Jerusalem: Western Wall

This section of the Temple Mount Wall dates from the time of Herod. The Temple stood on the floor above the wall shown here. This particular wall would have been more than 40 feet above the street in Jesus day. The Roman destruction of the Temple and later construction here have filled in the area beneath the plaza.

The wall with the arched opening is a later addition and is clearly made from smaller stones. If you enter through this arch, you soon come to Wilson's Arch, which supported a bridge extending from the Upper City to the Temple Mount above. This area was a place of public gathering in Jesus' time as well, though on a lower level than the plaza of today. For many years the Jewish people came to this place to pray and to mourn the loss of their Temple and the city of Jerusalem. At that time, this section of wall was known as the Wailing Wall. Today the Jews have returned to Jerusalem, and so this section of the wall is now called the Western Wall. It is an important place for prayers, as shown here.

This is also a location for bar mitzvahs, in which boys take on the adult responsibilities of faith at age 12 (similar to Jesus' first Passover, described in Luke 2:41-50). The women and men are separated by a dividing wall, as the Jews and Gentiles were separated at the Temple in Jesus' time. Many of the men in this picture are wearing prayer shawls (tallits) with tassels on the corners, similar to those on the hem of Jesus' garment (Matt. 9:20).

Though the stones of the Temple Mount are weathered, they still stand as powerful reminders of the awesome glory of the Temple complex of Jesus' time