A segment of the Low-Level Aqueduct to Jerusalem has been exposed over the last few weeks in the neighborhood of Armon Hanatsiv. This was a joint project of the Israel Antiquities Authority with the Jerusalem Municipality and the Moriah Jerusalem Development Corporation to make this extraordinary 2000-year-old engineering feat visible and accessible to the public.
The Low-Level Aqueduct winds along a route of 21 km. Solomons` Pools are located south of Bethlehem to the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem with a very slight gradient- descending just over 1 m. along every kilometer on average. This amazing water system, initiated by the Hasmonean kings to increase the water supply to Jerusalem and in particular to the Temple Mount, astounds us until this very day, and due to the aqueduct’s ingenuity and quality, it continued to be used until the British Mandate 100 years ago when the invention of electric pumps replaced it.
According to Ya`akov Billig Of the Israel Antiquities Authority, who has researched the ancient aqueducts to Jerusalem: “Two aqueducts brought water from Solomons` Pools, located between Bethlehem and Efrat to Jerusalem- the Low-Level Aqueduct and the High-Level Aqueduct. It amazes us to think how they managed in antiquity to make the accurate measurements of elevation along with such a long distance, choosing the route along the mountainous terrain and calculating the necessary gradient, all this without the modern, sophisticated instruments we have today”.
Presently, segments of the Low-Level aqueduct are being revealed under Alkachi street in the Armon Hanatsiv in an excavation directed by Alexander Wiegmann of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Following the excavation, conservation experts will do preservation work along with the remains for their exhibition in a park for the pleasure of visitors and the public.