Solomon's Temple

urban projects temple of solomon

Solomon's Temple was an early house of worship -- and an architectural novelty.

Dating from around 960 BC, it was one of the first buildings ever constructed using a "prefab" method, a system that remains popular today, according to Kathleen Lusk Brooke, co-author of Building the World, an encyclopedia of engineering projects.

The temple was also an early example of cooperation between two nation states on a major urban project, as the neighboring Phoenicians (from what is now Lebanon) helped the Hebrews with both materials and manpower. Indeed, the temple sits on the Temple Mount -- a holy site in Jerusalem that's been claimed by at least three major world religions.

But perhaps its biggest contribution to urban development was what lay inside -- the Arc of the Covenant, which was said to hold the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments. This was one of the first times humans had enshrined law instead of idols, said Lusk Brooke -- with the rule of law being an essential element for urban living.

First published October 7, 2014: 7:10 AM ET

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