Holyland model of the city of Jerusalem

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The Holyland Model ( Hebrew דגם הולילנד, official name: דגם ירושלים בסוף ימי בית שני, model of Jerusalem at the end of the time of the Second Temple ) is a plastic city model of Jerusalem at the beginning of the Jewish War . The reference year is AD 66.

The 1:50 scale model was created from 1962 on an approximately 25 × 40 meter (940 square meter) area of ​​the Holyland Hotel in Jerusalem and was opened to the public in 1966, still unfinished.

The city model achieved its greatest popularity from the 1980s until the beginning of the Second Intifada . During this time there were 300,000 visitors annually. Photos of structures from the Holyland model are used to illustrate books dealing with ancient Israel or the New Testament . The image of the temple house became so popular that later representations of this building are dependent on Avi-Yonah's design.

In 2006, the model was rebuilt on the campus of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, adjacent to the Shrine of the Book .

General view of the Holyland model from the south (2012)



The emergence of the Holyland model is closely related to the political situation in Israel between 1948 and 1967. The Zionist pioneers in the time before the founding of the state of Israel had little to do with the old city of Jerusalem . That changed with the War of Independence . The battle for Jerusalem cost many victims on both sides; after that the old town was under Jordanian administration. The Jewish population had been expelled and their synagogues vandalized. As a result, a strong emotional bond with Jerusalem developed in the Israeli public after 1948. But until 1967 it was impossible for Israelis to visit the Old City.

"If Jews cannot go to the holy places, the holy places will come to them."

- Hans Kroch

The German-Jewish building contractor Hans Kroch had the idea of ​​a large city model of ancient Jerusalem as a cultural and tourist element for his hotel complex (1959 Eretz Hatzvi "Hirschland", renamed Holyland before 1966 ) in the Jerusalem suburb of Bayit veGan and won the archaeologist Michael in 1962 Avi-Yonah from the Hebrew University for implementing this project. Hans Kroch made the site available and financed the construction and maintenance of the system. With this he wanted to erect a memorial to his son who died in the War of Independence in 1948.


The model was based on the scientific expertise of Michael Avi-Yonah, who was considered a specialist in the Second Temple period . His wife, the painter Eva Avi-Yonah , designed the building. Because the old town was not accessible to him, Avi-Yonah mainly used ancient source texts and older excavation reports. As a compensation, the Avi-Yonahs visited ancient cities in the Mediterranean area together. Eva Avi-Yonah built a collection of architectural drawings of Hellenistic and Roman buildings over three years , which were subsequently used to design the models of important buildings in Jerusalem.

Prototype: City model of Rome

When the couple Avi-Yonah toured Rome, they studied the model of the city at the time of Emperor Constantine (scale 1: 250), on which Italo Gismondi worked from 1935 to 1971. Originally created for the Mostra Augustea della Romanità , it has been in the Museo della Civiltà Romana since 1955 and was a model of the Jerusalem model. This concerned, for example, the somewhat disproportionate display of the hills and valleys and the width of the streets; both made orientation easier for the viewer.

The model of imperial Rome was based on extensive source studies and excavations, but gaps remained that had to be hypothetically filled. Because Gismondi was considered an expert and the reconstructions of well-known buildings were convincing, this also gave the hypothetical parts of the model credibility. Above all, however, so the thesis of Yael Padan, the model of imperial Rome confirmed an image of ancient civilization that was available in the collective memory . The city models of Rome and Jerusalem agree on this point: “Each of them depicts a period of the distant past believed to embody the prime of the nation, and supports the projection of that prime onto current interpretations of collective identity . "

Reference year 66 AD

“Just as Jerusalem was reaching the height of its splendor, the Jews rose against Roman rule. In 66 the Zealot uprising began . This quickly spread to Jerusalem, where the Roman garrison was soon eliminated and the vassal Agrippas II (sic!) Was expelled. But the joy of the initial military successes against the ancient superpower was premature. "

- Gil Yaron

This narrative underlies the Holyland Model, also at its current location on the Israel Museum campus. Jerusalem was therefore a flourishing metropolis in the reference year. Cleavage of the Zelotenbewegung in the year 66 by the murder of a discharged from this narrative Messiah occurring Menahem . The uprising in an almost hopeless situation is rated positively in the narrative. The year 66 AD, like the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto , stands for the manifestation of unbroken morality, according to Maya Balakirsky Katz, and this inner attitude is an important element of the national ethos in today's State of Israel.

Golgathafelsen, in the background Antonia Castle: sites of Christian tradition (Holyland model)


The following ancient sources were evaluated by Michael Avi-Yonah for the city model:

A pamphlet written by Avi-Yonah and Tsafrir also stated: "Local traditions on the location of holy places in Jerusalem were also taken into account." Annabel Jane Wharton interpreted this sentence to mean that certain details, such as the Golgotha ​​rock , are only included for the sake of the expected visitors the model had been included. The fact that Michael Avi-Yonah drew on both Jewish and Christian traditions in the reconstruction made his model Jerusalem a common space for Jews and Christians; Because of this basic decision, Avi-Yonah's city model was recognized by the academic public.

Combination of Josephus and archaeological data

The Phasael, Hippikos and Mariamne towers (from left to right); in the foreground the palace of Herod (Holyland model)
Tower of David of the Citadel, identified by Avi-Yonah with the Phasael Tower (Tower of David Museum, exterior view from Armenian Patriarchate Street , Jerusalem)

The ancient writings mentioned above are not equally productive for the reconstruction of the city. Flavius ​​Josephus described a number of buildings and the course of the walls in detail. For Josephus takes the reader on a tour of the city and makes him familiar with the scenes that were important in the Jewish War; that determines his selection. In addition to the temple area, he was particularly interested in three areas of the city: the ensemble of the three towers Hippikos, Phasael and Mariamne, the palace of Herod and the castle Antonia. These buildings had a double character, they contained luxurious living spaces, but also had military significance.

