Jerusalem Channel Photo by Barbara Dingle
Was this the original location of the Praetorium (judgment hall) where Pilate judged Jesus?
Now called the Kishle — Turkish for prison — the site was used as a jail by the Ottoman Turks in the 1800s and subsequently used by the British in the 1940s to hold captured Jewish militia members. A map of Greater Israel etched by an imprisoned member of the pre-state Irgun militia is still visible on the wall.
Jerusalem Channel’s Barbara Dingle joined a recent tour as part of Hebrew University Board of Governors– “The story of the Kishle Excavations.” The Kishle excavations within the Tower of David complex contain exciting discoveries by leading Israeli archaeologists.
Below the prison lay the foundations of a fortification wall built in the eighth century BCE by the ancient Jewish King Hezekiah, who like later rulers took advantage of the site’s strategic high ground. Across the room are remains of another defensive wall built 600 years later by the Hasmoneans, who ruled Jerusalem after the Maccabees revolt.
An Israel archeologist believes the room may have been the site of Jesus’ trial by Pontius Pilate. Pilate would have tried Jesus in a prominent location such as Herod’s palace; the original route of the Via Dolorosa that Jesus followed to his crucifixion passed the spot where the Kishle now stands.
Entering by the East Moat built by crusaders in the 12th century, layer upon layer of Jerusalem’s history is now visible.
The Kishle structure (see main photo) was built in the 1830’s by the Turkish Pasha during the Ottoman period. Like nearly all Jerusalem, this structure was built on top of former structures from earlier periods.
Whilst not currently open to the public, there are plans to open the Kishle in the future.
Visit many holy sites like this during our upcoming Moveable Feast of Tabernacles tour. Click for details.