The Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall Jerusalem, is located at the Temple Mount and holds extreme historical significance. Every tour of Jerusalem has this place on its itinerary, all three major religions hold it close to their heart, and ongoing battles seethe over this hallowed ground.
Basically every tour of Israel or Jerusalem includes this stop. Try this one.
The site of Mount Moriah, where Abraham went to sacrifice his son Isaac, it is also the site of both the first and second temples sacred to Jews. Jews are prohibited access to the actual Temple, so they worship at the wall.
During the Muslim era, the Al-Aqsa mosque was built on top of the mount at the site, which has become one of the holiest sites of Islam to worship.
The Western Wall is built of ancient limestone, one of the retaining walls around the Temple Mount built by Herod the Great as an expansion to the original second temple. This building project resulting in the surrounding of the steep hill known as the Temple Mount with a rectangular set of four retaining walls. The Western Wall is closest to the site of the original temple and thus incredibly holy to Jews for 2000 years. The authenticity of the wall has been confirmed by archaeologists and historians. When the Romans razed the Jewish temple in 70 CE, they left this one wall standing, not bothering as it was just a retaining wall.
As with many sites in this country, this is an area of strife. Due to the belief that God’s divine presence is never far from the wall, Jewish worshippers have taken to writing prayers on small slips of paper and wedging them in the wall between the cracks of stones.
In 1 Kings 8:41-43, when King Solomon built the Temple, he asked God to heed the prayers of all, not just the Jews. The prophet Isaiah said that the Temple Mount was “for all nations”. So anybody may write their prayer and stick it into the wall for God to answer.
For nineteen years, from 1948 to 1967, throughout the regional wars, Jordan held this area. Despite signing an agreement guaranteeing Jewish people’s rights to visit the Wall, they were never permitted entry by the Jordanians.
Israel won back the area in the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel handed over control of the Muslim holy places to Muslim authorities in an expansive peace gesture. The result was that Jews were barred from praying at the Temple Mount. But it didn’t stop the tradition of writing prayers in the walls. It has even been rumored that the saying “The walls have ears” comes from the Western Wall traditions.
This is a must on your trip to Israel. Just remain aware and respectful, and the holy spirit will overtake you at this incredible ancient site.