The shrine has a unique design, which over the years has become a symbol of the city.
This is a treasure for the Jewish people. In the shrine are handwritten ancient writings, very rare and special, especially the Dead Sea Scrolls -the most important archeological findings of the 20th century.
The scrolls are extremely delicate, what makes displaying them for a long period of time very problematic. So, each scroll is displayed for a few months, up to six, and then it is replaced by another, and the first scroll is put into storage, to let it 'rest' from its exposure to light.
Near the shrine is a very specific model of Jerusalem from the period of the Second Temple. The model gives a connection between the handwritten scrolls and the history of Israel. There are many treasures here, like the Aleppo Codex, a precise and authoritative manuscript written in Tiberias in the 10th century CE.
Through these texts, these scrolls give us information about the lives of the big Jewish communities of the past who wrote them.
The first scrolls were discovered inside ceramic vases in a cave near the Qumran ruins, on the northwest cliffs of the Dead Sea, in the Judean Desert. The one who discovered them was Mohammed a-Deeb, a Bedouin shepherd, who was looking for a lost sheep, in 1947, and saw the vase with three scrolls inside. From 1947 up to 1958, hundreds of scrolls were found in other caves in the same area.
These are scrolls that contain texts from Biblical books, or other books that were not included in the Bible called external books. Other scrolls contained identities and letters, mostly written about Papyrus.
Researchers estimate that these scrolls were written between the 3rd century BC and the 1st century, right before the destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 CE. They are considered the earliest Hebrew texts that have ever been discovered.
The building's design was made by Jewish-American architects Armand Bartos and Frederick Kiesler. They decided to design the building, with a white dome-like top, a reminder of the vase covers the scrolls were found in. The white color contrasts with the black wall put next to it, what fits with the description about the "sons of light," as these writers saw themselves, against the "sons of darkness," their enemies. The corridor on the way to the entrance reminds a cave, again reminding the location of the scrolls.
The structure is located next to impressive and official places for the State of Israel, like the Knesset, Government buildings, and the National Library, indicating the importance of the scrolls, and the structure that contains them.