The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or HaKotel in Hebrew is the mostsacred place for the Jewish people outside the Temple Mount itself.
The Western wall 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 Temple’s courtyard, and is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism outside of the Temple Mount itself. Just over half the wall located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period, commonly believed to have been constructed around 19 BCE by Herod, but recent excavations indicate that the works were not finished during Herod’s lifetime. The remaining layers were added from the 7th century onwards.
For generations, the Western wall use to be a place of pilgrimage for the Jews.
Since 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 ocupation and Jews were barred from the site for 19 years until Israel captured the Old City in 1967.
Since the unification of Jerusalem the Western Wall returned to be as a main pilgrimage site for the Jews from Israel and abroad and it is opento visit for tourists from all religions.