The Fourth Day – Herod’s Palace (Jerusalem)

I’m not convinced it was Herod’s Palace.

Map - Herod's Palace

But anyway, after eating lunch, we went around the corner from the square and into a tiny little shop-front, which had a staircase leading down.

01 - Time Travel

time travel is indeed possible

We found ourselves at the first of a complex of three excavated villas beneath the Jewish Quarter.

02 - Herod's Palace

this one was pitched to us as “Herod’s Villa”

03 - Oil Lamps

among the things excavated at the site are these oil lamps: early style on the left, later style on the right

04 - Centre House

the centre house. I remind you of the wedding at Cana: “large jars in keeping with the Jewish tradition”

05 - 2000-year-old Cat

this cat was also excavated from the ruins and is and genuine 2000-year-old cat

06 - Cat in the Lounge Room

here it is in Herod’s lounge room

It was a very strange cat. It would come up to you and rub itself against you and demand to be patted, but then occasionally for no reason, it would turn on you with its grubby, grubby claws. It’s just as well we were all wearing gloves. These feral cats haven’t been vaccinated and it can be quite dangerous to be scratched or bitten by one.

07 - Modal

a model of the third house

08 - Bathroom Mosaic

the mosaic in Herod’s bathroom

In all honesty, we’ve seen a number of houses claiming to be Herod’s. I can accept that he might have had a villa in Caesarea Maritima and a villa in Jerusalem, but there’s a much larger one claiming to be Herod’s which is now being used as a police station near the Jaffa gate. Given how Jerusalem is “like a cake” (Yuval’s words) with lots of layers, I doubt the police station one is Herod’s house, but it’s much more likely that one of these three belong to the High Priest.

Point 1 – they all have personal mikvehs

Point 2 – they’re close to the Temple (about 3 minutes walk, per Yuval, which translates as more like 5)

By this point, I was thoroughly exhausted. I can’t actually remember terribly much from after we climbed up onto the walls. Throughout Herod’s Palace, I felt like my legs wouldn’t hold me much more – and my feet were hurting so badly, no doubt in part to the fact that I missed a step on the wall and turned my ankle – that I kept finding any and every staircase or low wall to sit on. I got out my notebook and took notes so it didn’t look like I was just being lazy. Yuval has a very low tolerance for laziness or weakness. I’m sure he doesn’t mean it, but it comes across awfully, and no-one else seemed to be having as much trouble.

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3 thoughts on “The Fourth Day – Herod’s Palace (Jerusalem)

  1. Ruth Hay says:

    I hope your ankle gets better soon.

  2. jedika98 says:

    Looks very interesting. I like the cat (of course) and I must say their oil lamp design improved remarkably. I hope you feel better soon.

  3. Jo Creek says:

    FWIW, we had a tour guide once who didn’t want people to sit down & rest – instead of seeing the sights – because she didn’t want them to miss out, get home and regret it, knowing they would most likely never return to those places.
    I hope your ankle is okay now.

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