* * * *
Type: Large city model
Time: Continuous viewing
Kelly says: Come for the informative talks
A large room in a building past the Plaza of the Nations houses a fascinating scale model of Jerusalem as it existed in 66 A.D. Why 66 A.D.? Because, with the completion of the northern wall, this was the largest the ancient city ever grew. Four years later, it was obliterated by the Romans in retaliation for Jewish uppityness.
The model, which measures 45 feet by 25 feet, is historically accurate with one exception. The houses have been enlarged to show detail. The housing was actually six times as dense and the streets 15 times as narrow as depicted. In fact, the houses were packed so closely together that in Jesus's time you could leap from roof to roof and traverse the entire length of the city without ever touching the ground.
That last tidbit was gleaned from the fascinating half-hour talks that are given here. I strongly urge you not to miss these entertaining mini-lectures. Without them, the display is merely interesting, but the talks make this the best attraction at The Holy Land Experience.
Several times a day, a knowledgeable biblical scholar (most if not all of them are preachers) steps onto a small open space next to the Temple Mount and, with the aid of a laser pointer, conducts a guided tour of the Jerusalem that Jesus knew. In a fascinating blend of Bible stories with historical records and archaeological excavation, he brings oft-told stories of the work and especially the Passion of Jesus to life. I was fascinated to learn, for example, that Jesus's description of Gehenna (Hell) was a direct reference to the trash heap that burned ceaselessly outside Jerusalem's walls. His contemporary listeners would have known immediately what He was talking about. A DVD version of this talk is available for purchase and may make an excellent souvenir of your visit.
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