In the second Beis Hamikdash there was no Aron. All that was visible was the stone which the Aron had originally been placed upon, otherwise known as the "Even Hash’siyah". This was the stone from which the world was originally created from. Today this stone is identified by many as the stone visible today in the center of the Dome of the Rock (see pic).
There are various opinions regarding the exact positioning of the Aron in the Kodesh Hakodoshim. According to many it stood in the center. Other possibilities are the western wall or the eastern edge.
The only person permitted to enter the Kodesh Hakodoshim was the Kohen Gadol, and only on Yom Kippur. The Yom Kippur service required the Kohen Gadol to enter four times on that day.
Other items placed together with the Aron were; Aron’s staff which bore almonds, the jar of the Shemen hamishcha, the jar of manna and the case of presents which the P’lishtim sent to honor Hashem, when they returned the Aron.
In the Aron itself were the second sets of luchos and the broken luchos. Another item placed either in the Aron or next to it, was the Sefer Torah which Moshe Rabbeinu wrote and completed just before his passing.
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