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The Wailing Wall - The Western Wall - Jerusalem Travel Information

Photos from The Wailing Wall

כתובת על הכותל המערבי הכתל המערבי הכותל המערבי הכותל המערבי הכותל המערבי שיחת טלפון מנהרת הכותל מנהרת הכותל - הכותל המערבי הכותל המערבי - מנהרת הכותל מנהרת הכותל מנהרת הכותל מנהרת הכותל

Jews around the world turn their eyes to the Western Wall, also know as the Wailing Wall, which is the closest location to the place where the temple used to stand where Jews can pray. The wall we know today was a part of the temple's western wall, hence its name. Believers leave notes in the cracks between the wall's stones.

The base of the section seen today is from the period of the second temple, which was destroyed in the year 70AD. It's upper parts were added during later periods. The hight of the Western Wall is 18 meters, and it consists of 24 stone layers, when the lower layers are made up of larger stones. A significant part of the Western Wall is still buried beneath the surface (19 layers of stones). It is possible that the lower layers are from the period of the first temple. The height of the buried part of the Western Wall is almost as high as the visible part.

Today, the Wailing Wall is a part of the wall surrounding the Muslim Mosques on Temple Mount.

The Western Wall is where every Jewish boy or girl would like to have thier Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah. Watching a youg boy reading from the Torah for his Bar Mitzvah near this ancient wall is always an emotional moment.

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The Western Wall Tunnels

The closest point to where the Temple's Holy of the Holies used to stand, where Jews can still pray, is not the Western Wall which is visible today, but in a part called the Western Wall Tunnels.

In 1968, when the works for cleaning the area of the Western Wall began after the liberation of Jerusalem, an entrance to a tunnel 488 meters long was discovered. The tunnel passes close to the foundations of the Temple Mount's Western Wall.

Visiting the Western Wall Tunnels takes the visitor to some of the oldest parts of the wall, and the most exciting part is where you can see the largest stone which was discovered in the wall. This stone, 13.6 meters long, 4.5 meters wide and 3.5 meters high, weighs 570 tons.

Inside the Western Wall Tunnel is one of the gates that used to lead to the Temple, which is known as the Warren Gate. This gate, which used to be opened, was blocked by the Wakf to prevent entrance to the Solomon Stables compound.

At the closest point to the Holy of the Holies, a synagogue was built, where people can pray.

The exit point of the Western Wall Tunnel is in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, and the way back is with an armed escort. The opening of this exit is what caused the Western Wall Tunnel events in September 1996.


Visiting the Western Wall Tunnel is with a guided tour only, and you can not enter the tunnel alone.


A tour of the Western Wall Tunnel costs 18 NIS.


You must plan ahead your visit to the Western Wall Tunnel by calling this number: 02-6271333.

Why wasn't the Western Wall destroyed?

The Jewish tradition says that a wall of the temple itself (not the one that can be seen today!) survived because it was closest to the place where the Ark used to reside. The legend tells that when Titus, the commander of the Roman army legions, ordered to destroy the temple, he ordered Pangar, duke of Arabia to destroy the Western Wall. Pangar could not destroy the wall because of God's intervention, so when asked why he did not destroy it, replied that if destroyed, there will be no reminder left of what Titus has conquered.

It should be noted that the Wailing Wall known today is not a part of the temple, but a part of the wall that was created to support the temple's structure. This wall, by itself, had no religious importance. The tradition moved the story about the temple's wall (which was destroyed since then), to today's Western Wall. Over the years, Jews prayed next to the Southern Wall, Eastern Wall, and even on Temple Mount itself, based on what the authorities allowed them to do.

The Western Wall became the main prayer site only about 700 years ago, when the Ramban arrived to Jerusalem, and started resurrecting the Jewish settlement there. The area west of the Temple Mount was deserted, so Jews settled there. Looking for a place to pray which will be close to Temple Mount, they found the Western Wall.

Wailing Wall in the Muslim belief

The name Wailing Walled is named 'El-Burak' by the Muslims, after the winged horse that brought Muhammad the prophet in the Night Journey (Asra) from Mekka to Jerusalem. Tradition says that Muhammad tied the horse to the Western Wall, and entered a cave located on Temple Mount (today inside the dome of the rock). From there, an angel took him to meet Moses, Jesus, Elijah the Prophet and other prophets. This is when he saw the Heaven and Hell and the destiny awaiting man after death.