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The Ophel (Hebrew: עופל), meaning fortified hill or risen area, is the biblical name given to a certain part of a settlement or city that is elevated from its surroundings. In the bible the Ophel refers to the elevation in two cities: the City of David in the Old City of Jerusalem , and at Samaria , the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Israel. Ernest L. Martin asserts the controversial claim in his book, "The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot", that the Ophel Mound is the site of the First and Second Temples and what is called the Temple Mount today was in fact the Roman Fort Antonia.
The Ophel in Jerusalem
The City of David, also known as the Ophel is a narrow promontory beyond the southern edge of Jerusalem's Temple Mount and Old City, with the Tyropoeon Valley (valley of the cheesemakers) on its west, the Hinnom valley to the south, and the Kidron Valley on the east. The previously deep valley (the Tyropoeon) separating the Ophel from what is now referred to as the Old City of Jerusalem currently lies hidden beneath the debris of centuries. Despite the name, the Old City of Jerusalem dates from a much later time than the settlement in the City of David, which is generally considered to have been the original Jerusalem. Traditionally, the name City of David, applied to the area inside the ancient fortifications, while the name Ophel, applied to the area between the end of the city wall and the Temple Mount.