The Upper City was part of the ancient Jerusalem, where the white marble villas and palaces of the very rich once stood. The Lower City was comprised of a limestone houses, situated along the  narrow  unpaved streets that sloped downward toward the Tyropean Valley, which ran through the center of Jerusalem.


During the Jerusalem's Second Temple period a huge bridge connected the Upper city to the Temple Mount. The visitors would walk  across the bridge to enter the grounds of the Temple platform.

 

























 

Wilson's Arch


In 1865, Captain Charles Wilson of the British Royal Engineers arrived in Jerusalem to study the hydraulic systems of ancient Jerusalem and carry out the important task of the mapping of the entire city. His work was made difficult by the fact that at that time the Holy City was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire.

City of Jerusalem Captain Wilson encountered hardly resembled the magnificent city described in the Bible. What he witnessed was an impoverished and dusty place that was all but forgotten by the rest of the world. "I was quite unprepared for the wild desolation of the scene around us" he commented.

Wilson's Arch 

                                                                Wilson's Arch, Jerusalem  

 While exploring the underground systems around the Temple Mount, Wilson uncovered a monumental arch to the left of the exposed portion of the Western Wall. Located at the northwestern corner of the Western Wall plaza, during the Herodian period the arch spanned 42 feet and along with other stone arches served as a support for a bridge that connected the Upper City to the Temple Mount platform. It also was used as a base for an aqueduct supplying water from Solomons Pools to the Temple Mount.

 Archeologists speculate that the bridge may have been destroyed in 70 CE ether by invading Romans hell bend on destroying Jerusalem or by the Jewish defenders who were trying to cut off invaders access to the Temple. After the 1967 Six Day War, Israel ended up with control over East Jerusalem and its holy sites previously denied to the Jews.

In 1968, Israeli archeologists began excavations around the Temple Mount including the northwestern portion, the location of the Wilson's Arch. It took many years to remove tons of rubble to unearth and expose the top portion of the arch as well as the rest of the Western Wall. In 2005, under the leadership of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, the renovation works began to make the arch space safe for thousands of worshipers who want to pray close to where the Holy Temple once stood.

At the present time the arch serves as a very large synagogue and accommodates for multiple prayer sessions at the same. It's not uncommon to see Bar Mitzvah ceremonies performed on the premises as well as a celebration of the Sabbath and Jewish holidays.