Hyrcania Water Systems


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This is a plan of the palace-fortress of Hyrcania (Horkania, Khirbed Mird), one of the seven desert fortresses built by Herod the Great. The plan emphasises the water systems and highlights the top of the mountain. The palace stood on top of the mountain, known as Jebel Muntar. The outline of the Herodian palace-fortress and the remains of some rooms can still be identified. The Byzantine remains consist of a chapel, sacristy, a courtyard and some cells.
The site was well supplied with water. The lower Byzantine aqueduct fed the four lowest cisterns, while the original Herodian upper aqueduct fed a total of ten cisterns higher up the mountain. Three large quarries are located in the vallley, which, after the completion of the Herodian palace-fortress, were used as swimming pools.