Edward Robinson.

Biblical researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea. A journal of travels in the year 1838 online

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are sculptured four lions ; which shows at least that it
was not originally the work of Muhammedans.

The southern gate, called by the Franks tliat of
Zion, and by thie natives Bdb en-JVeby DdUd, " Gate
of the Prophet David," opens out only upon the exte-
rior part of Zion, towards the Muslim tomb of David^
etc. Several paths indeed wind down from it to the
Vallies of Hinnom and Jehoshaphat ; but no important
road leads from it.

Of the gates now closed up, one is on the North
side, about half way between the Damascus Gate and
the N. E. corner of the city. It is only a small portal
in one of the towers. This is called by Franks the
Gate of Herod, and by the natives Bdb ez-Zahary^
" the flowery." — ^Another small portal, the Dung Gate
of the Franks, is on the South side of the city, a little
West of South from the S. W. corner of the area of the
mosk, and near the bed of the Tyropoeon. The native
name is BAb el-MaghAribehj " Gate of the Western Af-
ricans."* — A third is the large double gateway on the
eastern side of the area of the great mosk, now called
by the natives BAb ed-Dahariye/i^ " the Eternal Gate ;"
but which Franks are wont to speak of as the Golden
Gate, Porta aurea? This is evidently a structure
of antiquity, and will be more fully described here-
after. — The fourth of these gates is adjacent to the
South wall of the area of the mosk, just in the corner
where the city-wall comes up and joins it. It is a
low square tower ; and if seen only from the outside,
looks as if it had once led up into the area of the mosk.
We examined it, and entered it afterwards from the
inside, and found that it led only into the city. The

1) The adjacent quarter of the ed-Dtn in A. D. 1495, translated by

city, near the S. W; part of the von Hammer, Fundgruben de«

court of the great mosk, appears Orients. II. pp. 98, 125.
at one time to have been inhabited 2) The name Porta aureagoea

by a colony of these people. See back at least to the times of the

the History of Jerusalem by Mejr crusades; Will. Tyr. VIII. 3«

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workmanship of it is quite modern. Of this gate I
have been able to find no mention, either in Arabian
or early Christian writers. Quaresmius is silent as
to it ; and no Frank traveller appears to have observ-
ed it, until within a few years. Richardson saw it
only from the outside, and speaks of it under a wrong
name, as leading up into the mosk el-Aksa.^

The Golden Gate has been walled up for centuries;
and the one last mentioned, adjacent to the S. side of
the same area, would seem also to have been very
long disused. There is no trace of any former path
connected with it, either within or without the city.
The other two gates, or rather portals, — the Dung
Gate and that of Herod, so called, — have been appa-
rently more recently closed. They seem to have been
open in Niebuhr's day ;• and several travellers of the
present century mention their names, without specify-
ing whether they were still open or not.' At present
they are firmly walled up ; although a lane which even
now leads down through fields of prickly pear towards
the Dung Gate, would seem to indicate that the latter
had not long been closed.*

Mount 7A(m. Of the hills by which the surface of
the city was and is divided into various quarters, that
of Zion is the most extensive and important. Its nor-
thern part or brow is just South of the street which
leads down directly East from the Yafa Gate, along
the bed of the ancient Tyropoeon. In going from this
street southwards near the bazars, one comes almost
immediately to a sharp though short ascent ; and turn-
ing to the right along its brow, finds himself higher
than the roofs of the small houses which line the

1) Richardson's Travels, etc. Chateaubriand Itin. II. pp. 67, ^.
11. pp. 255, 292. Prokesch Reise Par. 1837. Richardson 11. pp. 254,
ins h. Land. p. 85 255. Prokesch. pp. 85, 86.

2) Niebulur's Reisebeschr. III. 4) According to Schubert, both
p. 52. Comp. Kortens Reise, p. these gates have been dosed up
112. only since the rebellion of 1834;

3) Travels of Ali Bey II. p. 244. Rewe etc. 11. pp. 542, 544.

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Sbc. Vnj MOUNT ZION. 389

street below. The ascent towards the S. along the
street near by the citadel is more gradual.

