Faith, culture and history join together at the Western Wall in a special way that makes Israel unique. Revered as the last remnant of the Second Temple, The Western Wall is Judaism’s most sacred site. Thanks to King Solomon and his invitation for everyone (1 King 8:41-42) “to turn here in prayer,” visitors of all faiths and cultures can feel a special bond.
You’ll find worshippers here day and night. And on Bar Mitzvah days (Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays), families from around the world and across Israel crowd the plaza to celebrate their son’s first public Bible reading at age 13. Jews from every continent, each with their own customs, music, dress and liturgy, mingle together making this an unforgettable and colorful cultural event. Many visitors find that placing a traditional prayer note in the ancient stones gives them a treasured memory.
The nearby Western Wall Tunnel is a true treat for archaeology and history buffs. At over 180 feel long and over 60 feet high, the massive open-air portion of the Western Wall astounds visitors. Most of its nearly 1,700 foot original length lies beneath today’s Old City.
The tunnels were constructed using numerous arches placed side-by-side, with staircases going from the city to the Temple Mount. In ancient times there was a shallow valley called the Tyropaean running along the western side of the Temple Mount that separated the rich Herodian quarter from the Temple. Today, the valley has been filled in as the result of constant demolition and rebuilding. This valley was the reason the arches had to be built. In fact, these pathways still hold up the streets today with the tunnel going directly beneath the Muslim quarter.
Feel history with your fingertips by reaching out in the tunnel to touch portions of the huge arches that supported Jerusalem’s streets over the millennia, the homes later built among them and the Western Wall itself with some building blocks being the most massive ever discovered. Exit the tunnel and you are brought back to present-day Jerusalem with a lasting memory and new appreciation for this magnificent and moving site.
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