Western Wall

Western Wall in Wikipedia

The Western Wall (Hebrew: הכותל המערבי‎, translit.: HaKotel HaMa'aravi), Wailing Wall or Kotel (lit. Wall; Ashkenazic pronunciation: Kosel); and known by Arabs as Ḥā'iṭ Al-Burāq, is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount. It is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple's courtyard and is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism outside of the Temple Mount itself. Just over half the wall, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period, being constructed around 19 BCE by Herod the Great. The remaining layers were added from the 7th century onwards. The Western Wall refers not only to the exposed section facing a large plaza in the Jewish Quarter, but also to the sections concealed behind structures running along the whole length of the Temple Mount, such as the Little Western Wall - a 25 ft (8 m) section in the Muslim Quarter. It has been a site for Jewish prayer and pilgrimage for centuries, the earliest source mentioning Jewish attachment to the site dating from the 4th century. From the mid-19th century onwards, attempts to purchase rights to the wall and its immediate area were made by various Jews, but none were successful. With the rise of the Zionist movement in the early 20th-century, the wall became a source of friction between the Jewish community and the Muslim religious leadership, who were worried that the wall was being used to further Jewish nationalistic claims to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. Outbreaks of violence at the foot of the wall became commonplace and an international commission was convened in 1930 to determine the rights and claims of Muslims and Jews in connection with the wall. After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War the wall came under Jordanian control and Jews were barred from the site for 19 years until Israel captured the Old City in 1967. Etymology -- Charles Wilson, 1881. (Picturesque Palestine, vol. 1, p. 41).[1] Early Jewish texts referred to a "western wall of the Temple",[2] but there is doubt whether the texts were referring to today’s Western Wall or to another wall which stood within the Temple complex. The earliest clear Jewish use of the term Western Wall as referring to the wall visible today was by the 11th-century Ahimaaz ben Paltiel. The name "Wailing Wall", and descriptions such as "wailing place" appeared regularly in English literature during the 19th century.[3][4][5] The name Mur des Lamentations was used in French and Klagemauer in German. This term itself was a translation of the Arabic el- Mabka, or "Place of Weeping," the traditional Arabic term for the wall.[6] This description stemmed from the Jewish practice of coming to the site to mourn and bemoan the destruction of the Temple. During the 1920s with the growing Arab-Jewish tensions over rights at the wall, the Arabs began referring to the wall as al-Buraq. This was based on the tradition that the wall was the place where Muhammad tethered his miraculous winged steed, Buraq. Location and dimensions -- Panorama of the Western Wall with the Dome of the Rock (left) and al-Aqsa mosque (right) in the background The Western Wall commonly refers to a 187 foot (57 m) exposed section of ancient wall situated on the western flank of the Temple Mount. This section faces a large plaza and is set aside for prayer. In its entirety, however, the above ground portion of the Western Wall stretches for 1,600 feet (488 m), most of which is hidden behind residential structures built along its length. Other revealed sections include the southern part of the Wall which measures approximately 80 metres (262 ft) and another much shorter section known as the Little Western Wall which is located close to the Iron Gate. The wall functions as a retaining wall, built to support the extensive renovations that Herod the Great carried out around 19 BCE. Herod expanded the small quasi-natural plateau on which the First and Second Temples stood into the wide expanse of the Temple Mount visible today. At the Western Wall Plaza, the total height of the Wall from its foundation is estimated at 105 feet (32 m), with the exposed section standing approximately 62 feet (19 m) high. The Wall consists of 45 stone courses, 28 of them above ground and 17 underground.[7] The first seven visible layers are from the Herodian period. This section of wall is built from enormous meleke limestone stones, possibly quarried at either Zedekiah's Cave[8] situated under the Muslim Quarter of the Old City or at Ramat Shlomo[9] four kilometers northwest of the Old City. Most of them weigh between two and eight tons each, but others weigh even more, with one extraordinary stone located in the northern section of Wilson's Arch measuring 13 metres and weighing approximately 570 tons. Each of these stones is surrounded by fine-chiseled borders. The margins themselves measure between 5 and 20 centimetres (2 and 8 in) wide, with their depth measuring 1.5 centimetres (0.59 in). In the Herodian period, the upper 10 metres (33 ft) of wall were 1 metre (39 in) thick and served as the other wall of the double colonnade of the plateau. This upper section was decorated with pilasters, the remainder of which were destroyed at the beginning of the 7th century when the Byzantines reconquered Jerusalem from the Persians and their Jewish allies in 628.[10] The next four layers were added by Umayyads in the 7th century. The next fourteen layers are from the Ottoman period and their addition is attributed to Sir Moses Montefiore who in 1866 arranged that further layers be added "for shade and protection from the rain for all who come to pray by the holy remnant of our Temple". The top three layers were placed by the Mufti of Jerusalem before 1967.[11] History -- Construction 19 BCE -- Engraving, 1850 According to the Tanakh, Solomon's Temple was built atop the Temple Mount in the 10th century BCE and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The Second Temple was completed and dedicated in 516 BCE. In around 19 BCE Herod the Great began a massive expansion project on the Temple Mount. He artificially expanded the area which resulted in an enlarged platform. Today's Western Wall formed part of the retaining perimeter wall of this platform. Herod's Temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire, along with the rest of Jerusalem, in 70 CE during the First Jewish-Roman War. Roman Empire and rise of Christianity 100–500 CE -- In the early centuries of the Common Era, after the Roman defeat of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135 CE, Jews were banned from Jerusalem. There is some evidence that Roman emperors in the 2nd and 3rd centuries did permit them to visit the city to worship on the Mount of Olives and sometimes on the Temple Mount itself.[12] When the empire became Christian under Constantine I, they were given permission to enter the city once a year, on the ninth day of the month of Av, to lament the loss of the Temple at the wall.[13] The Bordeaux Pilgrim, written in 333 CE, suggests that it was probably to the perforated stone or the Rock of Moriah, "to which the Jews come every year and anoint it, bewail themselves with groans, rend their garments, and so depart". This was because an Imperial decree from Rome barred Jews from living in Jerusalem. Just once per year they were permitted to return and bitterly grieve about the fate of their people. Comparable accounts survive, including those by the Church Father, Gregory of Nazianzus and by Jerome in his commentary to Zephaniah written in the year 392 CE. In the 4th century, Christian sources reveal that the Jews encountered great difficulty in buying the right to pray near the Western Wall, at least on the 9th of Av.[12] In 425 CE, the Jews of the Galilee wrote to Byzantine empress Aelia Eudocia seeking permission to pray by the ruins of the Temple. Permission was granted and they were officially permitted to resettle in Jerusalem.[1...

