Burial Cave of Nicanor, Jerusalem

Burial Cave of Nicanor, Jerusalem

Within the botanical gardens of the Hebrew University's Mount Scopus Campus, a small set of burial caves have been expertly preserved and are open to the public. Here, visitors can marvel at original ossuaries that have remained undisturbed for thousands of years. Unlike seeing them in a museum, here you can examine authentic burial artifacts in their original context – and best of all, it's free of charge.

Among the ossuaries is one belonging to a Jewish benefactor named Nicanor, famed in ancient sources for his donation of the gates of the Second Jewish Temple (516BC-70AD). Legend has it that these brass gates were being transported by ship from Egypt to Judea when a fierce storm erupted, prompting the crew to toss one overboard. Unsuccessful in calming the tempest, they decided to discard the second gate as well. In a remarkable act of self-sacrifice, Nicanor insisted that if they cast the gate into the sea, they must also cast him out. Miraculously, the storm ceased upon his declaration; moreover, upon docking, the gate thrown into the sea was found floating in the harbor. Interestingly, all the Temple's gates were plated with gold except for Nicanor's, as the rabbis wished for the people to witness the "miracle gates" in their original bronze form. Besides, their brass finish happened to have a special golden hue – or so the Talmud says…

Tip: Remember to bring your ID for entry into the university campus.

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Burial Cave of Nicanor on Map

Sight Name: Burial Cave of Nicanor
Sight Location: Jerusalem, Israel (See walking tours in Jerusalem)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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