Jerusalem’s Cardo Maximus

Next, our tour guide took us to the Jewish quarter to see ruins of the Cardo Maximus (or main north-south street) through Jerusalem in Byzantine times – the times of the crusades. This was a pretty cool thing to see, especially a mosaic map (called the “Madaba” map) that had been found in a nearby church that depicted what the city would have looked like many hundreds of years ago. Here’s a picture…


This main north-south thoroughfare directly connected the Damascus gate to the north and Zion gate to the south. The crusaders had turned most of this are into roofed markets. Like the other Cardo maximus streets we saw on our trip, there were stone columns down the center with shops lining either side. The cool thing about this particular incarnation of that architecture was that today the northern half of the strip was still there – a thriving marketplace where we shopped for 30 minutes or so between stops in the city. A picture of the modern shopping area…

Shopping on the Carto Maximus

One other thing I found particularly of note was the way the street was constructed. We were walking on the same stones that were there during the crusades 800-900 years ago. In the middle of the street was a little trough. This is where the sewage ran down the street before the concept of sewer systems. I can’t imagine how badly it must have reeked there. Seeing stuff like that made the black death a bit more understandable / imaginable. Here’s a picture…

Byzantine "Sewer"

About Jeff Block

Lover and follower of Jesus, the long awaited King. Husband and father. Writer and seminary student. On a long, difficult, joyful adventure, learning to swim with the current of God's sovereign love and walk with Him in the garden in the cool of the day.
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