What Did Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem Look Like?

Michael Avi-Yonah’s iconic Temple model has its golden anniversary

By Jennifer Drummond | June 05, 2020

2016 was the golden anniversary of Israeli archaeologist Michael Avi-Yonah’s model of Herod’s Temple. The model is now housed in the Israel Museum. Photo: Steven Fine.

The year 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the now-iconic model of Herod’s Temple created by Israeli historian and archaeologist Michael Avi-Yonah. The model, completed in 1966 after four years of construction, was commissioned by Hans Kroch of the Holy Land Hotel in Jerusalem. After 40 years at the hotel, in 2006 the model was restored and moved to its current home at the Israel Museum.

The model of Herod’s Temple is part of a larger model of ancient Jerusalem. It depicts Jerusalem as it was before the Romans destroyed the city—and Herod’s Temple—in 70 C.E. during the First Jewish Revolt against Rome. But just how accurate is the model? In “A Temple’s Golden Anniversary” in the January/February 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Peter J. Schertz and Steven Fine discuss this tantalizing question.