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The Jerusalem Western Wall
The Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall and the Kotel, is the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount, where the first and second temples once stood. Every year, the Western Wall draws millions from all over the world. Some come to pray; others remain silent, laying their weary brows against the worn, warm stones. Still others write their innermost wants on small pieces of paper and insert them in the cracks.
Although it’s one of the holiest sites for Judaism, the Western Wall holds a strange mystique when it comes to non-Jews, as well. But the Western Wall plaza, where worshipers congregate throughout the day for morning, afternoon and evening services, allows one access to only a small portion of the Wall. The rest stretches below ground and behind residential buildings in the Old City, and most is accessible only through a complex network of tunnels. Through these tunnels one can come to the part of the Wall traditionally considered closest to where the Holy of Holies used to be while the temple was still in place. There, behind the Wall, lies the Foundation Stone.
All in all, the Wall stretches for 488 meters (1,600 feet), 57 (187 feet) meters of which are exposed at the Western Wall plaza. The Wall is some 32 meters high (105 feet), with the visible section revealing approximately 19 meters (62 feet). Half of the wall, including 17 courses located below ground level, was built towards the end of the Second Temple period, around 19 BCE, by the legendary King Herod the Great.
The remaining layers were added from the 7th-century onwards, some 600 years after the destruction of the temple by the Roman legions in 70 BCE. Visitors to the Western Wall and other holy sites in Jerusalem are advised to dress modestly.
Getting There: Bus no. 1, 2, 38
|Address||Hakotel Hama'aravi, Jerusalem|
- Areas: Jewish Quarter, Old City
- Type: Archaeology, Historic Site, Jewish Sites
- Paid Parking Nearby
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