Another shorter valley began near the present Jaffa gate and, taking an easterly direction, joined the Tyropoeon; while a third ravine passed across what is now the northern part of the Haram enclosure and fell into the valley of the Kidron.
North of the Temple enclosure there was a gate, known as the Sheep Gate, which must have opened into the third valley mentioned above, and stood somewhere near what is now the north side of the Haram enclosure, but considerably south of the present north wall of the latter.
At this point in the Haram enclosure there is an enormous underground cistern, known as the Great Sea, and this may possibly have been the source of water supply for the Greek garrison.
He doubled the area of the enclosure round the Temple, and there can be little doubt that a great part of the walls of the Haram area date from the time of Herod, while probably the tower of David, which still exists near the Jaffa Gate, is on the same foundation as one of the towers adjoining his palace.
A theory frequently put forward is that it stood within the Haram area near the Mosque of el Aksa, but it is more probable that it was on Zion, near the traditional place of the Coenaculum or last supper, where the Mahommedan building known as the tomb of David now stands.
The following identifications have been suggested: Birket Isra`il, near St Stephen's gate; a large cistern, near St Anne's church; the "Twin Pools," north of the Haram (the ancient Temple area); the Hammam esh-Shifa', or pool of healing, west of the Haram; the Virgin's fountain, south of the Haram; and the "Pool of Siloam."
Three conspicuous minarets rise, two from the Haram, the other in the north quarter.
The most conspicuous building is the Haram built over the supposed site of the cave of Machpelah.
Since 1880 several notices of the Haram, within which are the tombs of the Patriarchs, have appeared.
40) that Mecca lies in a sterile valley, and the old geographers observe that the whole Haram or sacred territory round the city is almost without cultivation or date palms, while fruit trees, springs, wells, gardens and green valleys are found immediately beyond.
At all events, long before Mahomet we find Mecca established in the twofold quality of a commercial centre and a privileged holy place, surrounded by an inviolable territory (the Haram), which was not the sanctuary of a single tribe but a place of pilgrimage, where religious observances were associated with a series of annual fairs at different points in the vicinity.
The omra begins at some point outside the Haram (or holy territory), generally at Tanim, both for convenience sake and because Ayesha began the omra there in the year 10 of the Hegira.
The pilgrim enters the Haram in the antique and scanty pilgrimage dress (ihram), consisting of two cloths wound round his person in a way prescribed by ritual.