The Western Wall is the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount built by Herod in the first century BCE. The wall was built to expand the size of the Temple Mount where the Second Temple was located.
The size of the stones and their weight between two tons and several hundred tons each stone. The Western Wall stretches from the southwest corner near the Robinson Arch, to the northwestern end located in the Muslim Quarter.
After the destruction of the Temple, the Jews turned to the place closest to the Holy of Holies, which is today identified with the Dome of the Rock. For years, many Jews made a pilgrimage to the Western Wall only to touch the wall and pray in the holy place.
After the Six Day War and with the liberation of the Old City, hundreds of thousands of Jews came to the place they had been forbidden to visit for 19 years. The Mughrabi neighborhood that was built near the Western Wall was demolished to create the prayer plaza from the central one at the Western Wall.
The Western Wall Today
Today, the Western Wall is a center of pilgrimage for Jews and tourists from all over the world. Many people bury notes inside the walls, hold bar mitzvah ceremonies. At the Western Wall there are visitors and prayers 24/7.
Due to the sanctity of the place, mass prayers are held there, such as the traditional priestly’ blessing, which takes place on Passover and Sukkot, during the month of Elul and especially on the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
During Shavuot, many Jews come on foot from all over Jerusalem to pray the morning prayer.
National ceremonies are also held at the site, such as the opening ceremony of Memorial Day for IDF martyrs, swearing-in ceremonies for IDF fighters, and Jerusalem Day celebrations.