Zedekiah’s Cave / Solomon’s Quarries (Jerusalem, Israel)

Zedekiah’s Cave/Solomon’s Quarries (Jerusalem, Israel)

Beneath the Muslim Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City is an underground quarry that goes by two names: Zedekiah’s Cave and Solomon’s Quarries. The names reflect the two main legends that surround this 750-foot-long (228.6 m) collection of caverns.

The first story is that King Zedekiah fled through the cave to escape from attacking Babylonians around 587 BCE. At the time, the legend goes, the cave extended all the way to Jericho—a distance of about 13 miles (21 km). The Babylonians chased Zedekiah to Jericho, capturing and blinding him. The dripping water in the cave is thus known as Zedekiah’s Tears. The second story involves King Solomon, who is fabled to have used stones from the cave to build the First Temple in the 10th century BCE.

There is no archaeological evidence to support either premise. However, chisel markings on the walls suggest Zedekiah’s Cave was one of the quarries that supplied limestone for King Herod’s Second Temple and Temple Mount expansion. The stones of the Western Wall (also called the Wailing Wall)—Judaism’s most sacred prayer site—may indeed have come from this cave.

Source: Atlas Obscura

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