Jerusalem Old City Cardo 001

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  • Title:  Jerusalem Old City Cardo 001
  • Description:  A cardo was the Latin name given to a north-south street in Ancient Roman cities and military camps as an integral component of city planning. The cardo maximus was the main or central north–south-oriented street.

    After the Jewish rebellion led by Simon Bar Kokhba was crushed by Hadrian in the 130s AD, Jerusalem was destroyed. Hadrian built a Roman colony in its place, naming it Colonia Aelia Capitolina, after the Roman deities Jupiter, Juno and Minerva (the Capitoline Triad), worshiped at the Capitoline Hill temple in Rome. Like many Roman colonies, Aelia Capitolina was laid out with a Hippodamian grid plan of narrower streets and wider avenues. The main north-south thoroughfare, the Cardo Maximus, was originally a paved avenue approximately 22.5 meters wide (roughly the width of a six lane highway) which ran southward from the site of the Damascus gate, terminating at an unknown point. The southern addition to the Cardo, constructed under Justinian in the 6th century AD, extended the road further south to connect the Church of the Holy Sepulchre with the newly built Zion Gate. Along its length, the roadway was divided into three parts: two colonnaded covered walks flanking a 12 meter wide road. The shaded porticoes provided separation of pedestrian traffic from wheeled carts, shelter from the elements, space for small-scale commerce, as well as opportunities for residents and visitors to gather and interact. The central open pavement provided commercial access as well as ritual space. The Cardo’s most striking visual feature was its colonnade, clearly depicted on the Madaba Map.

    The line of the Cardo Maximus is still visible on the Jewish Quarter Street, though the original pavement lies several meters below the modern street level. In the 7th century, when Jerusalem fell under Muslim rule, the Cardo became an Arab-style marketplace. Remains of the Byzantine Cardo were found in the Jewish Quarter excavations beginning in 1969.
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  • Keywords:  Cardo, City, Old, Jerusalem
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