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Jerusalem stone refers to different kinds of limestone that come from Jerusalem- the historic capital of Israel. Most of the buildings’ constructions involve this stone. There are various kinds of distinct characteristics. People who have lived in Jerusalem have used the stone to build their buildings for thousands of years. If you want to learn more about this beautiful material, then keep reading. In this article, you can learn all about:
- Characteristics of Jerusalem stone
- Where Jerusalem stone comes from
- Why the material is so important
- The history of Jerusalem stone
- Issues with extracting Jerusalem stone
Characteristics of Jerusalem Stone
Jerusalem stone is pale gold and very similar to a cream color. When seen together, buildings glow with the stones’ shimmer. Jerusalem stone is also very dense and hard to break, as well as weather resistant. Even though the rock does succumb to weathering effects, it takes a long time before doing so.
Three main types of Jerusalem stones originate from the city. These are dolomite, dolomitic limestone, and sedimentary limestone.
Including its gold and beige color, Jerusalem stone can also be gray or light pink. Due to Jerusalem stone not being a single type of rock, there are a variety of colors and overall patterns.
The city of Jerusalem is said to have a holy atmosphere. It is also known for its traditional buildings. This characterization is because Jerusalem stone constructs the majority of buildings. Architecture ranging from the most ancient to the most modern have an exterior of this unique stone.
Jerusalem stone is popularly imported all over the world to construct Jewish buildings, such as synagogues. This is so these religious sites can connect back to the city where the faith is based.
Where Jerusalem Stone Comes From
Jerusalem stone comes from the city of Jerusalem. Therefore, the most popular sites for extracting the material reside between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Additional locations are in Galilee and Haifa. From these sites, the stones go to the ports in Israel to be shipped all over the world where they are used to construct buildings or to make jewelry and other religious items.
Why the Stone Is So Important
Jerusalem stone is significant because it originates in the city of Jerusalem- home to many religious sites considered relevant to multiple religions. As a result, Jerusalem is a sacred place for many.
Due to the stone’s importance, people import the material to make religious jewelry, statues, and more. The stone is not only used to make spiritual things but can also be useful in the construction of secular buildings. People also utilize this material for beautiful tile.
The book of Psalms mentions the Jerusalem stone. Additionally, Jews believe that three total Holy Temples exist throughout human existence. However, only two of these temples existed. Many people believe that Jerusalem stone should construct the Third Temple. Therefore, this material is sacred enough to build another extremely religious site.
The History of Jerusalem Stone
This unique material shows predominance throughout Jerusalem over the last 3000 years, at least. People who lived in the area used the stone to build some of the most famous historical religious sites in the world. Buildings such as King Solomon’s Temple and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher are said to contain Jerusalem stone.
King Solomon’s Temple holds a place as one of the most famous ancient buildings in Judaism. A product of King Solomon, the building was a grand and opulent site that housed the Ark of the Covenant and the Ten Commandments. This temple is known as the First Temple and stood at about 50 feet tall. It no longer stands today after attacks by the Babylonians. They destroyed the temple, and, to this day, the Ark of the Covenant that contains the Ten Commandments is missing.
Another building located in the Old City is the Western Wall. Also known as the Wailing Wall, Jerusalem stone makes up this monument’s structure. While King Solomon’s Temple was the First Temple, the Western Wall contains some of the only remains of the Second Temple. Constructed in the 2nd century B.C.E., the wall stands at 60 feet tall and 160 feet long. The Western Wall received its nickname of Wailing Wall because of the Jewish tradition of putting slips of paper between the stone’s cracks. The sheets of paper usually contain prayers and prayer requests.
In the 1920s, the Military Governor created a law that required all buildings to be made of Jerusalem stone to preserve Jerusalem’s distinctive appearance and overall environment. However, some buildings made after the installation of the law do not contain the stone. This is because fast construction was necessary to compensate for population growth quickly. Since the 1920s, lawmakers adjusted the requirement to offset the fact that Jerusalem stone is a limited material.
Issues with Extracting Jerusalem Stone
Although the Jerusalem stone provides a traditional beauty to the city, the extraction of the stone can be detrimental to the environment. Quarries can take over animal habitats and cause pollution. However, lawmakers are currently thinking of ways to make the process of obtaining Jerusalem stone better for the earth.
Despite this negative side, Jerusalem stone is an essential aspect of the city of Jerusalem. It also has proved to be a crucial material for historic buildings as well as modern buildings. It seems that the tradition of utilizing Jerusalem may slow down, but that does not necessarily mean its significance diminishes.