Solomon's Stables (Hebrew: אורוות שלמה) is the popular name for an underground
vaulted space on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Solomon's Stables are located
under the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount, 12½ metres below the
courtyard and feature twelve rows of pillars and arches.
The structure was built by King Herod as part of his extension of the platform
of the Temple Mount southward onto the ophel. The Herodian engineers
constructed the enormous platform as a series of vaulted arches in order to
reduce pressure on the retaining walls. " A great deal of the original
interior survives in the area of the Herodian staircases, although not in the
area now renovated for use as a mosque. Visitors are rarely permitted ot
enter the areas with Herodian finishes.
The structure has been called Solomon's Stables since Crusader times.[citation
Modern construction --
In 1996, the waqf built a modern mosque there, with a capacity for 7,000
The Southern Wall of the Temple Mount showing damaged area and criticized
repair job as a bright white patch to right.
In 1997, the waqf began digging up the southeastern area of the Temple Mount,
drawing criticism from archaeologists, who said that archaeological finds were
being damaged in the process and the excavations weakened the stability of the
Southern Wall. The excavations are thought to have been responsible for
creating a large, visible bulge in the Southern Wall that threatened the
structural integrity of the Temple Mount, necessitating major repairs. The
repairs have been called "unsightly", an "eyesore", and a "terrible job"
because they appear as a large, bright, white patch of smooth stones in a
golden tan wall of rusticated ashlar.
The soil removed from the dig was dumped near the Mount of Olives and a
salvage operation, the Temple Mount Antiquities Salvage Operation was
undertaken in order to sift through the debris for archaeological remains.
Many important finds have turned up.
Popular culture -
In popular culture, the area has become associated with the Knights Templar
due to a claim in the 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code that the order maintained
its headquarters here.