Herod's residential towers and palace

For Avi-Yonah the task arose of extracting a picture of the respective building from the text of Josephus and to bring this into harmony with the archaeological data.

The tower of David of the citadel, which still exists today and contains stone layers from the time of Herod, had to be identified with one of the three residential towers. There were different proposals for this. Cedric N. Johns (1950) also dug in the area of ​​the palace and found a piece of wall and two tower foundations with typical Herodian bosses .

Avi-Yonah identified the Phasael Tower with the Tower of David and saw the towers found by Johns not as residential towers, but as parts of the city wall. A peculiarity of the reconstruction of Avi-Yonah is that he connected the three residential towers with walls and thus turned them into a separate defense structure. This would have made strategic sense, but the connecting walls are not documented in the sources, and so far there have been no archaeological finds of either the Hippikos and Mariamne towers, as he localized them, or of the walls.

For the palace of Herod Avi-Yonah was able to fall back on the excavations of Kelso and Baramki (1950) as well as Detweiler and Pritchard (1951) in Jericho : he doubled a Herodian villa uncovered there during the reconstruction of the Jerusalem palace in order to bring it into line with the Bring building description of Josephus. This created an elongated complex of two palaces facing each other on the narrow sides and in between a large park framed by colonnades with an oval water basin in the center.

Antonia Castle
Antonia Castle on the northwest corner of Temple Square (Holyland model)
Stone pavement of the forum of the Aelia Capitolina ; identified as a lithostroton in the Christian tradition (Ecce Homo convention of the Chemin Neuf community , Jerusalem)

The Antonia was used to control the temple square; Josephus described them in detail. However, his size specifications are considered exaggerated, the description is not always clear. The castle used an existing rock plateau.

The Holyland model follows a no longer tenable reconstruction, which was first presented by Barnabas Meistermann at the beginning of the 20th century. According to him, the Antonia was a monumental four-towered complex, also called the judgment hall of Pilate had served. That would make it a scene of the passion story . Remnants of their building stock have been preserved in the Flagellatio Chapel and in the monastery of the Sisters of Sion (today: Chemin Neuf Community ). The stone slabs of the so-called Lithostroton (ancient Greek το λιθόστρωτον, Joh 19,13  LUT ) were a part of the inner courtyard. The Dominican priest and archaeologist Louis-Hugues Vincent popularized this interpretation in several publications since the 1930s. Vincent went so far as to interpret the doodles of a Basilinda game on this pavement as a pastime for the soldiers who would have guarded Jesus of Nazareth here after his conviction. This interpretation, which is of interest to Christian pilgrims, requires the assumption of a great Antonia, as can be seen in the Holyland model.

In fact, building fabric from the time of Herod could only be proven on the trapezoidal rock plateau. Today (as of 2018) one therefore assumes a significantly smaller castle.

Combination of Josephus and Mishnah

A second abundant source was available to Avi-Yonah at the temple area, the Mishnah tract of Middot from the beginning of the 3rd century AD. This book aims to record the orally transmitted knowledge about the temple buildings. Middot mixed memories of the destroyed temple with ideal ideas of how a future temple should be designed (temple design in the book of Ezekiel ). It is also to be expected that the Talmudic sources (including Middot) describe buildings as they looked before Herod's construction work. Avi-Yonah found the information from the Mishnah to be more reliable than Josephus' idealization of the structure after its destruction; therefore the temple of the Holyland model is as a whole a transposition of the description in Mishnah Middot with the addition of some details from Josephus' description of the temple.

How Avi-Yonah synthesized both sources for his model is shown by the example of the so-called women's forecourt, as described in the museum brochure from 1966. This courtyard was the area in which Jewish men and women could participate in the cult activities in the temple; Although the men were allowed to advance to the next inner courtyard, they only had a narrow strip of the courtyard behind a barrier.

The information from Josephus (Jewish War 5,198-206) is underlined , the information from the Mishnah (Middot II 5) is in italics , with Middot going into more detail than the museum guide explains.

Women's Courtyard (Holyland Model)

The courtyard was square in plan . Access was from the east through the beautifully decorated gate (name: Acts 3,2  LUT , but without localization; Josephus: Corinthian gate made of ore ). In each of the four corners of the courtyard there was a square "chamber" (Josephus: surrounding treasure chambers behind columned halls ), each of which had its own courtyard (this corresponds to the temple vision in Ez 46.21  LUT ). These divided areas had the following functions:

  • In the southeast: contact point for people who a Nazarite had taken -Gelübde;
  • In the northwest: ritual bath for people who have been healed from leprosy;
  • In the northeast: wood storage;
  • In the southwest: oil depot.

The courtyard had columned halls and galleries all around , from where the women could watch the services . On the west side was the great Nikanor gate , famous for a legend , with two side gates . It was the only temple gate made of copper and not gold (Middot II 3; Josephus, on the other hand: it had thick silver and gold coverings ), but it was particularly valuable . For Nicanor Gate led a semi-circular staircase of 15 steps up, on which the Levites to make music cultivated .

Quotes from ancient buildings in the Mediterranean

Old Hasmonean Royal Palace (Holyland Model)

A number of buildings in Jerusalem are mentioned in the sources, some are localized, but not described in detail.

