The Western Wall (also known as the Wailing Wall, or the Kotel) is one of the last remaining walls of the ancient Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
The Western Wall, or “Wailing Wall”, is the most religious site in the world for the Jewish people. Located in the Old City of Jerusalem, it is the western support wall of the Temple Mount. Thousands of people journey to the wall every year to visit and recite prayers. These prayers are spoken or written down and placed in the cracks of the wall. The wall divided into two sections, one area for males and the other for females. It is one of the major highlights in any tour of the Old City.
The Temple was destroyed in 70 CE by the Romans, and much of what remains of the original structure is a small portion of an external supporting wall. Though it was not originally an important part of the Temple, this wall is considered an extremely holy place today. Located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem‘s Old City, Jews and non-Jews from all over the world visit the Western Wall to pray and meditate. It is customary to write short prayers on pieces of paper and leave them in the crevices of the wall.
The Western Wall’s holiness in Judaism is a result of its proximity to the Temple Mount. Because of the Temple Mount entry restrictions, the Wall is the holiest place where Jews are permitted to pray, though the Foundation Stone, the most sacred site in the Jewish faith, lies behind it. The original, natural, and irregular-shaped Temple Mount was gradually extended to allow for an ever-larger Temple compound to be built at its top.
This process was finalized by Herod, who enclosed the Mount with an almost rectangular set of retaining walls, made to support the Temple platform and using extensive substructures and earth fills to give the natural hill a geometrically regular shape. On top of this box-like structure, Herod built a vast paved platform that surrounded the Temple. Of the four retaining walls, the western one is considered closest to the former Holy of Holies, which makes it the most sacred site recognized by Judaism outside the previous Temple Mount platform.
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