On the West and South, Zion rises abruptly from
the Valley of Hinnom, which sweeps around its S. W.
comer almost at a right angle, descending very rapidly
first towards the S. and then towards the £. to the
Valley of Jehoshs^hat. This circumstance renders the
S. W. brow of Zion apparently more lofty than any
other point connected with the city now or anciently.
This we measured approximately. Beginning at the
first tower from the S. W. corner of the city-wall, we
measured 865 feet on a course due South to the brow
of Zion. Hence the well of Job or Nehemiah bore S.
58^ £. at an angle of depression of 12^. Descending
now very steeply, still due South, we measured 140
feet at an angle of 11^ depression, and 530 feet at an
angle of 23i^ ; and came thus to the bottom of the Valley
of Hinnom just East of the road which there crosses
it This gives an elevation above the valley at this
point of 154 English feet ; which is probably not very
far from the truth. The height of Zion above the valley
at the S. W. corner of the wall of the city, obtained
in the same way, is 104 feet ; and that of the ground
at the Yafa Gate, 44 feet. But these differences arise
at least as much from the rapid sinking of the valley,
as from the increased height of Zion towards the
South. The elevation of the southern brow of Zion
above the well of Nehemiah, we were unable to ob-
tain ; but from the very rapid descent of the Valley
of Hinnom in that part, I should be inclined to esti-
mate it at not less than 300 feet.^

1) According to Schubert's ba- op])08ite the great mosk. If so, the

rometrical measurements, Zion is estimate in the text accords well

241 Paris feet higher than the Val- with that result ; for Uie descent

ley of Jehoshaphat But it is not of the Valley of Jehoshaphat from

said at what pomt in that valley the that point to the well of Job, is cer^

observation was taken ; though va- tainly not less than 60 feet. Schu«

rious reasons render it prc^able, bert's Reise, II. p. 521.
that it was not lower dowa than

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The summit of Zion presents a level traqt of con-
siderable extent along its western brow. The east-
em side of the hill slopes down steeply, but not in
general abruptly, to the Tyropoeon, which separates
it from the narrow ridge South of the Haram ; while
at the extreme S. E. part, below Siloam, it extends
quite down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. Only the
northern portion of Zion is included in the modern
walls; and this is occupied chiefly by the Jewish
quarter, and by the great Armenian convent. Here
the eastern side of Zion within the city, adjacent to
the Tyropoeon after it bends South, is an abrupt pre-
cipice of rock from twenty to thirty feet high, lying
overagainst the S. W. part of the area of the Haram
esh-Sherf f. This rock is still in its natural state ; and
probably presents the same appearance as it did in
the days of Josephus; though the adjacent valley has
doubtless been greatly filled up with rubbish.

Without the walls, the level part of Zion, as we
have seen, is occupied by the Christian cemeteries, the
house of Gaiaphas now an Armenian convent, the
Coenaculum or Muslim tomb of David, and the adja-
cent buildings, formerly a Latin convent. The rest of
the siu*face is now tilled ; and the city of David has
become a ploughed field ! The eastern slope is like-
wise in part cultivated ; and paths wind down along
the declivity to Siloam, and also more to the right to
the bottom of the Valley of Hinnom. The aqueduct
from Solomon's Pools, which crosses the Valley of
Hinnom at a point N. of the S. W. corner of the city
wall, is then carried along and around the S. W. part
of Zion above the valley, till it comes out again high
up along the eastern slope and enters the city.

Below the aqueduct, and indeed near the bed of
the Tyropoeon, a few rods South of the Dung Gate, is
a low arch, forming the outlet of a large sewer from
the city. We could not ascertain from what point

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SfiC. Vn.] ASRJL 391

\eithin the walls the sewer comes, but it is not impro*
bably brought along beneath the eastern brow of Zion.
It was now entirely dry. During the rebellion of the
Fellalis and their siege of Jerusalem in 1834, some of
the leaders are said to have passed up through this
sewer, and thus got possession of the city.

Akra. North of Zion is the hill of Akra. It is the
continuation or rather the termination of the broad
ridge or swell of land which lies North of the basin at
the head of the Valley of Hinnom, and extends down
into the city, forming its N. W. part. Indeed the N.
W. comer of the city wall is directly on this ridge ;
from which spot the wall descends immediately to-
wards the N. £. and also though less rapidly towards
the S. E. To the whole ridge, both without and
within the city, a comparatively modern tradition has
given the name of Mount Gihon ; though there is no
trace of any hill so named in Scripture or other ancient
history.' Within the walls, this hill or ridge is sepa-
rated from Zion, as we have seen, by the upper part
of the Tyropoeon ; which commences as a shallow
depression near the Y&fa Gate.

