- "We built vaults within which to work, each dedicated to a different method of salvation. They were placed underground to avoid the war which raged above, and also as a precaution, should we fail in our efforts."
Temples, also referred to as Vaults, were underground locations constructed by the First Civilization. A number of these were built in an attempt to discover a way to protect the Earth from the First Disaster, as well as any recurrence.
These Temples were dotted across the globe. There was a disproportionately high number of Temples in the area of Rome, Italy, while the Grand Temple was located in upstate New York, in the United States.
- "Built by those who knew to turn away from war. They worked to protect us – to save us from the fire. If you can find them... If their work can be saved... so too might this world."
- ―Minerva to Desmond Miles.[src]
The Temples were established underground, as a way both to protect them from the battle present on the surface, and as a precaution should they fail to avert the coming catastrophe.
- "Six we tried in succession, each more encouraging than the last. But none worked. And then the world ended..."
Each Temple researched a different way to prevent the disaster, and the findings were transmitted to the Grand Temple, located underneath a First Civilization municipality in modern New York. From there, three members of the First Civilization - Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva - sorted the solutions most likely to succeed.
They tested six possible solutions in succession, with each being more promising than the last. However, all six solutions ultimately failed, and before any further solutions could be tested, a catastrophe decimated the planet, nearly wiping out the entire First Civilization.
- "You must go there. To the place where we labored... labored and lost. Take my words. Pass them from your head into your hands. That is how you will open the way."
- ―Jupiter to Desmond Miles.[src]
In 2012, Minerva spoke to Desmond Miles, who relived the genetic memories of his ancestor, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, through a machine known as the Animus. When Ezio accessed a Vault under the Sistine Chapel in 1499, Minerva told Desmond about the war that had wiped out all of her kind, and its impending repeat. She also briefly told Desmond about the history of the Temples, before telling him to guard against "the cross."
Several weeks later, on 10 October 2012, Desmond and his team of fellow modern-day Assassins drove to a Vault located beneath the Colosseum in Rome. There, Juno spoke to Desmond as he free-ran around the Vault, attempting to access the pedestal at its center.
Juno informed Desmond about the history behind confrontations between humans and the First Civilization, and soon after, once Desmond had activated an Apple of Eden on the pedestal, Juno reappeared and forced Desmond to stab his fellow Assassin, Lucy Stillman. After impaling Lucy in the abdomen with his Hidden Blade, Desmond fell unconscious, with his subconscious splintered.
After Desmond accessed Ezio's nexus of time from 1512, another member of the First Civilization, Jupiter, spoke to Desmond. Jupiter informed Desmond about the catastrophe that had previously occurred, and also explained the Temples in further detail. Lastly, Jupiter told Desmond that he needed to go to the Grand Temple in order to stop the impending cataclysm, though he also admitted that he was unsure as to whether the Temples could successfully prevent the disaster.
In addition to the Temples created to research potential solutions to the impending solar flare, there was also a series of other hidden chambers located around the world, each one containing a unique Piece of Eden suspended above a pedestal. A vast, interconnected network, these Temples were believed to be responsible for stabilizing the world's crust.
When removed, these Pieces triggered a violent seismic reaction capable of starting earthquakes, creating tsunamis, and destroying cities. On two events - once in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 1751, caused when the Assassin Vendredi sent by François Mackandal entered a Temple below the city, and again in 1755, when Shay Cormac removed a Piece from its place below the Carmo Convent in Lisbon, Portugal - these Temples triggered devastating earthquakes that killed thousands and left thousands more without homes.
Although the Assassins did not know about the connection between the removal of the Pieces and the chaos of the earthquakes, Shay Cormac was so deeply affected by his experience in Portugal that he went so far as to betray the Order to ensure that such destruction would never happen again.
Ultimately, the Assassins' search for another seismic Temple led them to a third site hidden within a large cavern in the Arctic. As Shay and Haytham Kenway confronted Achilles Davenport and Liam O'Brien at the pedestal, Liam triggered yet another earthquake, causing the cavern to collapse and the icebergs around it to crumble. However, unlike the two previous earthquakes, there were no reported casualties, due to the Temple's remote location.
Known Vaults and Temples
The following is a list of known Vaults and Temples:
- The Alamut Temple: located beneath the Assassins' fortress in Alamut.
- The Arctic Temple: located in an unknown location in the Arctic.
- The Amritsar Temple: located beneath Ranjit Singh's palace in Amritsar.
- The Chichen Itza Temples: located in the tunnels beneath Chichen Itza.
- The Colosseum Vault: located below the Santa Maria in Aracoeli in Rome.
- Eesfet Oon-m'Aa Poo: located below the Great Sphinx of Giza.
- Eeyoo Sekedoo Aat: located below the tomb of Smenkhkare.
- The Grand Temple: located near Turin, New York.
- The Great Pyramid Vault: located below the Great Pyramid of Giza.
- The Herat Temple: located beneath Herat Citadel in Herat.
- The Jerusalem Vault: located beneath Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem.
- Khesesh Em Sesh Em Eeneb: located beneath the Pyramid of Khufu.
- The Lisbon Temple: located below the Carmo Convent in Lisbon.
- The Observatory: located near Long Bay in Jamaica.
- Oun-mAa Niye Ressoot: located below the Golden Tomb of Ahmose-ankh.
- The Port-au-Prince Temple: located near Port-au-Prince.
- The Pythagorean Vault: located in the Temple of Pythagoras in Rome.
- Qeneb.too Kah'Aiye: located below the sands of the Desheret Desert.
- The Saint-Denis Temple: located below Saint-Denis.
- Seshem.eff Er Aat: located below the tomb of an Egyptian Nomarch.
- The Siwa Vault: located under the Temple of Amun in Siwa.
- The Vatican Vault: located below the Sistine Chapel in Rome.