The Western Wall

The 2,000-year-old Western Wall, or the Kotel, in Jerusalem is considered to be the holiest place today for Jews around the world. Millions of visitors—both Jews and non-Jews—from across Israel and around the world travel to the Kotel to pray each year. Many of the visitors insert notes of prayer inside the cracks of the wall.

The Kotel is considered such a holy site because it was originally part of the retaining wall of the Holy Temple which stood on the temple mount. The Western Wall was built during a renovation of the Temple initiated by King Herod during his reign beginning in 37 BCE. The Western Wall was built as a support wall when the temple mount plaza was expanded.  While the second temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70CE, the support walls, including the Western Wall, remained standing. The Western Wall became the place where Jews flocked to pray to God because it was situated closest to the Holy of Holies—the holiest room in the Holy Temple.

Between 1948 and 1967, Jews were prohibited from the Western Wall as it was under Jordanian rule.  Jews, glimpsing the Wall from afar, yearned to return to their holy site. Their dream came true in 1967 when Israel re-conquered Jerusalem’s Old City and liberated the Western Wall in the Six Day War.

When you travel to Jerusalem you can find the Kotel easily with any map of jerusalem, this is a visit you won’t want to skip.