In the first version of the museum guide, which was supposed to explain the Holyland model, Michael Avi-Yonah disclosed many of his decisions about the representation of striking buildings, which from an archaeological point of view had great gaps in knowledge. One example is the old Hasmonean Royal Palace in the Upper Town. Avi-Yonah oriented itself here on the layout of the palace of Ptolemais in the Cyrenaica and added facade elements of the Nabatean tombs in Petra . But this version of the museum guide did not appear in print. The brochure, printed in 1966, presented the architecture of the palace model as a set of facts.

The general public also believed that the city model was a reflection of ancient reality, while for those in the know it became an intellectual sport to discover the architectural quotes in the Holyland model. Yoram Tsafrir explained these “private little games, private little riddles” in an interview in 2010: Avi-Yonah, for example, decorated the Jerusalem market with pavilions made of Leptis Magna , the Jerusalem theater is a true copy of the Orange theater , and he has copied the hippodrome designed a mosaic that he saw in Barcelona .

Temple facade

Michael Avi-Yonah explained his reconstruction of the temple facade to a specialist audience in 1968. Source texts only played a subordinate role and there could be no archaeological finds in this case.

Avi-Yonah was reluctant to accept Josephus' claim that the facade was covered with gold plates. Rather, its reconstruction followed a remark by Josephus elsewhere that the temple house looked like a snow-capped mountain glistening in the sun from a distance. That is why Avi-Yonah mainly used marble for the wall surfaces and gold to highlight individual architectural details. How the temple house looks if the Josephus text is taken strictly literally can be studied using the model by Leen Ritmeyer in the Yeshiva University Museum.

When designing the temple facade, Avi-Yonah assumed that the Bar Kochba (132/135 AD) was struck. Because neither Josephus nor the Mishnah give details of the facade design, apart from a very high, open gate through which one could see into the vestibule of the sanctuary.

The coin shows a building with a flat roof and four columns. According to the sources, the temple house was about 50 meters high; for technical reasons, columns of this size were not considered. Avi-Yonah owed an alternative model for the design of the temple facade to the Temple of Bel in Palmyra . The narrow side of the Cella in Palmyra was divided by two Blend pillars at the corners and two blend columns at the same distance therebetween. Avi-Yonah undertook this arrangement for the temple facade in Jerusalem. The half-columns can be interpreted as a reminiscence of the two free-standing columns in front of the Solomonic Temple - as Jachin and Boas they were typical facade decorations of synagogues. By choosing pink marble, this pair of half-columns is also visually highlighted on the facade of the model.

The central object on the Bar Kochba coin is often interpreted as the Ark of the Covenant , which Avi-Yonah did not find convincing. Because the ark no longer existed at the time of the Second Temple. A comparison with a fresco in the synagogue of Dura-Europos, which also depicts the temple facade, helped here. You can clearly see a double door under a cone . Avi-Yonah remembered that, according to the sources, one could see through the high portal into the temple house and there in the semi-darkness the gold-plated double doors to the inner sanctuary could be recognized. The double door from Dura-Europos was adopted as the door to the inner sanctuary in the Holyland model. Finally, Avi-Yonah pointed out the arched decoration of the flat roof that can be seen on the fresco. He adopted this pewter jewelry in his temple model, but in the form it was made in Palmyra, for example also on the front of the Bel Temple.

Realization in the park of the Holyland Hotel

The model was built in the park of the Holyland Hotel by a team under the direction of the Haifa sculptor Erwin Schaeffler on a scale of 1:50, after his death (before 1966) Rolf Brutzen continued the work and made later revisions with Baruch Engelhardt. As experienced model builders, they were responsible for the bulk of the simple houses themselves; Eva Avi-Yonah had designed some templates for this, which she varied. Haim Peretz took care of the small repairs that were constantly necessary on the model. The dwelling houses were built up by the model builders from millions of individual stones, the columns were put together from several parts according to the ancient model.

In building the model, materials were used that were believed to have been used in the ancient city: limestone ( Meleke ) for normal houses, marble for Herod's palace and for the temple, gold for the capitals of the columns and for the inner temple gates, copper for the Nikanor gate, as well as bronze, iron and wood. According to Yoram Tsafrir, the preciousness of the materials contributed a lot to the credibility of the reconstruction. The frequent use of marble as a building material, attested by Flavius ​​Josephus, could not be confirmed by archeology and is considered unlikely. But since a marble palace and a marble temple met the public's expectations of the size of the city of Jerusalem better than limestone, the choice of the probably wrong building material did not detract from the credibility.

While the construction of the plant, beginning with the city walls, progressed slowly, from 1964 onwards the press was more frequent guests to inspect completed parts.

When Chancellor Konrad Adenauer visited Israel from May 2 to 9, 1966 at the invitation of the Israeli government, the new Holyland model was presented to him. It was included in the program at short notice because a planned tour of the Zionberg had to be canceled for safety reasons. Israeli President Zalman Shazar visited the Holyland model in April 1967. Historical footage from May 1967 shows that the model city was still unfinished when it was presented to a group of students.

The model is moved to the Israel Museum

Since the beginning of the Second Intifada in 2000, tourism in Israel has declined and visitor interest in the Holyland model has noticeably decreased. Hillel Charney, a grandson of Hans Kroch, explained to Haaretz in 2004 that the owners were planning to build apartment towers ( Holyland Park ) in the vicinity of the Holyland Hotel. (This major project was the focus of the so-called Holyland Affair .) Therefore, a new location had to be found for the model.

Charney turned to the Israel Museum about it. Museum director James Snyder was very interested, because they were planning an underground study center for the Shrine of the Book , which was located on the edge of the extensive museum campus, behind an as yet undeveloped open space. There was enough space there for the Holyland model. On August 4, 2004, the agreement to move the model was signed between the Holyland Tourism Company and the Israel Museum. Snyder anticipated that the Holyland model at the new location would be upgraded from a mere tourist destination to a “cultural artifact at the intersection of archeology and history”.

