What to see in Israel | Largest Holyland Model in the World

The Holyland Model is probably the largest model in the world depicting Jerusalem in the year 66 AD when the city was at the height of its glory, shortly before its destruction by the Romans in 70 AD.

Also known as the Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple period, it was built between 1962 and 1966 by Professor Michael Avi Yonah, a leading scholar in ancient Jerusalem. At the time of the model’s construction, Jerusalem was divided by a border, drawn following the 1948 war. Most of the city’s historical and holy sites, located in and around the Old City, were under Jordanian rule, and Israelis had no access to them. Since there was no access to the sites, the design had to rely on earlier excavations, ancient texts, writings of Flavius Josephus, historical sources, and the Bible.

The model, measuring 2,000 square metres and in a 1:50 scale, was commissioned by Hans Kroch, the owner of Holyland Hotel, in memory of his son Jacob who fell in the War of Independence. The Holyland Model became a popular attraction for both Israelis and international tourists alike. The model features several notable and important structures such as Herodian Temple, Antonia Fortress, Royal Stoa, Southern Wall and Eastern Gate.

When the time came to move the model elsewhere, the Israel Museum was deemed the most appropriate site. In 2006, it was sawn into 100 parts and later resembled in the Museum campus. The relocation of the model from the hotel to Israel Museum has greatly enhanced its status as both a national exhibit and a scientifically accurate representation of ancient Jerusalem.

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