In the post about Wilson's arch, I have described a monumental building located next to it, called by Warren the Masonic Hall. After writing that post, I found more information about the hall, the thick wall next to it, and the Mikva'os behind the pier of Wilson's arch. In the next few posts, I will redescribe these places, based on this new information.
At the southern corner of the Western wall, remains of an arch can be seen. In the times of the Beis Hamikdash, this arch supported a grand staircase which led up to the Har Habayis. It is mentioned by Josephus (Antiquities 15:11:5), who writes: Now in the western quarters of the enclosure of the temple there were four gates; the first led to the king's palace, and went to a passage over the intermediate valley; two more led to the suburbs of the city; and the last led to the other part of the city, where the road descended down into the valley by a great number of steps, and thence up again by the ascent.
Around eighty meters (265 feet) away from the southern corner of the western wall, right by the southern end of the Ezras Nashim by the Kosel, a large lintel, with a blocked-up gate underneath, can be seen. The bottom of this lintel is 2398 ft. 5 in. (731 m) above sea-level. This seems to be the second of the gates which Josephus (Antiquities 15:11:5) says led to the suburbs of the city. (The gate that led over a passage to the king's palace was on top of Wilson's arch, and the road that descended to the valley by a great number of steps was the one on top of Robinson's arch, so the two suburban gates must be Warren's and Barclay's gates.) However, this statement seems slightly problematic, because it opens up straight into the city. R' Zalman Menachem Koren writes (the Beit HaMikdash, pp 146-147) that probably, there is a scribal error here, and that originally, Josephus wrote that two gates led to the Tyropoeon, (meaning that it led to the Tyropoeon valley,) and a copyist mistakenly changed it to "proesteon", which is Greek for suburbs. [You can also explain that since the road that went from in front of this gate went outside the first wall, to the area inside the second wall, (as shown here) therefore Josephus says that the gate led to the suburbs.]
I have added the first chapter of a description of the First Beis Hamikdash.
My name is Mendel Lewis.
This year is a Hakhel year. To learn about this special year, and what we should do about it, visit the following links:
The Year of Hakhel - Celebrating Jewish Unity - 5783 -- A Year of Unity (chabad.org)
Shnas Hakhel - Home
Hahkel Nation 5783 (hakhelnation.com)
Hashem said to Yechezkel, "Its reading in the Torah is as great as its building. Go and say it to them, and they will occupy themselves to read the form of it in the Torah. And in reward for its reading, that they occupy themselves to read about it, I count it for them as if they were occupied with the building of it. (Tanchuma tzav 14)