From September 2005 the model was sawn into 100 parts, transported five kilometers and reassembled in the open air in front of the Shrine of the Book. The Holyland Tourism Company paid for the entire move of the model (cost: over 20 million shekels ). The facility was opened to visitors on June 12, 2006. The model continues to be owned by Holyland Tourism Company, which takes care of the maintenance and shares in the ticket revenue; This means that the Charney family also retains the power to make changes to the model.


Southwest stairway to the temple (Holyland model, 2014)
South-west staircase to the temple (Museum of the Citadel of David, 2011)

The Holyland model reflects the level of knowledge at the time of its creation. It is controversial whether new excavation results require modifications to the model. The model was corrected again and again at individual points and thus turned into an “architectural palimpsest ”, which, however, could not prevent the model and today's level of knowledge from drifting further apart.

This can be seen in the southwest corner of the temple. Here, the model has been revised after the large staircase that led up to the basilica became better known through Benjamin Mazar's excavations. However, a comparison with the reconstruction in the Museum of the Citadel of David shows what progress archeology has made since then.

Michael Avi-Yonah

Soon after the Old City became accessible to Israeli archaeologists in 1967, large-scale excavations began there, by Nahman Avigad in the Jewish Quarter ( house of the Qathros family and Herodian Quarter ) and by Benjamin Mazar at the Western Wall . Avi-Yonah was convinced that the model had to be adapted to the new state of knowledge with a hammer in hand: He tore down some walls and changed the course of bridges and stairs.

Yoram Tsafrir (from 1974)

As a student of Avi-Yonah, Yoram Tsafrir was asked by Elsa Cherni, the daughter of Hans Kroch, to continue to look after the model scientifically after Avi-Yonah's death. Tsafrir agreed. He saw the model as a half scientific, half artistic creation, on which he only wanted to complete the revisions that Avi-Yonah had started.

Tsafrir emphasized the educational value of the model, in which individual buildings (such as the palaces in the City of David ) were highlighted by an unusual architectural style and groups of buildings (such as the mansions of the Upper City by their tiled roofs) were marked as belonging together. This should arouse the curiosity of the viewer and therefore make sense, regardless of whether there were already roof tiles in Jerusalem in the year 66 (which is unlikely).

Tsafrir's reluctance to adapt to newer research fits well with the position of the Cherni family, who saw the model from a commercial point of view and feared that any corrections to the model would damage its credibility.

Israel Museum (from 2006)

The director of the Israel Museum did not rule out corrections to the model in principle, but emphasized that the Holyland model did not primarily convey an exact picture of the archaeological knowledge of the ancient city:

“Right, archaeologists created it, but we don't see the model as a representation of archeology, but more as a work of art that was created in a certain situation for an ideological purpose: to bring modern Israel to those 'existential rocks' of ancient Israel which was not accessible at the time [when the model was created]. "

- James Snyder : Haaretz, January 19, 2006

One correction discussed in connection with the relocation of the model was the removal of the magnificent hippodrome that Avi-Yonah had created according to the mentions in Flavius ​​Josephus. No archaeological investigation has yet been able to confirm the existence of such a structure. The hippodrome was eventually removed from the city model.

Simplified mosaic map of the Holyland model on the Israel Museum campus. The map is geosted
Jerusalem in the 1st century AD


The museum guide, published in 1966, contains two plans of the entire city model, one of the Temple Mount and one of the temple. Most of the 39 numbered “sights” are illustrated in the text with sketches by Eva Avi-Yonah.


In the north, from the northeast corner of the temple to the three towers of the Herodian royal palace, the so-called Third Wall, which was built around the new town in 44 AD, runs into the quarry area with the rock identified by Christian tradition as Golgotha City included. It had previously been out of town. In the interior of the new town the second wall runs in an arch and encloses markets and workshops in the Tyropoion valley. Since it had to be created without archaeological findings, the reconstruction of the Neustadt is largely hypothetical.

Striking buildings in the new town:

Upper Town

This was the best residential area in ancient Jerusalem, the residential area of ​​the priestly aristocracy . The upper town, together with the temple area, occupies the central area of ​​the city. Avi-Yonah gave this quarter a Hellenistic-Roman character. The houses are grouped into insulae in a right-angled street network.

Striking buildings in the upper town:

Lower town

In the area of ​​the south-west corner of the temple , extensive excavations took place after the model was built, which greatly changed the image one has of this area.

Striking buildings in the lower town:

  • Town hall with Xystus;
  • Hippodrome (location hypothetical, distant);
  • Pool of Siloam surrounded by gardens and workshops.

City of David

The City of David is located south of today's old city walls of Jerusalem, but was part of the city in ancient times and historically even its nucleus. Avi-Yonah's model shows the following buildings:


Temple Square in the Holyland model (view from the east)

The second temple had monumental enclosing walls. After passing through one of the gates, before stepping out onto the temple square, the visitor stood in one of the porticoed halls around the outside (in the south in front of the royal basilica ). The temple square, which was very large by ancient standards, was the so-called forecourt of the heathen, open to everyone. It also served as a forum for the city. A balustrade (see: Warning inscription from the Herodian Temple ) delimited the inner area, which only members of the Jewish religious community were allowed to enter, and this was further differentiated inwardly: for Jewish women and men - only for men - only for priests . In the middle stood the actual temple house.

The north-west corner of the temple square is optically dominated in the model by the Antonia Castle . Their purpose was to monitor the temple square and the crowds that gathered there.


National and religious context at the Holyland Hotel location

The model has often been visited by Israeli school classes and groups of soldiers since 1967. It should make it easier for young Israelis to understand the Old City of Jerusalem and a study of the model was considered in didactic literature as a useful preparation for the first visit to East Jerusalem.

