In each wall of the Temple Mount were one or more gateways, all
of which conformed to a standard size of 10 cubits wide by 20 cubits tall
(15 feet by 30 feet). Instead of a traditional frame consisting of three
parts (i.e., two doorposts and a lintel) the Temple gates had additional
diagonal elements connecting the doorposts and lintel, resulting in a frame
of five parts.
Jerusalem was located primarily to the south of the Temple and
the majority of the population entered the Temple Mount from that side. To
accommodate the large flow of pedestrian traffic two gates were built along
this side, spaced evenly across the 500-cubit (750-foot) length of the
Temple Mount. These were known as the Chuldah Gates, named after the
prophetess Chuldah who delivered her prophesies to the masses just outside
the southern wall of the Temple Mount during the First Temple era.
Centered in the western wall of the Temple Mount was the
Kiponos Gate. The name Kiponos may represent a contraction of the Greek
words kipos (garden) and ponos (work or
toil), meaning working the garden, a reference to the garden
located just inside this gateway. In this garden, which occupied the area
between the western wall of the Temple Mount and the western wall of the
Courtyard opposite the Holy of Holies, the Kohanim cultivated all of
the ingredients used in compounding the incense offered daily in the
In the northern wall of the Temple Mount was the Tadi Gate.
This gate was unique in that its lintel was not flat but consisted of two
stones leaning against each other at an angle such that the top of the gate
resembled a triangle.
In the eastern wall of the Temple Mount was the Shushan Gate,
so named for the depiction of the city of Shushan which appeared over the
mantel of this gate. Shushan was the Persian capital which had hosted the
Jews during their exile following the destruction of the First Temple. In
appreciation of the ruling power and as a symbol of their allegiance, the
Jews placed the Persian emblem over this gate in the rebuilt Temple.
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