Israelis find ‘Third Temple’ in Morocco

In heart of Sahara desert’s film capital, Israelis searching for tombs of the just discover magnificent reconstruction of ‘Jewish temple’ for movie
Liron Naglar-Cohen

In Morocco’s Sahara desert, a half-hour drive from any community, lays the Third Templein all its glory. Not the real temple, of course, but close enough to any Jewish worshipper’s wet dream.



Apparently, the ‘temple’ was built in the heart of Ouarzazate, Morocco’s film capital, for the production of a new movie. It is here where such Hollywood films as „The Ten Commandments” and „Gladiator” were shot.


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However for most righteous Jews, Ouarzazate is the burial place of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochaiand a hot spot for thousands of visitors every year marking the festivities of his Yom Hillula (the anniversary of his passing).




See the ‘temple’ for yourselves


„The entire journey was very spiritual, and we were already in the mood. It does something to you, to walk around in such a place. It makes you yearn like crazy for a temple. You say: ‘I want the real thing.'”



Local construction workers on site told the excited group that the place was being renovated for a new film, so luckily for them – it was open for visitors. On most days, the ‘temple’ is off limits, located on private land.




„It’s huge,” Lugasi remarked. „In the photo you see only a tiny part. And as massive as it looks… it’s all made out of fiberglass. Those enormous pillars that look like they weight a ton actually way only about a gram and a half. But because it’s in the middle of the desert it never rains and the set stays intact.”



According to him, the locals knew the Israeli group before them was connected to the ‘temple’ in someway. „They told us: ‘We know it’s yours,’ and greeted us very kindly.”