Herod the Great's Fortified Palace

The Magnificent Palace of Herod the Great

King Herod the Great built his Greco Roman fortified palace to provide protection for Jerusalem's Upper City. It also guarded the west side of the city along with Herod's three towers.

Just like Herod's Temple, his Palace was constructed on a platform, about 1000 feet (from north-south), and 180 feet (from east-west). The Palace consisted of 2 main buildings, each with its banquet halls, baths, and accommodations for hundreds of guests. It was surrounded with groves of trees, canals, and ponds studded with bronze fountains. Herod's Palace is most likely the praetorium mentioned in the Bible as the place of the trial of Jesus. which was actually the official residence of the Roman governors when they came to Jerusalem during the Passover. Archaeological remains of Herod's mighty palace are scarce. We know about Herod and his buildings through the writings of Josephus, Strabo, Dio Cassius, Jewish Literature, archaeology and the Bible.

When Titus annihilated Jerusalem in 70 AD., he spared Herod's fortress. Herod's three towers have been lost in history and the Tower of David stands on the spot of the ancient Phasael Tower.

"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet."
- Matthew 2:1-5

"Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search diligently for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also."
- Matthew 2:7,8

"Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.""
- Matthew 2:12-13

"Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men."
- Matthew 2:16

Luke 1:5 - There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife [was] of the daughters of Aaron, and her name [was] Elisabeth.

Also see:
Sketch of 1st Century Jerusalem
Josephus Description of Jerusalem