The Israel Museum is consistently ranked as one of the best exhibitions in the world, providing a wide range of exhibits from its wealth of artifacts and ancient manuscripts to Israeli art. It stands as a testament to Israel’s long and fascinating past.
Among the most impressive displays at the Israel Museum is the 2,000-square-meter (21,520-square-foot) model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple period. The model was built to a 1:50 scale using many of the construction materials of the time, including steel, Jerusalem stone and marble.
The model, which reconstructs the city of Jerusalem prior to the catastrophic Great Revolt against Roman rule in 66 AD, focuses on the reproduction of the glorious Temple itself, which lends a sense of perspective of the awesome feat achieved by King Herod and his builders. For visitors, observing the intricate network of alleyways and precise attention to detail, one cannot help but experience a profound sense of history and tragedy for what has been lost in the folds of time.
The model originally made its home on the grounds of the Holy Land Hotel in the Bayit VeGan neighborhood of Jerusalem for 40 years. Its design is credited to Professor Michael Avi Yonah, an Israeli geographer and historian, who based his work on the writings of Josephus and other sources.
In 2006, the model was transferred in its entirety to the Israel Museum, and today it stands near the Shrine of the Book, the dome-shaped monument which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls. Even more recently, the model was renovated and corrected for archaeological inaccuracies.
Walking around the Second Temple model is a wonderful visual aid that brings to life the archaeological sites you may visit around the city.