Western (Wailing) Wall, Jerusalem

Western (Wailing) Wall, Jerusalem (must see)

The Western Wall is also known as the Wailing Wall, the Place of Weeping and the Buraq Wall. It is located in Old Jerusalem. It is, in fact, part of the retaining wall of the Temple Mount. It was built in 19 BCE by Herod the Great. Herod expanded the Temple Mount area artificially and the Wall was built to retain the soil and filler added during this period.

The Western Wall is around 100 feet high from the foundation, but only around 60 feet is above ground at this point. In total there are 45 stone courses, of which 28 are above ground. The first seven are from the time of Herod the Great. Four more layers were added by the Umayyad Caliphate around 600 CE. In the 1860s, another fourteen levels were added during the Ottoman period. And the last 3 were added by the Mufti of Jerusalem. No further additions have occurred since the six-day war in 1967.

The sizes of the stones used in the wall are breathtaking. Weighing between 2 and 8 tons, the amount of work to get all the stones in place is truly amazing. One huge stone near Wilson’s arch may weigh as much as 570 tons.

The Wailing Wall is a site for Jewish pilgrimages’ and prayers since at least the 300s CE. The name Wailing Wall comes from the Jewish practice of coming to the Wall to mourn the loss of the Holy Temple on the Temple Mount. It is considered one of the holiest places for Jews to visit because of its proximity to the Temple Mount. The plaza around the Wall was built after the six-day war to make a gathering place for people to come and pray.

Both men and women are allowed to pray at the Wall, they must use separate entrances. The Wall is very busy during the Jewish Sabbath that begins at sundown on Friday evening and lasts until sundown on Saturday evening. Be sure to take along a prayer request on a small slip of paper to slip in between the stones. Prayer requests are removed once a month and taken to the Mount of Olives.

Tip:
When visiting, take your passport, expect tight security, and dress modestly.
No pictures are allowed during the Sabbath. There is no fee.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Jerusalem, Israel within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Western (Wailing) Wall on Map

Sight Name: Western (Wailing) Wall
Sight Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) containing this sight: Old City Orientation Walk  

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