1500-750BCE- Architecture and Memory| Biblical Jerusalem

Most of the history of ancient architecture depends on some guesses and interpretation about archeological artifacts or documents. It is because most of the urban artifacts faded away through destruction, natural disasters, natural calamities or so on and their memory also gone away with them. For example, Phoenicians who dominated the trade of Mediterranean from 1200 to 800 BCE only can be guessed because of the lack of surviving built evidence.

On the other hand, because of its religious history, Jerusalem succeed to survive, even though it lost the artifacts. The city itself represent an idea which is a sacred density for Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Jerusalem couldn’t be a well-known city if the Jews people didn’t claim the city as their sacred center. Jerusalem settled first by the Canaanites around 1800 BCE. The city faces as both the oldest continuously inhabited city on earth and one of the least stable, despite the destroying the city a few times. Jerusalem settled a hill like Hattusa. To one side it sees the desert forming and the other side is valley. Despite of the enough water, Jerusalem has no access to any water source, so the city never develops in trade and industry.

Jerusalem became the focus of Jewish culture around the year 3000 BCE. It is because Abraham convinced his people to leave Ur when the drought began and the attack on Jews forced them to choose Jerusalem as the national capital.

Early Jerusalem was like Mycenae. Similar to Mycenean city organization, the elite lived within the walls and other citizens lived in the peripheral villages. There was a tunnel which was dug under the walls from city to an outside source of water just as Hittite and Mycenae.  And the people were seminomadic so that they couldn’t develop in terms of masonry architecture, city building and city administration.

Before Jerusalem, according to Jewish culture temple next to a royal palace represents suspicious acts, so in that time the temples were mobile sanctuary as Ark of the covenant. David the King changed the dwelling place of Yahweh portable to stable. Solomon who was the son of David built the ‘Solomon Temple’ which is also known as ‘The First Temple.’ It included an immense complex palace and grand hypostyle halls and separated harem. Only priest could enter the inner court while people could enter only outer court. The temple was destroyed by Neo – Babylonians in 586 BCE. Even though there are some objections about the God can be honored without those building, the Second Temple was built in 535 BCE when the Jews returned to Jerusalem by the permission of the Persians.

Reference: Richard Ingersoll-Spiro Kostof, World Architecture: A Cross-Cultural History, p. 98-103

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