touring the Southern Wall Archaeological Park

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The Southern Wall Archaeological Park entry is next to the Dung gate. The site presents many finds, but the most remarkable are from the first century AD and the early Muslim period (8th century AD). The most moving finds from a Jewish and Christian perspective are from the turn of the first century. They include wide cobbled streets and many shops, some of which were selling points of animal sacrifices for the temple. Dozens of ritual baths were also discovered in the park, some clearly designed for public use. The archaeologist also unearthed the wide stairways that led into the Temple Mount through monumental gates. A massive stone structure found next to the stairway may have been the office of the Lower Sanhedrin.

The Southern Wall Archaeological Park is also a remarkable site for Christians. Jesus probably walked and preached in the public area leading into the Temple Mount. It’s possibly also where he turned the tables of the money changers and the dove sellers (Matthew 20:12-13).

Where is the Site of the Second Temptation of Jesus?


The New Testament records how after his baptism, Jesus retreats into the wilderness, fasts for forty days, and resists Satan’s temptations (Matthew 4). At first, Satan urges Jesus to turn a stone into bread, to which Jesus replies with a biblical quote: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Mattew 4:4). Then Satan takes him to the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem, where he challenges him to jump, arguing that if he is the Son of God, angels will save him (cf. Psalms 91:12).  Jesus again replied with a biblical quote – “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test” (Matthew 4:7). Finally, Satan offers Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if he would he worship him, to which Jesus replies with another quote – “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” (Matthew 4:9)

Where is the “Pinnacle of the Temple”?

The “pinnacle of the temple” mentioned in the second temptation is undoubtedly the southern edges of Jerusalem’s Jewish temple. These corners were so high that according to historian Josephus, anybody who looked down “would become dizzy and his vision would be unable to reach the end of the measureless depth.” (Antiquities XV 412). Moreover, a Muslim tradition holds that a niche-shaped stone in the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount was a basin where the infant Jesus was washed. The tradition’s origin is unknown, but perhaps it developed out of an older Christian tradition that, in the same southeastern corner, Satan tempted Jesus.

Davidson Center

In 2002, an innovative visitors’ center was added to the park. Named after its benefactor, the Davidson Center presents selected finds from the site with accompanying videos.

Setting Bar-Mitzvah at the Southern Wall Archaeological Park

bar-mitzvah-robinson-archThe park has three areas where a Bar-Mitzvah Ceremony can take place. The first is “Azrat Israel“, facing the Western Wal. The second is the first-century street in front of the Western wall beneath Robinson Arch. For a big Bar-Mitzvah production, setting an event in the roofed area facing the Southern Wall is possible. These locations have the advantage of not being bound to Orthodox regulations and restrictions, unlike the Western Wall Plaza.

A tour of the Southern Wall archaeological Park and Davidson Center can integrated in a day tour of Jerusalem.

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