Fortress Antonia


The Fortress Antonia was where the Roman governors stayed when they were in town.Otherwise they stayed more in the coastal city of Caesarea.During a festival like Passover, a person like Pilate would likely be in town.


The location of the fortress on the northwest side of the temple mount afforded a good view of what was going on at any given festival.Perhaps soldiers observed Jesusí actions with the money changers from here.And of course it was from here that the soldiers rescued Paul from an angry mob.


Here is a reconstruction of what it would have looked like.The wall on the left is the temple mount where the temple was:



Hereís a modern picture aimed at the same general location:



Here is a pillar from the original fortress:



Here is an original paving stone from the time of Jesus.You can see a game played from the carving in it:



The original ďvia dolorosaĒ leaving Pilateís quarters in the direction of Golgotha is below.You can see the grooves from the traffic of many, many carts:



I guess some have suggested that Pilate would have gone to Herodís palace rather than interrogated Jesus at the fortress.Since Herodís palace (see earlier pictures in the sequence) is on the other side of Golgotha, that would mean Jesus came to the cross from the opposite direction.However, I am not sure who is claiming these things.Are they suggesting that Pilate stayed in Herodís palace when in town?The idea at least seems initially plausible for Herod Antipas did not rule in Jerusalem.Luke says he was in town, but he had no jurisdiction there.So I donít know.If the palace remained in the family, perhaps Pilate didnít stay there.If it remained a kind of political palace, Pilate probably did.


The location is now the property of the Ecole Biblique in the Muslim quarter.The easiest way to get to it is by coming in St. Stephenís Gate a.k.a. the Lionís Gate.The first two stations of the cross are just east of it, and the current Via Dolorosa continues past it.You can thus get to it if you come in the Damascus Gate and take a left at station 7.You then take a right at station 3 and youíre on your way.