When one enters, the Y&fa Gate and takes the first
street leading North immediately from the adjacent
open place, he has before him at first a considerable
ascent; though afterwards the way is more level quite
to the Latin convent in the N. W. part of the city.
In the street leading North below the Pool of Heze-
kiah, and also in that along tlie bazars, this ascent is
less perceptible. The church of the Holy Sepulchre
stands directly on the ridge of Akra ; and from it and
from that neighbourhood, there is everywhere a con-
siderable declivity towards the Damascus Gate. The
ground also descends eastward from the Latin convent

1) The name of Qihon, as ap- mentioned bv Brocardus about
plied to this ridge, seems to be first A. D. 1283, Cap. IX.

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to the same church ; and then again by a still steeper
declivity from the church to the street along the val-
ley between Akra and the area of the great mosk.

*Bezeiha. Eastward from the Damascus Gate,
and northeasterly from Akra, lies the hill of Bezetha.
It is separated from Akra by the rather broad valley
which has its commencement in the plain just around
the Damascus Gate, and runs in a southerly direction
tUl it unites with the Tyropoeon below the point of
Akra. The western side of Bezetha is nearly or quite
as high as Akra ;^ while towards the East it slopes
gradually down to the brow of the Valley of Jehosha-
phat. The western side, near the gate of Damascus,
is very steep ; as are also the northern and southern
sides in this quarter. Indeed the north wall of the
city runs along its northern brow ; and the rock on the
outside is there precipitous; with a wide and deep
trench at its base cut through the solid rock.

The summit of Bezetha is now mostly covered
with low buildings, or rather hovels ; and on the S. E.
part are also dwellings and the ruined church connected
with the former nunnery of the house of Anna.* But
in the N. E. the whole slope within the city walls
is occupied by gardens, fields, and olive-yards, with
comparatively few houses or ruined dwellings ; the
whole having more the aspect of a village in the coun-
try, than of a quarter in a city. The top of the hill
presents a fine view of the other parts of Jerusalem.
We saw here no traces of ancient ruins ; although the
monks have chosen to assign this location to a palace
of the younger (Herod) Agrippa.^

1) Josephus says Bezetha was language could not well be true io

higher than any of the other hills ; respect to Zion.
B. J. v. 5. 8. This is probably '/,) See above, p. 344.

meant of the hills of the lower city, 3) This hypothesis is mentioned

Moriah and Akra ; and is true as by Marinus Sanutus, A. D. 1321,

to the part of Akra which lay (III. 14. 10,} but appears to be

within the second wall. But the wholly groundless. The main pas-

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SbcVII.] bszetha. sroRiAH. 393

Moriah.' I have already remarked, that the part
of Jerusalem lying between the Valley of Jehoshaphat
and the *valley runnmg down from the Damascus
Gate to the Pool of Siloam, may be regarded as one
ridge, having on it the separate summits or hills Be-
zetha and Moriah ; and corresponding further down
perhaps to the ancient quarter Ophel. Moriah was
apparently at first an elevated mound of rock, rising
by itself upon this ridge, overagainst the eastern point
of Akra. The temple was placed upon the levelled
summit of this rock; and then immense walls were
erected from its base on the four sides ; and the inter-
val between them and the sides filled in with earth,
or built up with vaults ; so as to form on the top a
large area on a level with the temple.^ This area or
court of the ancient temple, as we shall see hereafter,
was probably not very different from the present en-
closure of the Haram esh-Sherlf. This is now separat-
ed from the rocky brow of Zion by the Tyropoeon ; and
from Akra by the valley which comes from the Da*
mascus Gate.

In passing along this valley through the present
street towards the South, apparently just before com-
ing to the Tyropoeon, one crosses over a small rise of
ground. This is probably rubbish, the accumulation
of ages ; though the houses in the vicinity prevented
us from ascertaining whether it extends quite across
the valley. It is also possible, that this mound may
serve to carry the aqueduct from Solomon's Pools into
the area of the mosk ; which is everywhere higher

sage which Q^uaresmius cites from prevent this the Jews raised a high

Josephus in support of it, ( Antiq. wall on the loeat side of the tempfe.

XX. 8, 11.) contradicts it express- All this of course fixes the site of

Iv. Josephus there relates, that the palace upon the N. £. part

Agrippa Duilt a house or palace of Zion. See Q^uaresm. Ehicid.

near the Xystus, whence he could Terrae Sanct. II. p. 204.
Bee from his couch whatever was 1) Joseph. B. J. V. 5. 1.

going on in the temple; and to

Vol. I. 50

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than the bottom of this valley. Indeed all the west-
ern entrances of the mosk are reached by an naceat ;
and some of them at least by steps.

On the North side, Moriah is not now separated
from Bezetha by any valley or trench ; except in part
by the large reservoir commonly called Bethesda.
The street which leads to the eastern gate of the city
passes here; ascending somewhat from the valley
near the N. W. comer of the area, having the steep
part of Bezetha on the left ; and then descending grad-
ually to St. Stephen's Gate.