Not representative, but nevertheless remarkable, is that both the reporter from Spiegel 1966 who accompanied Konrad Adenauer (“a kind of Holy Disneyland”) and the film team from British Pathé 1967 were alienated by the Jerusalem model.

On the other hand, many people felt very drawn to Avi-Yonah's creation. Annabel Jane Wharton distinguished between various visitor interests: Many Israelis said this Jerusalem in the year of its heyday was more understandable than the real Old City, which has been accessible to them again since 1967. Christian pilgrims would see the city that Jesus knew and in which the early community had taken its form - a possibility to distance themselves from the Byzantine imperial church or from the crusaders , whose traces are visible in today's Jerusalem.

Maya Balakirsky Katz saw the layout of the city model as a sublime aggressive message against the historical background of the devastated Jewish quarter in the old town, which was inaccessible to Israelis. The “modern” upper town in the model was highlighted by Michael Avi-Yonah with its uniform red roofs and contrasted with the more oriental houses in the other districts. Balakirsky Katz interpreted it as a Jewish residential area, expanded to twice the size of the historical Jewish quarter .

Nicolas Poussin: The Destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, 1625/26 (Israel Museum)

National and secular context at the Israel Museum location

Masterworks of Beauty and Sanctity

In the Masterworks of Beauty and Sanctity exhibition in 2005, just before the Holyland Model moved, the Israel Museum recalled its 40-year history, addressing the transition from religious to aesthetic perception in a number of ways. The museum owns objects that were originally revered as sacred or that were used in rituals. They are robbed of this holiness in the context of the museum. Conversely, a work of art, according to Walter Benjamin , is surrounded by an aura ; the encounter of the museum visitor with this unique object lets him experience enchantment and inspiration - which comes close to a religious experience.

The Jerusalem Temple as the holiest site in Judaism was also explicitly addressed in Masterworks of Beauty and Sanctity . The central exhibit in this part of the exhibition was a painting by Nicolas Poussin on the subject of the destruction and looting of the Jerusalem Temple. It showed that the temple continued to fascinate artists long after it was destroyed. But since the painting is one of the treasures of the Israel Museum, a circle is closed: the temple is part of the cultural heritage of secular Israel. This prepared the ground for the presentation of the Holyland model: it no longer had to depict the “Holy City” without errors, but could now be recognized as a work of art.

Permanent exhibition

The Holyland model is incorporated into the overall concept of the Israel Museum in two ways: it can be related to the Shrine of the Book, or the nationally significant buildings in the vicinity of the Israel Museum become the theme.

Across from the Shrine of the Book

Placed in this new context, the Holyland model can be interpreted as the architectural self-portrayal of the ancient upper class, who shaped the city with its monumental buildings and villas and had their point of reference in the temple, and stands in contrast to the group whose writings are the shrine of the book contains, a community that had turned away from the luxury of the city and the temple cult. In the interpretation of the Israel Museum, these are the Essenes .

Surrounded by the "temples" of the modern state

Another possible interpretation that arises at the new location is the reference to the temple-like buildings (architecturally or because of their importance) that now surround the Herodian Temple as neighbors: the Knesset , the Israel Museum, the National Library , the Supreme Court of justice . Yael Padam writes that the model “participates in the construction of a modern narrative of national identity based on a collective myth of origin and making use of replicas of ancient cultural heritage sites”.

Reception of the temple house

"Help build the Third Temple through works of kindness and kindness." (Chabad Center at Cardo in Jerusalem's Old City, poster above the entrance, 2012)
Temple model under plexiglass on the roof of the Aish haTorah yeshiva

The temple house of the Holyland model had its own history of impact, in which it was often taken out of the context of the city model. The spectrum ranges from commercial use, predominantly in the evangelical milieu and in the United States, through various Orthodox Jewish currents, to religiously motivated political extremism.

The main attraction of the amusement park Holy Land Experience in Orlando (Florida) is a "Great Temple" including an inner courtyard on a 1: 1 scale, which cannot deny the similarity to the Jerusalem Holyland model. There are less expensive replicas in various places in the United States, as well as all kinds of souvenirs with the temple motif. Avi-Yonah's Temple has been quoted by Masonic screensavers and CD covers with evangelical music.

The Chabad movement took the Holyland Temple, detached from its context of ancient Jerusalem, into its iconography as an image for the hoped-for Third Temple. Yael Avi-Yonah, Michael and Eva Avi-Yonah's daughter, who died in 2012, was influenced by Kabbalah as an artist and was close to Chabad. The temple was one of her frequent motifs, with the Second Temple modeled after the Holyland model, the Third Temple, however, as an " anaglyphic " vision.

Aish haTorah is an Orthodox yeshiva that runs large-scale outreach programs aimed at recruiting secular Jews to the religion. This religious institution commissioned the model maker Michael Osani to build a temple model on a scale of 1:60. Here, too, investments were made in “authentic” building materials: gold, silver, wood and Jerusalem stone (no marble). The artist made a number of corrections to the Temple of Holyland, but the similarity is evident. This model was installed on the roof of the then unfinished Aish haTorah Center near the Western Wall in 2009 . The fact that you can see the Dome of the Rock in the background when looking at the model should not be a political statement, said Yeshiva director Hillel Weinberg of the Jerusalem Post . It should be made easier for the prayer to connect with the temple and to focus on the holy of holies .

