The Hasmonean Baris was a citadel constructed north of Jerusalem's Temple Mount in existence during the Hasmonean period.


Nehemiah refers to a "birah" on or adjacent to the Temple Mount.[1] This may have been the predecessor or identical to the Hellenistic fortress mentioned in the Letter of Aristeas.[2] It is unclear whether this structure was demolished under the Selucids or during the Maccabean revolt.

Under the Hasmonean's, the Baris was rebuilt or repurposed as a fortress-residence. The High Priest made use of the Baris, which was connected to the Temple Mount by an underground passageway. This is prominently referred to by Josephus as the "Baris" citadel. Under Herod the Great, the Hasmonean Baris underwent renovation or reconstruction, and it was renamed Antonia in honor of his patron Mark Antony.[3][4]


Some remains north of the Temple Mount have been tentatively identified with the Hasmonean Baris.[5] The current consensus is that this fortress must have been located in the vicinity of the northwest corner of the Temple Mount, as described by Josephus. Because requests to allow archaeological excavation within the current walls of the Temple Mount have been denied by the Wakf which administers the area, current evidence does not allow for pinning down the exact extent and boundaries of the structure.[6]

See also


  1. Nehemiah II:8, VII:2.
  2. The Letter of Aristeas, 100. Translation by R. H. Charles
  3. Josephus,Wars of the Jews V:4, XXI:1.
  4. Josephus,Jewish Antiquities XIII:307, XV:409, XVIII:91-94.
  5. Bahat, Daniel. 1994. "The Western Wall Tunnels" in Ancient Jerusalem Revealed, Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, p. 185.
  6. Levine, Lee I. 2002. Jerusalem: Portrait of the City in the Second Temple Period. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, pp. 112-113. ISBN 978-0-8276-0750-7

Coordinates: 31°46′48″N 35°14′05″E / 31.78°N 35.23472°E / 31.78; 35.23472

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