The Monumental Building

The Monumental Building in Lower Herodium

המבנה המונומנטלי

This impressive rectangular building (14X15m.) was exposed at the west end of the “Course”, south of and adjacent to the pool complex. It encloses a single hall (8X10m.) surrounded by niches separated by engaged columns on pedestals. Built from large hewn blocks, the lengthwise walls were 3m thick; these undoubtedly originally supported a vaulted roof, though it is also possible that they also carried an additional structure on the roof, such as the pyramid over Zechariah’s Tomb in Jerusalem’s Kidron valley.
Two broad entrances were uncovered on the north and the south sides, incorporated into the interior niches, and it is reasonable to assume that there were a further three entrances on the east, leading onto the Course (the eastern facade is totally ruined). Though no trace of the floor was preserved, the many opus sectile stones found in the vicinity bear witness to the original floor. There is also no trace of the plaster mouldings and wall-paintings which undoubtedly covered the interior walls.
Anyone visiting the ruined hall today will notice channels in the pilasters around the hall, remains of a hidden plumbing system, possibly for the hall’s use as a nymphaeum.
East of the building, between it and the course, are the remains of a long, narrow trough, which was probably a reflective pool; small rooms and courtyards were uncovered to the buildings’ north and south; the northern one was a stairway connecting the monumental building and the Course with the pool. The function of the southern one is unknown.
The function of this building is still unclear; it may have served as a hall for the impressive palace gardens, and it was probably used during Herod’s burial ceremony. During the Byzantine period the ruins were cleared and re- used as domestic quarters and a bakery.


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  • Netzer E., 1981. Greater Herodium .(Qedem 13), Jerusalem.