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Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel

The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel is located in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is a relatively small western segment of the walls surrounding the area called the Temple Mount by Jews, Christians and most Western sources, and known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary . The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism and is the place to which Jews turn during prayer. 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 the Great, who created an enclosing, almost rectangular set of retaining walls, which supported extensive substructures and earth fills, then hidden under a vast paved platform. Of the four retaining walls, the western one is considered to be closest to the former Temple, which makes it the most sacred site recognized by Judaism outside the Temple Mount itself. 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 during Herod's lifetime. 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 term Western Wall with its variations is mostly used in a narrow sense for the section traditionally used by Jews for prayer and also known, mainly in the past, as the "Wailing Wall", but in a larger sense it refers to the entire 488 meter-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 wall has been a site for Jewish prayer and pilgrimage for centuries; the earliest source mentioning Jewish attachment to the site dates back to the 4th century. From the mid-19th century onwards, attempts to purchase rights to the wall and its immediate area were made by various Jews, but none was successful. With the rise of the Zionist movement in the early 20th century, the wall became a source of friction between the Jewish and Muslim communities, the latter being 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 control and Jews were barred from the site for 19 years until Israel captured the Old City in 1967 and three days later bulldozed the adjacent 770-year old Moroccan Quarter. Muslimisches Viertel 96536 Jerusalem Israel Call: 972-2-6271333
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Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel

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