Israeli history photo of the week: Temple Mount

By LENNY BEN-DAVID
October 25, 2012 12:16

A Library of Congress collection of photographs that document Israel before the creation of the state.

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A Cave under the Temple Mount's Foundation Stone?

A Cave under the Temple Mount's Foundation Stone?. (photo credit:American Colony-Jerusalem-Photo Dept.)

The Library of Congress has recently digitalized a collection of over 10,000 photographs, taken by the "American Colony" in Jerusalem, a group of Christian utopians who lived in Jerusalem between 1881 and the 1940s. The photographers returned to the US, and bequeathed their massive collection to the Library of Congress in 1978. The collection includes Winston Churchill's visit to Jerusalem, Jewish expulsions from the Old City during Arab riots, and the building of Tel Aviv.

For centuries, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem has been the focus of worshippers, scholars and explorers. But few archaeologists have explored history's secrets hidden in the caves, tunnels and cisterns beneath the Hiram el-Sharif -- controlled by the Muslim Waqf.

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The Israel Daily Picture site provided last week photos from the Library of Congress archives taken after a 1927 earthquake destroyed parts of the el-Aqsa mosque.

It was very curious when additional photos were discovered in the American Colony and Felix Bonfils collections showing the entrance to a cave beneath the "foundation stone" (even hashtiya in Jewish tradition) on which the Jewish Temples and the Mosque of Omar* were built.

More photos can be viewed at http://www.israeldailypicture.com

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