2,000-year-old Greek fort unearthed in Jerusalem

Archaeologists believe they have found the precise location of he Acra, a fortified Hellenistic citadel erected in the heart of Jerusalem by the Seleucid conquerors, after they first destroyed he city in 168 BC.

PTI| Updated: Nov 05, 2015, 09:42 AM IST

Jerusalem: In a sensational discovery, Israeli archaeologists believe they have found the remains of the ancient Greek fort of Acra from beneath a parking lot here, solving one of the greatest archaeological mysteries. Archaeologists believe they have found the precise location of he Acra, a fortified Hellenistic citadel erected in the heart of Jerusalem by the Seleucid conquerors, after they first destroyed he city in 168 BC.

Acra dates back more than 2,000 years, to the time of Greek excavation site in Jerusalem where researchers believe they have found the remains of the Acra fort. The fortified Hellenistic citadel was erected by the Seleucid conquerors in 168 BC ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

A section of fortification was discovered under the Givati parking lot in the City of David south of the Old City walls and the Temple Mount. The fortification is believed to have been part of a system of defences known as the Acra fortress, built by Antiochus as he sought to quell a Jewish priestly rebellion centered on the Temple. Excavation directors from Israel's Antiquities Authority Doron Ben-Ami, Yana Tchekhanovets and Salome Cohen called it a "sensational discovery". "The new archaeological finds indicate the establishment of a well-fortified stronghold that was constructed on the high bedrock cliff overlooking the steep slopes of the City of David hill," a statement from the team said yesterday .

"The newly-discovered fort controls all means of approach to the temple atop the Temple Mount," it added. Acra, which was occupied by mercenaries and Hellenized Jews, was built to consolidate the Seleucid Empire's control over the city.