[ALT] Umayyad palace
The Umayyad palace at the beginning of the excavations Prior to its construction, the large breach caused by the immense collapse resulting from the destruction in 70 CE was blocked, as can be seen in the southern wall of the Temple Mount. The breach was blocked with small uniform-sized stones.

[ALT] Fragments of frescoes
Fragments of frescoes found in the collapse in the Umayyad palace rooms.

[ALT] Fragments of frescoes
Fragments of frescoes found in the collapse in the Umayyad palace rooms.

The Pre-Umayyad, Umayyad and Abbasid Periods (638-969 CE)

In 638 CE, the Moslem Caliph Umar ibn al-Khatt'b (634-644 CE) conquered Jerusalem, marking the beginning of Moslem rule of the city, which continued for 460 years, until it was conquered by the Crusaders in 1099 CE.

The Caliph Mu'wiya (661-680 CE), ruler of Syria, established the foundation of control of the Umayyad dynasty (661-750 CE).

The jewel-in-the-crown of Umayyad construction is the complex of buildings on the Temple Mount: the commemorative structure above the Foundation Rock built in 691 CE and the Al-Aqsa Mosque built shortly thereafter. The Caliphs also constructed a palace complex around the outside of the southwestern corner of the compound.

In 750 CE, the Umayyad dynasty came to end and the dynasty of the House of Abbas came to power. The capital of the empire was moved from Damascus to Baghdad. The distance between Jerusalem and the new seat of power brought about a decline in the status of the city.

The Pre-Umayyad Arab Period (638-661 CE)

1. The Synagogue in the Jewish quarter

The synagogue was built during the reign of the Caliph Umar ibn al-Khatt'b (634-644 CE) and existed for sixty years or more. It is the earliest synagogue found in Jerusalem to date.

The Umayyad Period (661-750 CE)

The Caliphs' Palace Complex

The palace complex included four large structures built around the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The largest building in the complex (Building II) presumably served as the royal residence of the Caliph.

2. The Foundations of the Umayyad Structures – Subterranean Vaults

To compensate for the difference in elevation due to the deep ravine of the Tyropoeon Valley, the Umayyad builders had to construct a system of subterranean vaults more than 9 meters (29,5 feet) deep.

3. The Foundations of the Umayyad Structures – Wooden Construction Molds and Fills

Where the fill beneath the floor of the Umayyad structure was high and unstable, deep, wide trenches were dug, and wooden molds were built, into which the stone foundation was poured.

4. The Public Building adjacent to the Palace (Building III)

This building was constructed similarly to the Umayyad residential palace (Building II) in terms of its symmetric plan.

5. The Umayyad Palace (Building II)

The palace is the largest building of the Caliph's palace complex. It had two stories with three entrances on the ground floor.

6. The Double Gate

During the Umayyad period, the Double Gate served as the main entrance into the Temple Mount compound, given its proximity to the Caliph’s palace complex.

7. The Single Gate and Solomon's Stables

The single gate is located at the same level as the Triple Gate and the Double Gate. It gave direct access from the Caliph’s palace to the renovated subterranean halls (later known as Solomon's Stables).