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The Western Wall and the Western Wall Tunnel

If you would like to visit some of the places Jesus did when he was alive during your tour to the Holy Land, go to the Western Wall and the Western Wall Tunnel. The last remaining part of the Temple in Jerusalem that Jesus would have known, it was destroyed by the Romans about 2,000 years ago. Many visitors come here to pray following the example of King Solomon who asked God to hear everyone in this sacred place (1 Kings 8:41-43). The Western Wall Tunnel is the location of the rest of the 1,455 ft portion of the wall. There is a model there that shows the Passover pilgrimage that would have been taken by Jesus as a child (Luke 2:46). You can also the site where a beggar was healed by Peter (Acts 3:7) and where Jesus openly confronted money-changers and merchants (John 2:3-6 and Matt. 21:12-13)-stories to keep in mind on your Israel tour. The tunnels of the Western Wall were created using side-by-side arches to support staircases that lead from the city to the Temple Mount.Tyropaean valley once ran along the western side of the Temple Mount, however, visitors on tours in Israel will notice it has been filled with the refuse from all of the demolition and rebuilding. This valley used to separate the Herodian quarter from the Temple and the arches were built to form a bridge between these two sites. Amazingly enough, these arches and pathways still support the modern streets and go right below the Muslim Quarter. One your pilgrimage to Israel, if you stop at the Western Wall Tunnel, you can see the pavement built by Herod Agrippa (Acts 12:21), the Holies of Holies and the foundation of the Praetorium (Matt. 27:27). (America Israel Travel)

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