Ophd. This is the remainder of the ridge extend-
ing South from Moriah to Siloam, between the deep
Valley of Jehoshaphat on the East and the steep but
shallower Tyropoeon on the West. The top of the
ridge is flat, descending rapidly towards the & some-
times by offsets of rock ; and tibe ground is tilled and
planted with olive and other fruit-trees. At the
northern end, just at the S. E. comer of the ct^^wall,
(not that of the mosk,) the surface is already 100 feet
lower than the top of the wall of the area of the mosk.
From this point I measured 1550 feet or about 516
yards on a course S. 20^ W. to the end of the ridge,
a rocky point forty or fifty feet above the Pool of Si-
loam in the mouth of the Tyropoeon. The breadth
of the ridge, as measured about the middle, I found
to be 290 feet, or about 96 yards, from brow to brow.

C^uef Streets. The principal streets in Jerusalem
run nearly at right angles to each other. Very few
if any of them bear names among the native population.'
They are narrow and badly paved, being merely laid
irregularly with large stones, with a deep square chan-


1} Chateaubriand in his IHne- years in the city, and made fre-
re professes to gi^e the names auent inquiries, had neyer been

of all the chief streets ; bat our able to hear of any, ezcqpl in one
friends, who had resided sereral or two instanoes.

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Sbc. vn.]



nel in the middle; but the steepness of the ground contri-
butes to keep them cleaner than in most oriental cities.
Of those running down eastwards from the upper to the
lower part of the city, the chief are, the one leading
from the Y&fa Gate directly to the Haram esh-Sherif,
and that from the Latin conyent to St. Stephen's
Gate. This last includes the Via dolorosa. The
principal streets running from South to North are, that
just below the Pool of Hezekiah, those of the Bazar,
and that along the hollow parallel to the Haram.
Those on Zion seem in general to be less frequented.
Circumference of the Holy City, One of the first
measurements which I took in Jerusalem, was that
of the circumference of the walls. This was done
with a measuring tape of one hundred English feet,
carried by our two servants, while I noted down the
results. We measured as closely as possible to the
walls, yet without regarding the short angles and
smaller zigzags. We started from the Y&fa Gate and
proceeded first southwards and so around the city.

Eoff . F6«t

1. From the Tifa Gate to the S. W. corner of the

city, first descending and then ascending • 1400

2. Zion Gate, level 600

3. Dung Gate (dosed), descending • • 1700
i. 8. E. corner of cifj^wall, nearly level « . 500
5. Wall of area of Great Mosk, S. side, ascending 290

6. 8. E. comer of wall of Mosk, level

7. Golden Gate (closed), slightly ascending

8. N. E. corner of area of Mosk, level •

9. St. Stei^en's Gate, level . • . •

10. N. E. corner of city, level . . • .

11. Herod's Gate (closed), along the trench, level

12. Damascus Gate, uneven • . . .

13. N. W. corner of city, ascending

14. Yftfa Gate, descending gradually .





G«n. CooTM.


N. Easterly







8. Westerly
8. 40*> E.

12,978 Feet,
or 4,326 Yards.

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This gives for the whole circumference a distance
of 2i English miles less 74 yards ; or very nearly 2i
geographical miles.


Valley of JehoBhaphat Brook Kidron. The deep
valley on the East of Jerusalem appears to be men-
tioned both in the Old and New Testament only under
the name of the Brook or Torrent Kidron. Josephus
also gives it only the same name.* The prophet Joel
speaks indeed of a Valley of Jehoshaphat, in which
God will judge the heathen for their oppression of the
Jews ; but this seems to be merely a metaphorical
allusion to the signification of the name.'^ There is
not the slightest historical ground, either in the Scrip-
tures or in Josephus, for connecting it with the valley
of the Kidron.^ Yet on this slender foundation ap-
pears to rest the present name of the valley ; and also
the belief current among the Catholics, Jews, and
Muhammedans, that the last judgment will be held in
it.* The name Jehoshaphat, however, was already