The Temple Institute in Jerusalem's old town has a comparable model that makes some corrections to the Holyland Temple and remains very similar to it. In the 1980s, the extremist group Yisrael HaTzair distributed postcards of modern Jerusalem in which a photomontage replaced the Dome of the Rock with the Temple of the Holyland Model. According to Gil Yaron , the “white and gold marble temple” appeared on photomontages by Jewish and Christian extremists who anticipated the dawn of the end times .


The Holyland model can be used to devalue the urban development of Jerusalem after the reference year 66: Menashe Har-El had developed didactic materials in 1969 to use the Holyland model to convey to Israeli students the appreciation of ancient Jerusalem before they went for the first time came to East Jerusalem and were able to gain their own impressions there. In 2004, in the book Golden Jerusalem , he recommended the same approach to a larger audience: the old city of Jerusalem should only be visited after studying the Holyland model. That is a condition for correctly assessing the buildings in the current old town.

Such an image of history did not go unchallenged at the new location in the Israel Museum. In 2006, the exhibition Mini Israel - 70 Models, 45 Artists, One Space juxtaposed two model building attractions, the Holyland model and Mini-Israel , with works of art that also depicted aspects of everyday life in Israel in miniature format. Many looked at the country's political and social problems. The idea for this came from Larry Abramson , who is also the curator of this exhibition. The idealized models of national history and present should be contrasted with individual designs.

Larry Abramson's criticism was primarily directed against the Mini-Israel theme park, but can also be related to the Holyland model:

“The power of the model is that it draws a map ... The model shows you what is important and what is not; the model tells you what to look for in reality; but there is so much to see in reality. "

- Larry Abramson

Web links


  • Michael Avi-Yonah: The façade of Herod's Temple, an attempted reconstruction. In: Jacob Neusner (ed.): Religions in Antiquity: Essays in Memory of Erwin Ramsdell Goodenough , Brill, Leiden 1968, ISBN 1-59244-743-0 , pp. 327-335. (on-line)
  • Maya Balakirsky Katz: Avi Yonah's Model of Second Temple Jerusalem and the Development of Israeli Visual Culture. In: Steven Fine (ed.): The Temple of Jerusalem: From Moses to the Messiah (FS Louis H. Feldman), Brill, Leiden 2011, ISBN 978-90-04-19253-9 , pp. 349-364.
  • Katharina Galor : The Temple of Jerusalem: For the glory of God and the King. In: World and Environment of the Bible . 70 (4/2013), pp. 58-61.
  • Menashe Har-El: Golden Jerusalem . Gefen Publishing House, Jerusalem 2004, ISBN 965-229-254-0 , pp. 57-84. (The book is a revised version of: This is Jerusalem, which appeared from 1969 to 2004 in 22 runs . It contained an attachment: A Didactic guidebook to the Second Temple Model .)
  • Hans Kroch: A Short Guide to the Model of Ancient Jerusalem . Holyland Hotel, Jerusalem 1966. (online)
  • Max Küchler : Jerusalem. A handbook and study guide to the Holy City. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-525-50170-2 .
  • Yael Padan: Modelscapes of nationalism: collective memories and future visions . Amsterdam University Press, 2017, ISBN 978-90-8964-985-0 .
  • Peter Schertz, Steven Fine: Luke 22:53: “When I Was With You Daily in the Temple” - What did the Jerusalem Temple Look Like in the Time of Jesus? Some Reflections on the Façade of Herod's Temple. In: R. Steven Notley, Jeffrey P. García: The Gospels in First-Century Judaea. Proceedings of the Inaugural Conference of Nyack College's Graduate Program in Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins, August 28th, 2013 . Brill, Leiden 2016, ISBN 978-90-04-30044-6 , pp. 136-144.
  • Annabell Jane Wharton: Selling Jerusalem: Relics, Replicas, Theme Parks . University of Chicago Press 2006, ISBN 0-226-89422-3 .
  • Gil Yaron : Jerusalem. A historical and political city guide . CH Beck, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-89331-836-0 . (Licensed edition for the Federal Agency for Civic Education , Bonn 2008)

