4) TUNNEL ENTRANCE
We begin our tour into the tunnels by entering a room that British explorer Charles
Warren dubbed "The Donkey Stable."
Built at the end of the Middle Ages as part of the existing city, this room, and several others in the area, eventually became filled with rubble. It took 17 years to gradually uncover all the accumulated rubble from these underground rooms and reveal them once again to the world.
Today, continuing restoration work has revealed a series of
underground vaults and arches that formed a platform supporting the buildings above the
Tunnels. When Saladin defeated the Crusaders in 1187, he embarked on a plan to build
mosques and schools, and to give people greater access to the Temple Mount.
Until that time, the existing city was lower than the Temple Mount. Saladin raised the level of the city to the level of the Temple Mount through the construction of a series of arches and vaults. The area where we are was part of that underground support system. With the city above, areas like this were sealed off and used as water cisterns and for storage.
A golden light beyond our view beckons us to see what's
next. A turn through the next arch, and we enter an area known as the Secret Passage.
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