One of the most remarkable landmarks in Jerusalem is the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, and in Hebrew, Ha Kotel. This structure is one of the remaining outer walls from the First and Second Temples. This wall is significant compared to the other walls because it is closest to the room where the 10 Commandments were kept. This room is often referred to as “Holy of Holies.” Regardless of your religious background, this spiritual experience of the Western Wall, is one you will remember.
Visitors and locals alike approach the wall in prayer where they can stuff notes into the cracks of the walls in hopes that their prayers will be answered. Once you are near the Wall you will notice that there are dividers to separate males and females.
Not only can the wall’s beauty be seen above ground, but also below ground where there is a tunnel you can explore the ancient remains. The infamous Western wall actually continues underground where you will be able to see even more of the grandiose wall. In this tunnel, you will get a picture of how long and tall the Western Wall originally was. For example, the portion of the Western Wall above ground is about 200 ft long. When you go through the tunnel, you are able to see the additional 1,591 ft of the wall.
It is politically significant to mention the location of this tunnel because it is built underneath the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. This caused discomfort to the residents during the construction and after its completion, not only because of the noise, but also because of the religious affiliations. In addition, the residents residing over the tunnel allegedly did not have a choice in the matter, as this project politically trumped their voices.
To expand on the tensions relating to the Western Wall and its tunnel, there are more political disputes amongst Jews. A popular dispute is a collective called “Women of the Wall” who strive to achieve the right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray and read from the Torah collectively and out loud. The Western Wall is currently controlled by an orthodox sect of Judaism that believes it is forbidden for women to partake in the above actions.
While you are on a Holy Land tour, you will experience something unique. The Western Wall is an example of one of the countless sites where you can feel full of spiritual energy, and be shocked to learn that the same site provokes tension between people of the same and different faith.