Explore ancient Jerusalem in virtual reality. Available now on the App Store and Google Play!
Western Wall, Jerusalem
The Western Wall was part of Jerusalem’s Jewish temple complex, re-built by Herod at the end of the first century BC. Herod the Great (40 BC–4 BC) transformed Jerusalem into a Roman city adding a theatre, hippodrome, amphitheatre, palace, and fortress (Antonia fortress). The temple was eventually destroyed in 70 AD. The majority of primary source material regarding the Temple comes from Josephus (War 5.184–226 and Ant 15.410–425), a Jewish historian; and Tractate Middot of the Mishnah, written a century after its destruction.
Herod’s reconstructed Temple was never re-built, but sections survive today, including the Western Wall. The temple complex was made up of many elements including: a platform and wall, an inner enclosure, temple proper, priest’s court (azarah), court of women (ezrat nashim), outer court, rachavah (paved square), stoa basilieia, and a court within the outer court. A bridge connected the southeast corner of the complex (which housed a great course of stairs, a plaza, and shops) and the elite residential quarter in the upper city.
Due to the importance of the site, three scenes have been created in order to give the viewer a rare insight into early first century AD Jerusalem. The observer is able to witness a reconstructed Western Wall with Herodian courses, a street level view surrounded by archaeologically accurate reconstructed houses, and the bridge connecting two sections of the city.
Easy to use
All that is needed for this cutting edge VR experience is a smartphone and a VR headset. We recommend purchasing a Google Cardboard, which retails for about$15 USD.
Whether you’re an archaeology student learning about the ancient world, or an intrepid traveller backpacking through modern day Jerusalem, this app is the perfect way to get in touch with the ancient world.
Every detail has been approved by a team of professional archaeologists to ensure accuracy. For this reason, the app can be considered not only for entertainment purposes but also as a useful educational tool.
KEY VANTAGE POINTS
Modern street level
You are on a 15m column in front of the Temple’s Western Wall. This is the current ground level when you visit the site today. You are surrounded by domestic housing. To your left is Wilson’s Arch and a bridge that gives access to the temple complex. Behind the observer are views of the surrounding landscape including distant glimpses of the fortification wall and residential areas. The remains of the fortification wall are scant in modern Jerusalem, so a reconstructed version is used here based on chronologically parallel examples.
You stand in the Tyropoeon Valley in front of the Western Wall. The street is paved and well-constructed. The houses’ forms are based on excavations around Jerusalem, however, the exact arrangement of the buildings here is poorly understood. To the right of you is the massive bridge that connected the upper city with the temple complex, and a top the cliff is the old city.
Looking at the wall
You are on the street during the early 1st century CE. The Western Wall towers above with huge blocks topped by half columns. Only the middle section of the Western Wall can be seen today. The upper and lower sections are reconstructed here. If the observer looks to the left, in the far distance the Antonia Fortress is visible, peeking from behind a collection of homes.
On the bridge
This is a glimpse into the temple precinct through one of the entrances on the Western Wall atop Wilson’s Arch. You see all of the Western Wall, mostly destroyed today. Stairs draw you to the unknown, to the temple: obscured behind this massive wall. Houses can be seen all around you, including both the Jewish and Roman period districts. Directly behind you, the bridge continues to the horizon. In the distance, towers can be glimpsed along the outer walls. This scene also allows you to take in the entire Western Wall with Robinson’s Arch to the right and the Antonia Fortress to the left.