A Byzantine-era arch just discovered by archaeologists will be incorporated into a new underground route that will stretch from the Cardo to the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem's Old City. The project is being carried out by the Jewish Quarter Development Corporation, and represents “a revelation on the manner of daily life during the Second Temple period,” said Rabbi Shlomo Attias, director of the JQDC.
The arch was discovered as work crews were finishing up the refilling of excavations that had been made for the restoration of the Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter. During the work, crews discovered a wide space, which turned out to be a Byzantine-era street. As they cleared away rubble, it became clear that the street would intersect with the Cardo, the Roman-era street that was discovered several years ago and is now open to the public.
The discovery of the street was an important enough event, but even more important was what archaeologists found at the end of the street – a very well-preserved arch that was apparently a passageway between both streets.
After consulting with archaeologists, the JQDC decided to develop the street and the arch. When the project is completed, visitors will be able to descend under the streets of the Jewish Quarter in the Cardo, walk through that street, through the Byzantine arch, and through the second street, emerging at the Hurva Synagogue.
According to Attias, the new discovery symbolizes “the fascinating journey to a world that has been destroyed, enabling us to better understand the daily lives of Jews during the Second Temple era.”