1) 2 Sam. XV. 23. 1 Kings ii. 38. valley in any way with the Valley
etc. The Hebrew word is in;, of Shaveh or the King|8 Dale,
which may be taken as nearly Gen. xiv. 17. 2 Sam. xviii. 18.
equivalent to the Arabic Wady, 4) Doubdan Voyage, etc p. 262.
The Seventy, the New Testament, Q^uaresmius Elucid. Terr. SancL
and abo Josephus, have /*^/*addo?, H. p 156. Reland Pal. p. a55.
a storm-brook, winter-torrent; see Raumer's Pal. ed. 2, p. 327. Trav-
as above, and John xviii. 1. Joseph, els of Ali Bey, II. p. 224. Hist of
Ant. VIII. 1. 6. Josephus has Jerus. by Mejr ed-Dln, Pundgru-
also (paqari KiSdvv, B. J. V. 2. 3. ben des Orients, II. p. 381.— This
V. 4. 2. latter writer calls the valley, or at

2) Joel iii. (iv.) 2, 12. Jehosha- least the part N. of the city, in al-
phat, Heb. OBtSirT^ i. e. Jehomk lusion to the same belief, es-Sdhe-

judgdh. The Reference sometimes ^\' ^:}P: ^''^}^^^^ "^^^

made to 2 Chr. c. xx. has no bear- Bohaeddm m the twelfth centory,

ing upon the illustration of Joel l.c. ^^® *^ the part along and below

3) It is hardly necessary to re- ^he city, the name of Jehemum
mark, that there is likewise no his- (p.^^Jl'^T^ ' '^'^J^' P o Bohaed.
torical ground for connecting this ^it. Saladm. p. 73. ed. Schult.

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applied to it in the earliest ages of the Christian era ;
for it is found in Eusebins and other writers of the
fourth century.* There is therefore no good reason,
why we should not employ this name at the present
day. The Arabs too have adopted it, under the form
ofWady Yehdshafiit.

It is remarkable that no writer (at least so far as
I have been able to discover) has given the topography
of the upper part of this valley ; nor correctly described
either the place of its beginning, nor its course below
the well of Nehemiah. One of the latest and most exact
travellers has even said, that it commences near the
N. E. comer of the city.* For this reason, the follow-
ing details are here given.

In approaching Jerusalem from the high mosk of
Neby Samwil in the N. W. the traveller first descends
and crosses the bed of the great Wady Beit Hantna
already described. He then ascends again towards
the S. E. by a small side Wady and along a rocky slope
for twenty-five minutes, when he reaches the Tombs
of the Judges, lying in a small gap or depression of
the ridge, still half an hour distant from the northern
gate of the city. A few steps further he reaches the
water-shed between the great Wady behind him and
the tract before him ; and here is the head of the Val-
ley of Jehoshaphat. From this point the Dome of
the Holy Sepulchre bears S. by E. The tract around
this spot is very rocky ; and the rocks have been much
cut away, partly in quarrying building-stone, and
partly in the formation of sepulchres. The region is
full of excavated tombs; and these continue with
more or less frequency on both sides of the valley, all

1) Euseb. Onomast. art. KodaQj 2) Prokesch, p. 86. So also, by

Coelas. Cyrill in Joel iii. (iv.) 2, implication, duaresmius, Tom. II.

12. Itinerar. Hierosol. p. 594, ed. pp. 151, 155.

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the way down to Jerusalem. The valley rons for
fifteen minutes directly towards the city ; it is here
shallow and broad, and in some parts tilled, though
very stony. The road follows along its bottom to the
same point. The valley now turns nearly East, abnost
at a right angle, and passes to the northward of the
Tombs of the Kings and the Muslim Wely before
mentioned.^ Here it is about two hundred rods dis-
tant from the city ; and the tract between is tolerably
level ground, planted with olive-trees. The Nabulus
road crosses it in this part, and ascends the hill on the
North. The valley is here still shallow, and runs in
the same direction for about ten minutes. It then bends
again to the South, and following this general course,
passes between the city and the Mount of Olives.
Before reaching the city, and also opposite its
northern part, the valley spreads out into a basin of
some breadth, which is tilled, and contains plantations
of olive and other fruit-trees. In this part it is crossed
obliquely by a road leading from the N. E. comer of
Jerusalem across the northern part of the Mount of
Olives to 'Anata. Its sides are still full of excavated
tombs. As the valley descends, the steep side upon
the right becomes more and more elevated above it ;
until at the gate of St. Stephen, the height of this
brow is about 100 feet. Here a path winds down
from the gate on a course S. E. by £. and crosses the
valley by a bridge; beyond which are the church
with the Tomb of the Virgin, Gethsemane, and other
plantations of olive-trees, already described.^ The
path and bridge are on a causeway, or rather terrace,
built up across the valley, perpendicular on the S.
side; the earth being filled in on tibe northern side up to

Online LibraryEdward RobinsonBiblical researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea. A journal of travels in the year 1838 → online text (page 33 of 48)