Individual evidence

  1. דגם הולילנד, דגם של ירושלים ובית המקדש בימי בית שני. Retrieved March 14, 2018 (Hebrew).
  2. Yael Padan: Model Landscapes of nationalism . S. 81 .
  3. a b c d e f Esther Grabiner: The Double Urban Impact of a Model of Ancient Jerusalem. Retrieved on March 15, 2018 (As film recordings show, the model was not yet completed in May 1967; nevertheless, the time of creation 1962–1966 is generally given in the literature.).
  4. a b Amiram Barkat: Famed Second Temple Model Moving From Holyland Hotel to Israel Museum. Retrieved March 13, 2018 .
  5. Yael Padan: Model Landscapes of nationalism . S. 100 .
  6. Maya Balakirsky Katz: Avi Yonah's Model of Second Temple Jerusalem . S. 349-350 .
  7. Gil Yaron: Jerusalem . S. 38 .
  8. Gil Yaron: Jerusalem . S. 61, 151, 154 .
  9. Maya Balakirsky Katz: Avi Yonah's Model of Second Temple Jerusalem . S. 350–351 : "If Jews cannot get to the holy places, the holy places will come to them."
  10. ^ The Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period. In: Israel Museum. Retrieved March 12, 2018 .
  11. Yael Padan: Model Landscapes of nationalism . S. 79 .
  12. Yael Padan: Model Landscapes of nationalism . S. 81-82 .
  13. ^ A b Yael Padan: Modelscapes of nationalism . S. 84 : "Each of them represents a period in the distant past which is believed to epitomize national glory, and supports a projection of this glory onto contemporaneous interpretations of collective identity."
  14. Gil Yaron: Jerusalem . S. 28-29 .
  15. ^ The Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period. Retrieved March 15, 2018 (English): “The Second Temple Jerusalem Model recreates the city of 66 CE at the height of its glory… At the heart of this impressive city stands the Temple Mount. … A closer look reveals the uniquely Jewish character of Jerusalem. ... The magnificence of the city as it replicated in the model did not last for long. "
  16. Martin Hengel: The Zealots: Investigations on the Jewish freedom movement in the time of Herod I. to 70 AD. 2nd edition. Brill, Leiden 1976, ISBN 90-04-04327-6 , pp. 5, 372 .
  17. Maya Balakirsky Katz: Avi Yonah's Model of Second Temple Jerusalem . S. 352 : "Despite Jewish defeat, the preference to record the unflagging Jewish spirit forms a vital part of the national ethos of modern-day Israel."
  18. Annabel Jane Wharton: Selling Jerusalem . S. 221 (Quotation from the brochure: Pictorial Guide to the Model of Ancient Jerusalem at the Time of the Second Temple in the Grounds of the Holy Land Hotel Jerusalem, Israel): “Local traditions about the location of holy sites in Jerusalem were also taken into account. "
  19. Maya Balakirsky Katz: Avi Yonah's model of Second Temple Jerusalem . S. 351 : "The model achieved a level of admiration from the academic community, partly because Avi-Yonah's historical inclusion and equitable treatment of both Jewish and Christian sources."
  20. Tower of David Museum. Retrieved March 26, 2018 .
  21. Oliver Gussmann: The Priestly Understanding of Flavius ​​Josephus (=  Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 124 ). Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-16-149562-5 , p. 327 .
  22. Hans Kroch: A Short Guide to the Model of Ancient Jerusalem . S. 4 .
  23. a b Max Küchler: Jerusalem . S. 499 .
  24. ^ Lee I. Levine: Jerusalem: Portrait of the City in the Second Temple Period . Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 2002, ISBN 0-8276-0750-4 , pp. 201 (Information from Michael Avi-Yonah, oral.).
  25. Hans Kroch: A Short Guide of the Model of Ancient Jerusalem . S. 5 (architectural sketch by Hava Avi-Yonah).
  26. ^ Lithostrotos & Basilica. Accessed March 26, 2018 .
  27. Flavius ​​Josephus: Jewish War . tape 5 , no. 238-247 .
  28. a b c Max Küchler: Jerusalem . S. 1041 .
  29. Barnabas Master Man OFM: Nouveau guide de Terre Sainte. 1907, p. 96 , accessed on March 22, 2018 (French).
  30. Max Küchler: Jerusalem . S. 394-395 .
  31. Hans Kroch: A Short Guide to the Model of Ancient Jerusalem . S. 14 (English): “Inside the fortress were two courts; the western was paved with stones and is traditionally regarded as the Lithostrotos of John 19: 3. Both courts were surrounded by cloisters and resembled a palace. "
  32. Max Küchler: Jerusalem . S. 352-354 .
  33. ^ Klaus Bieberstein: Jerusalem. In: The scientific Bible dictionary on the Internet. 2016, p. 82 , accessed on March 17, 2018 : “[Of the Antonia there are only] a slightly trapezoidal worked rock plateau (west-east length 112–120 m, north-south width 40–45 m, height up to 10 m) with a The moat to the north and the remains of the south wall from Herodian times have been preserved. "
  34. Katharina Galor: The Temple of Jerusalem . S. 59 .
  35. Eyal Ben-Eliyahu: Models of the Temple at Jerusalem. In: The Reception of Josephus in Jewish Culture. University of Oxford, November 21, 2015, accessed March 21, 2018 .
  36. Hans Kroch: A Short Guide to the Model of Ancient Jerusalem . S. 12–13 (illustration of the Nikanor gate on p. 11).
  37. Hans Kroch: A Short Guide to the Model of Ancient Jerusalem . S. 5 .
  38. Yael Padan: Model Landscapes of nationalism . S. 87 .
  39. The Market pavilions. In: Bible History Online. Retrieved March 18, 2018 .
  40. Yael Padan: Model Landscapes of nationalism . S. 86 .
  41. The Hippodrome. In: Bible History Online. Retrieved March 18, 2018 .
  42. a b Peter Schertz, Steven Fine: Luke 22:53 . S. 141 .
  43. Hans Kroch: A Short Guide to the Model of Ancient Jerusalem . S. 14 .
  44. ^ Imagining the Temple: The Models of Leen Ritmeyer. Retrieved March 20, 2018 .
  45. Hans Kroch: A Short Guide to the Model of Ancient Jerusalem . S. 13 .
  46. Michael Avi-Yonah: The façade of Herod's Temple . S. 329-330 .
