Jerusalem: Wilson's Arch

Located below the Old City of modern-day Jerusalem, Wilson's arch extended high above the street in Jesus' time. The arch supported a bridge across the Tyropean Valley from the Upper City on the Western Hill.

Like Robinson's Arch (both of these were named after the explorers who discovered them in the nineteenth century), Wilson's Arch was one of the largest free-standing masonry arches in the world. It extended 75 feet above the valley floor below, and covered a span of 45 feet. The arch has probably been restored.

In this photograph, the floor on which the people are praying is on the debris from the Roman destruction of the city and later construction, and the arch is now only 20 feet above the pavement. Its majestic size and the enormous stones testify to Herod's magnificent aspirations. The wall in the background was a later addition. Today the area beneath the arch functions as a prayer area for religious Jews.