The Antonia fortress was located here. Built by Herod the Great, this fortress guarded the northern side of Jerusalem and held Roman troops during Jesus’ time who watched the temple activities. Paul was probably brought to the Antonia after his arrest and defended himself on the stairs that apparently led to the fortress.
The temple platform’s extension to the west required enormous retaining walls on the south and west. Some of the rocks used in the wall weighed more than five hundred tons each. The finished platform was divided into courts, which became increasingly more sacred the closer they were to the temple.
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