Beneath the Temple Mount

The information on this page has been taken from " Below the Temple Mount in Jerusalem" written by Shimon Gibson & David M Jacobson. The numbering system of the wells and cisterns is theirs and is based upon previous writers work. I strongly suggest that you acquire a copy of the book if you are at all interested in the subject as it is very detailed and very well researched. My few notes do not do it justice.

My interest in the Temple mount and what may lie below it, was aroused after reading popular books on the history of the Knights Templar. In these books they indicate that the Templars spent quite a time when they first arrived in the holy land digging beneath the Temple mount in search of something, possibly the Ark of the Covenant, or some other such religious treasure. The later meteoric growth and success of the Templars has been ascribed to their finding this hidden treasure. Another factoid spread by these books is that an English army officer, during the last century, explored the tunnels left by the Templars. If this was the case I thought then there should be some evidence in written form for me to investigate. My search revealed the above mentioned book. It is very difficult to locate, but there is a copy at the British Library that can be borrowed. Be prepared to wait though, I waited around 4 months to get my hands on it. Once I started reading it though I was amazed. The Mount is actually riddled with tunnels, passages, chambers, a cave, wells and cisterns. There are 38 major documented wells and cisterns, 11 minor cisterns and 43 catalogued conduits and passageways. As well as this there is the cave beneath the rock of the dome, Solomons stables and a couple of other large chambers. So what were they all for?

Arabic name # English Translation Size in M² *
1 Name Unknown   105
2 Bír Sirru Well of the Cypresses 65
3 Bír Buhãyr The Small Sea 1200
4 Al- Bír al-Aswad The Black Well 470
5 Bír al-Khidr Well of Khidr 590
6 Bír Kharbãn The Derelict Well 165
7 Bír Daraj al-Aqsã Well of the Aqsa Stairs 12.5
8 Bír al-Waraqa Well of the Leaf 231
9 Name unknown   9
10 Bír al-Maghãriba Well of the North Africans 405
11 Bír sabil abu Sa'ud Well of the fountain of Abu Sa'ud 256
12 Bír sabil Qaytbay Well of the fountains of Qayt Bay 282
13 Name unknown   5.6
14 Bir sabil Sha'lãn Well of the fountain of Sha'lan 17.5
15 Bír Shaykh al-Akhtar Well of Shykh Akhtar 200+ (?)
16 Bír Bãb al- Serai Well of the gate of the palace 10
17 Name unknown   8.4
18 Name unknown   Unknown
19 Bír Bãb al-Serai Well of the gate of Remission 26
20 Name unknown   334
21 Bír Bãb al-Asbat Well of the gate of the Tribes 27
22 Bír al-Hanash Well of the Serpent 3.5 Ø
23 Bír Bãb al-Tawba Well of the gate of repentance 5.5 Ø
24 Bír al-Darwish Well of the Dervish 110
25 Bír al-Hamãm Well of the Dove 83
26 Bír al-Shaykh Well of the Shaykh 112
27 Name unknown   66+5 Ø
28 Bír Rommãna Well of the Pomegranate 430
29 Bír al-Suwãna Well of the Firestone 137
30 Bír al-Asãfír Well of the Birds 278
31 Bír al-Janna Well of Paradise 292
32 Bír al-Shaykh Well of the Shaykh ?
33 Bír 'abd Allah Well of Abdallah 3.7 Ø
34 Bír al-Jura Well of the pit 30
35 Name unknown   ?
36 Name unknown   59
37 Name unknown   100
38 Qubbat al-Khidr Dome of Khidr 91

There is an excellent, fully referenced and footnoted web page that covers the tunnels and water supply to Temple mount that I strongly recommend. It can be found at

When You've been there to look, don't forget to come back!

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