[ALT] Large Hasmonean building
The destroyed vaulted rooms on the ground floor of the large Hasmonean building, looking northwest. During the Roman period, the area was used as a quarry, as a result of which the building was destroyed down to its foundations.

The Persian, Hellenistic and Hasmonean Periods (6th-1st Centuries BCE)

After the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BC, the city remained deserted and in ruins until the Persian Empire became dominant. In 538 BCE, Cyrus, King of Persia, made a proclamation allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple (Ezra 1:2-3).

Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, who was appointed governor of Judah, finished the five-year reconstruction in 515 BC. Then in 445 BCE, Nehemiah, son of Hachaliah, was appointed governor and rebuilt the city’s walls (Nehemiah 2-3, 12:27-43).

In 332 BCE, Alexander the Great conquered Judea, incorporating it into the sphere of the Hellenistic culture. In the course of the 3rd Century BCE, Judea became part of the large province of Syria-Phoenicia under Ptolemaic rule. In 200 BCE, the Syrian king Antiochus III Megas conquered Jerusalem and the rule of the city passed from the Ptolemies to the Seleucids.

When the Syrian king Antiochus IV Epiphanes attempted to invalidate the Jewish religion, the Hasmonean family led in a rebellion. In 167 BCE, the Jewish rebels successfully conquered Jerusalem. Within a short period of time, the rule of the entire country passed to the Hasmoneans. However, the Hasmonean dynasty weakened over the years and ended in 37 BCE.

1. The Edge of the Seleucid Akra

During the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Greek-Syrian soldiers were garrisoned in a fortress, called the Akra, near the Temple. A large building with rows of rooms was excavated at the supposed location of the Akra and is suggested to be identified as a remnant of the Seleucid fortress.

2. The Hasmonean Wall

A 50-meter-long southward expansion of the Temple Mount compound is among the most renowned Hasmonean building projects.

A section of the expanded wall can be seen at the southern end of the Eastern Wall.

3. A Large Hasmonean Building

Large vaulted rooms arranged around a large plastered pool were found. This building was constructed during the Hasmonean period and continued to be used in the Herodian period.