Jerusalem's Cardo

Also known as Cardo Maximus

Medeba Map

A 6th century church floor in Medeba, Jordan has a mosaic map of the land of Israel with numerous place names in Greek.

The center of the map is an open-faced depiction of Jerusalem with the city walls, gates, churches (with red roofs), and the Cardo.  This main street of the city is depicted with two rows of colonnades running the length of the city from north to south.


Uncovered by Nahman Avigad’s team in the 1970s, the Cardo in the Jewish Quarter was excavated for about 200 meters.  This portion dates to the time of Emperor Justinian in the first half of the 6th c. A.D.  An earlier portion of the Cardo was constructed in the Roman period beginning at the modern Damascus Gate in the north, but it didn’t stretch this far south until centuries later.

The Main Street

The central street of the Cardo is 40 feet (12 m) wide and is lined on both sides with columns.  The total width of the street and shopping areas on either side is 70 feet (22 m), the equivalent of a 4-lane highway today.  This street was the main thoroughfare of Byzantine Jerusalem and served both residents and pilgrims.  Large churches flanked the Cardo in several places.

Shopping Area

The columns supported a wooden (no longer preserved) roof that covered the shopping area and protected the patrons from the sun and rain.  Today the Byzantine street is about 6 meters below the present street level, indicating the level of accumulation in the last 1400 years.

Modern Shops

A portion of the Cardo has been rebuilt as a modern shopping lane.  Jewish storekeepers sell fancy souvenirs and keepsakes to tourists “for a good price.”  This street continues north to Damascus Gate; as it leaves the Jewish Quarter it becomes the division between the Christian and Muslim Quarters.  As in ancient times, this street is still the main one in the Old City, but today it is much narrower than it once was.

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Related Websites

See BiblePlaces’ Jewish Quarter, for a related page of pictures, text and links.

The Cardo, General:

The Emperor Justinian and Jerusalem (527-565 CE) (The New Jerusalem Mosaic, Hebrew University)  Focuses on the reign of the sixth-century emperor who, among other large scale projects, expanded and magnified the Cardo.

Jerusalem in Early Christian Times (Israel MFA)  Highlights various facets of life in Christian Jerusalem, including a glimpse into the Cardo of this time, section by section.  Features many photographs and reconstruction drawings.

Jewish Sites in Jerusalem (Sacred Destinations)   Lists the Jewish sites in the city dominated by Christians and Muslims for the past two millennia.

Jerusalem: The Eternal City (Israel MFA)  Spotlights important archaeological sites around Jerusalem, including the Cardo.  Includes an enlargeable photo of  each site featured.

The Cardo (3DIsrael)  Virtual tour experience of this historic route, includes a brief historical description of the Street of the Pillars.

Jerusalem (Terragalleria) A basic directory of Jerusalem pictures.  Pictures include the city, its streets and religious sites.

The Medeba Map & the Cardo

Jerusalem – the Nea Church and the Cardo (Israel MFA)  Discusses the role of the Medeba Map in recovering the Nea Church and the Cardo.  Includes a section highlighting the history and archaeological sites of the Cardo.  Copy of this page at Jewish Virtual Library.

Byzantine Jerusalem and the Madaba Map (Personal Page)  Reviews the Byzantine history of Jerusalem through a glimpse at the Jerusalem medallion in the Medeba Map.

Jerusalem on the Madaba Map (The New Jerusalem Mosaic, Hebrew University)  Glimpses Jerusalem through the eyes of the famous Byzantine period map.

The Menorah

The Menorah (The Temple Institute)  Details the biblical instructions and details of construction of the menorah.  Brings to light contemporary discussion on some of the structural details.

The Menorah (Restoration Foundation)  Discusses some of the issues relating to the structure of the original menorah based on archaeological discoveries with conflicting images.

Temple Institute working on blueprints for Third Temple (Prophecy in the News)  A press release, celebrating the dedication of a golden menorah created by the Jerusalem Temple Institute.  The menorah is considered by some to the be the first step toward the building of the Third Temple.

Third Temple Menorah Unveiled In Jerusalem (Grant Jerrey)  A brief article reporting on the unveiling of the Temple Institute’s new menorah.