Herod the Great, the king of the holy land in the time of Christ, is best known for the murders of his wife, three sons, and all of Bethlehem’s male children under two. His bloody reputation has always hidden the fact that Herod was one of the greatest and most imaginative builders in world history. Learn more:
- In and around ancient Judea Herod built about 22 world-class temples, palaces, fortresses, and cities
- At Masada he turned a crude mountaintop stronghold into a fortified palace complex that seemed to defy gravity.
- At Caesarea he built the Mediterranean’s largest deep-water port; a feat some believe should be considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
- With his expansion of Jerusalem’s Second Temple, Herod built the largest sacred complex of its time—dwarfing the pagan shrines of Rome and equal to the size of about 26 football fields.
- Though Jewish by faith, Herod was an Arab by blood.
- Jerusalem’s Second Temple was part of one of the largest sacred complexes of its time. To keep it pure, it’s said, Herod trained 1,000 Jewish priests in construction techniques.
- Herod built the Western Wall, Judaism’s most sacred site.
- At Herodium, Herod built one of the largest palace complexes anywhere, and chose to be buried there. Yet Herod’s burial contained a maddening riddle concerning where he built his tomb.
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