  47. Hans Kroch: A Short Guide to the Model of Ancient Jerusalem . S. 14 .
  48. Michael Avi-Yonah: The façade of Herod's Temple . S. 335 .
  49. ^ A b Yael Padan: Modelscapes of nationalism . S. 80 .
  50. Yael Padan: Model Landscapes of nationalism . S. 90 .
  51. Yael Padan: Model Landscapes of nationalism . S. 92 .
  52. Yael Padan: Model Landscapes of nationalism . S. 89 (Zvi Lavie (Maariv) on November 20, 1964; Sheffi Gabbai (Davar) on March 19, 1965; Natan Ribon (Haaretz) on April 2, 1965; Netta Ephroni (Yediot Achronot) on March 24, 1965.).
  53. ^ A b Hermann Schreiber: Nations cannot forget. In: Der Spiegel 20/1966. P. 41 , accessed on March 19, 2018 .
  54. Yael Padan: Model Landscapes of nationalism . S. 98 .
  55. a b Pathe Color Pictorial CP 651. In: British Pathé. Retrieved on March 19, 2018 (English): "Various shots of the Model City of Jerusalem the Golden, reconstructed town of King Solomon (sic!) With children looking at it. Man points at various buildings and children look on. "
  56. ^ Etgar Levkovits: Second Temple Model moves to Israel Museum. Retrieved March 14, 2018 : "Snyder said that he conceives that the Model, in its new location next to the Dead Sea Scrolls, will be more than just a tourist destination, but will be elevated to the standing of a cultural artifact that intersects archeology and history. "
  57. ^ A b The Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period. In: Israel Museum. Retrieved March 12, 2018 .
  58. ^ A b Yael Padan: Modelscapes of nationalism . S. 117 .
  59. Maya Balakirsky Katz: Avi Yonah's Model of Second Temple Jerusalem . S. 354 .
  60. a b Amiram Barkat: The Temple Mount Will Be Towed Away at the End of January. In: Haaretz. Retrieved March 12, 2018 .
  61. Yael Padan: Model Landscapes of nationalism . S. 115 .
  62. Yael Padan: Model Landscapes of nationalism . S. 84 .
  63. ^ A b Yael Padan: Modelscapes of nationalism . S. 117 .
  64. Yael Padan: Model Landscapes of nationalism . S. 85 .
  65. Yael Padan: Model Landscapes of nationalism . S. 116 .
  66. Amiram Barkat: The Temple Mount Will Be Towed Away at the End of January. Retrieved March 13, 2018 (Snyder was referring to the “original stone” (אבן השתייה Even haShtiyah) with which, according to Jewish tradition, creation began and over which the holy of holies of the temple house is said to have been built): “True , the model was designed by archaeologists, but we see the model not as an archaeological representation, but rather as a work of art created at a certain time to serve an ideological purpose: to connect modern Israel with that 'existential rock' of ancient Israel , which during those years [when the model was built] was inaccessible. "
  67. Flavius ​​Josephus: Jewish antiquities . tape 17 , no. 255 .
  68. Flavius ​​Josephus: Jewish War . tape 2 , no. 44 .
  69. Hans Kroch: A Short Guide to the Model of Ancient Jerusalem. (PDF) Retrieved on March 21, 2018 (city maps, pp. 8–9 and 16; Tempelplatz, p. 10; Tempel, p. 13).
  70. a b Max Küchler: Jerusalem . S. 1040 .
  71. Max Küchler: Jerusalem . S. 611–612 (The location of the Kajaphas Palace at this point is first attested to by the monk Epiphanius, 10th / 11th centuries.).
  72. Max Küchler: Jerusalem . S. 81 .
  73. Max Küchler: Jerusalem . S. 555 (The Xystus in the vicinity of the Hasmonean Palace, mentioned several times by Josephus, can be translated as a covered promenade, avenue or a terrace designed with boxwood.).
  74. Max Küchler: Jerusalem . S. 555 (Küchler suggests the hypothesis that Herod had the theater and the hippodrome, two permanent structures built in honor of the emperor, possibly not of stone but of wood.).
  75. Katharina Galor: The Temple of Jerusalem . S. 61 .
  76. ^ A b Yael Padan: Modelscapes of nationalism . S. 98-99 .
  77. Annabel Jane Wharton: Selling Jerusalem . S. 221-222 .
  78. Annabel Jane Wharton: Selling Jerusalem . S. 222 .
  79. Maya Balakirsky Katz: Avi Yonah's Model of Second Temple Jerusalem . S. 352 .
  80. ^ A b The Beauty of Sanctity. In: The Israel Museum. 2005, accessed March 17, 2018 .
  81. Maya Balakirsky Katz: Avi Yonah's Model of Second Temple Jerusalem . S. 357-358 .
  82. Yael Padan: Model Landscapes of nationalism . S. 114 .
  83. Yael Padan: Model Landscapes of nationalism . S. 20 : "This modelscape thus partakes in the construction of the modern narrative of national identity, based on a collective myth of origin using representations of ancient heritage sites."
  84. a b Peter Schertz, Steven Fine: Luke 22:53 . S. 136 .
  85. ^ The Great Temple. In: The Holyland Experience. Retrieved March 30, 2018 .
  86. Maya Balakirsky Katz: Avi Yonah's Model of Second Temple Jerusalem . S. 349-350 .
  87. Maya Balakirsky Katz: The Visual Culture of Chabad . Cambridge University Press, New York 2010, ISBN 978-0-521-19163-0 , pp. 168 .
  88. ^ The Art of Yael Avi-Yonah. Retrieved March 31, 2018 .
  89. ^ The Art of Yael Avi-Yonah. Retrieved March 31, 2018 .
  90. Maya Balakirsky Katz: Avi Yonah's Model of Second Temple Jerusalem . S. 361 .
  91. Maya Balakirsky Katz: Avi Yonah's Model of Second Temple Jerusalem . S. 359 .
  92. Yonah Newman: Aish HaTorah installs Second Temple model opposite Western Wall. Retrieved March 13, 2018 .
  93. ^ Ben Sales: Laying the groundwork for a Third Temple in Jerusalem. In: The Times of Israel. July 16, 2013, accessed March 30, 2018 .
  94. Maya Balakirsky Katz: Avi Yonah's Model of Second Temple Jerusalem . S. 352 .
  95. Gil Yaron: Jerusalem . S. 27 .
  96. Menashe Har-El: Golden Jerusalem . S. 57 .
  97. Mini Israel - 70 models, 45 artists, One Space. In: The Israel Museum. Retrieved March 21, 2018 .
  98. Yael Padan: Model Landscapes of nationalism . S. 159 .

Coordinates: 31 ° 46 ′ 24 ″  N , 35 ° 12 ′ 8 ″  E