The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel is an ancient limestone wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock, composed mainly of skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, forams and molluscs.
Jerusalem, is a city located on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea.
Western Wall Tunnels Tour | Part I by Jacoby Thomas Nelson
It is a relatively small segment of a far longer ancient retaining wall, known also in its entirety as the "Western Wall".
Retaining walls are relatively rigid walls used for supporting the soil mass laterally so that the soil can be retained at different levels on the two sides.
The Western Wall by YoelBenYsryael
The wall was originally erected as part of the expansion of the Second Jewish Temple by Herod the Great, which resulted in the encasement of the natural, steep hill known to Jews and Christians as the Temple Mount, in a large rectangular structure topped by a huge flat platform, thus creating more space for the Temple itself and its auxiliary buildings.
The Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Haram esh-Sharif, a hill located in the Old City of Jerusalem, is one of the most important religious sites in the world.
Herod, also known as Herod the Great and Herod I, was a Roman client king of Judea, referred to as the Herodian kingdom.
Because of the status quo policy, the Wall is the holiest place where Jews are permitted to pray, though it is not the holiest site in the Jewish faith, which lies behind it.
The original, natural and irregular-shaped Temple Mount was gradually extended to allow for an ever-larger Temple compound to be built at its top.
This process was finalised by Herod, who enclosed the Mount with an almost rectangular set of retaining walls, built to support extensive substructures and earth fills needed to give the natural hill a geometrically regular shape.
Of the four retaining walls, the western one is considered to be closest to the former Temple, which makes it the most sacred site recognised by Judaism outside the former Temple Mount esplanade.
Just over half the wall's total height, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period, and is commonly believed to have been built around 19 BCE by Herod the Great, although recent excavations indicate that the work was not finished by the time Herod died in 4 BCE.
The very large stone blocks of the lower courses are Herodian, the courses of medium-sized stones above them were added during the Umayyad era, while the small stones of the uppermost courses are of more recent date, especially from the Ottoman period.
The Umayyad Caliphate, also spelled Omayyad, was the second of the four major caliphates established after the death of Muhammad.
The term Western Wall and its variations are mostly used in a narrow sense for the section traditionally used by Jews for prayer, and it has also been called the "Wailing Wall", referring to the practice of Jews weeping at the site over the destruction of the Temples.
During the period of Christian Roman rule over Jerusalem, Jews were completely barred from Jerusalem except to attend Tisha be-Av, the day of national mourning for the Temples, and on this day the Jews would weep at their holy places.
The term "Wailing Wall" was thus almost exclusively used by Christians, and was revived in the period of non-Jewish control between the establishment of British Rule in 1920 and the Six-Day War in 1967.
The Six-Day War, also known as the June War, 1967 Arab–Israeli War, or Third Arab–Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967 by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.
The term "Wailing Wall" is not used by Jews and increasingly many others who consider it derogatory.
In a broader sense, "Western Wall" can refer to the entire 488 metre-long retaining wall on the western side of the Temple Mount.
The classic portion now faces a large plaza in the Jewish Quarter, near the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount, while the rest of the wall is concealed behind structures in the Muslim Quarter, with the small exception of a 25 ft section, the so-called Little Western Wall.
The Little Western Wall, also known as HaKotel HaKatan and the Small Kotel,, is a Jewish religious site located in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem near the Iron Gate to the Temple Mount.
The segment of the Western retaining wall traditionally used for Jewish liturgy known as the "Western Wall" derives its particular importance to it having never been fully obscured by medieval buildings, and displaying much more of the original Herodian stonework than the "Little Western Wall".
The craft of stonemasonry has existed since humanity could use and make tools - creating buildings, structures, and sculpture using stone from the earth.
In religious terms, the "Little Western Wall" is presumed to be even closer to the Holy of Holies and thus to the "presence of God", and the underground Warren's Gate, which has been out of reach since the 12th century, even more so.
Warren's Gate, first described by the nineteenth century surveyor Charles Warren, is an ancient entrance into the Temple platform in Jerusalem which lies about 150 feet into the Western Wall Tunnel.
The Holy of Holies is a term in the Hebrew Bible which refers to the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle where God dwelt.
The wall has been a site for Jewish prayer and pilgrimage for centuries; the earliest source mentioning this specific site as a place of worship is from the 16th century.
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance.