Jews around the world turn their eyes to the Western Wall, also know as the Wailing Wall, which is the closest location to the place where the temple used to stand where Jews can pray. The wall we know today was a part of the temple's western wall, hence its name. Believers leave notes in the cracks between the wall's stones.
The base of the section seen today is from the period of the second temple, which was destroyed in the year 70AD. It's upper parts were added during later periods.
The height of the Western Wall is 18 meters, and it consists of 24 stone layers, when the lower layers are made up of larger stones. A significant part of the Western Wall is still buried beneath the surface (19 layers of stones). It is possible that the lower layers are from the period of the first temple. The height of the buried part of the Western Wall is almost as high as the visible part.
Today, the Wailing Wall is a part of the wall surrounding the Muslim Mosques on Temple Mount.
The Western Wall is where every Jewish boy or girl would like to have thier Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah. Watching a youg boy reading from the Torah for his Bar Mitzvah near this ancient wall is always an emotional moment.
The Western Wall Tunnels
The closest point to where the Temple's Holy of the Holies used to stand, where Jews can still pray, is not the Western Wall which is visible today, but in a part called the Western Wall Tunnels.
In 1968, when the works for cleaning the area of the Western Wall began after the liberation of Jerusalem, an entrance to a tunnel 488 meters long was discovered. The tunnel passes close to the foundations of the Temple Mount's Western Wall.
Visiting the Western Wall Tunnels takes the visitor to some of the oldest parts of the wall, and the most exciting part is where you can see the largest stone which was discovered in the wall. This stone, 13.6 meters long, 4.5 meters wide and 3.5 meters high, weighs 570 tons.
Inside the Western Wall Tunnel is one of the gates that used to lead to the Temple, which is known as the Warren Gate. This gate, which used to be opened, was blocked by the Wakf to prevent entrance to the Solomon Stables compound.
At the closest point to the Holy of the Holies, a synagogue was built, where people can pray.
The exit point of the Western Wall Tunnel is in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, and the way back is with an armed escort. The opening of this exit is what caused the Western Wall Tunnel events in September 1996.
Visiting the Western Wall Tunnel is with a guided tour only, and you can not enter the tunnel alone.