These niches originally held statues of the pagan gods worshipped at Caesarea Philippi. The largest is actually an artificial cave that leads to a niche in the cliff itself. This niche apparently held a statue of Pan. Above it is another niche with an inscription indicating that a priest named Victor dedicated the statue of the goddess in the niche to the god Pan. The statue is gone. Other niches are seen in the cliff around the cave. This rock cliff, against which the temples stood, could be viewed as the "rock of the gods."
Jesus' church will replace these gods and their pagan practices, for his community will be built on the rock of Jesus himself, God's Messiah. The temple that stood in front of the niches probably did not have a back wall but opened into the cave, which is to the left of the arched opening.