Western Wall, Jerusalem


The Western Wall (also called the Kotel) is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple’s courtyard in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism, outside the Temple Mount itself. The plaza in front of the wall is divided into separate sections for women and men. Some worshipers wedge their prayers, written on small scraps of paper, into crevices between the stones in the wall, while others stand and pray, sometimes for hours. Archeologists have uncovered layers of the wall underground through years of excavation, and via a guided tour, visitors can walk through areas of this original, unrestored site that dates back to the 1st century C.E.

More Recommendations

Lament of the Faithful

Known in Hebrew as the Kotel, the Western Wall is singularly the holiest of sites for Jews. On the other side of the Western Wall is the Temple Mount. For centuries, Temple Mount was the location of the sacred First and Second Temples for the Jews. Today, both temples are gone and Temple Mount is controlled by the Palestinian Authority; Jews are not allowed to step on it so the Wall is the closest they can get to where their temples once stood. Every day, faithful Jews go to the Wall to pray and to read from the Torah. With each word spoken and every muscle of their body, as they rhythmically rock back and forth, they are lamenting the loss of their Temples and thousands of years of struggle to preserve their religion and reclaim their home land. For three days in row, I went the Wall and both it and the plaza that fronts it were always packed with people. It turned the Wall into more of a tourist site than a place for reflection and prayer. On the fourth day, I got up at the crack of dawn and headed down to the Wall. The plaza was virtually empty but faithful Jews were already there, tallits draped across their shoulders. Although I still had to stand quite a distance away from them and the Wall itself, the entire place was so quiet that their emotional pain was finally palpable to me. Being in their space was a truly moving experience and one I will not forget. If you go to the Wall, go as early as you can and then queue up for entry to Temple Mount afterwards.


Although I am not Jewish a felt that I had to visit Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall. While I expected the level of security what surprised me was the sheer number of people who were there. With a different section marked off for women, and numerous religious comings and goings, it was an ideal time to take in what faith, belief and religion mean for mankind and how they have affected - for good and bad - the world we live in today.

Jerusalem, Holy City for Three Religions

Jerusalem is considered one of the most spiritual cities in the world and sacred to all religions for its significant monuments, mostly centered in the Old City. Tour the four quarters in the Old City. Walk through Via Dolorosa till you reach the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Christian Quarter and visit the Golgotha altar and the tomb of Jesus. Walk through the bustling market of the Muslim Quarter, enjoy some ethnic souvenirs, such as wooden crosses, authentic beads, or herbs. The Muslim Quarter leads to Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock, with its beautiful mosaic. And visit the Jewish Quarter, the Cardo, and pass through some of the most important Jewish archaeology sites all the way to the Western Wall, the most religious monument for Jews. Outside the Old City, you can visit the great museum of Israel, the Knesset (the Israeli government building), and some of the most Bauhaus architecture in Israel.

Today I Become A Man

The Western (or Wailing) Wall is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount. It is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple’s courtyard, and is arguably the most sacred site recognized by the Jewish faith outside of the Temple Mount itself. What better place to celebrate a Bar Mitzvah? I was proud to witness the prayers and joy surrounding this Jewish right of passage to manhood.

Easter Morning in Jerusalem

After spending the majority of the morning walking through the maze-like city of Jerusalem, I stopped to take a break in a location that provided a great view of the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock. The sun peaked out from the clouds just long enough for me to capture this picture.

He and The Western Wall

Objects have great power. The great power of Israel and many jews can be found in great bricks of stone that form one of the most visited and sacred sites in the world. The Western Wall is one of the main sites of the city and the base stone for one of the biggest monotheistic religions in the world. I had the opportunity to make this trip with my mother. The picture was taken a rainy day when everyone there was no one but one person. This is one of my favorite pictures.

Information on this page, including website, location, and opening hours, is subject to have changed since this page was last published. If you would like to report anything that’s inaccurate, let us know at notification@afar.com.

Nearby highlights
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
More From AFAR