Western Wall

Western Wall - Jerusalem

Israeli Soldiers Western Wall Shavuot Festival
Western Wall Jerusalem

Western Wall

The Western Wall - the most revered Jewish landmark in Jerusalem - is actually a misnomer since the Western Wall is not a wall, but a foundation. When Herod 'the Great' - the one who wiped out the baby boys in Bethlehem after hearing that the king of the Jews had been born there - set out to expand the second temple of Jerusalem, he found the Temple Mount area too small for his plans.

So he enlarged it with a foundation built of cut rocks. The Western Wall - the most revered site in Judaism today - is actually just the western facade of this foundation, which is all that remained of the Temple Mount after the Roman army led by Titus razed it literally to its foundation in 70 AD.

Travel Tip
To enter the Western Wall plaza (above), you need to go through one of three security checkpoints. The plaza is open 24 hours, 7 days a week but if you want to avoid crowds like the one above, go very early in the morning. To get close to the wall, dress modestly (e.g., no shorts or tank tops) and pick up a head covering from a bin near the entrance to the plaza. Men can approach the wall only from the left side of the plaza as you are facing the wall, and the women, only from the right; the two genders remain partitioned at the wall.

Israeli Soldiers Shavuot Festival