Little Western Wall

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The Little Western Wall, also known as the Ribat al-Kurd or the Small Wailing Wall (حائط المبكى الصغير), also known as HaKotel HaKatan (or just Kotel Katan) and the Small Kotel, (Hebrew: הכותל הקטן‎), is a Jewish religious site located in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem near the Iron Gate to the Temple Mount (Haram as-Sharif).


The wall itself dates from the Second Temple period, (516 BCE – 70 CE). It is the continuation of the larger part of the Western Wall and almost exactly faces the Holy of Holies. HaKotel HaKatan is not as well-known and not as crowded as the larger part of the Western Wall. This passage alongside the wall is acutally the courtyard of Ribat al-Kurd, a hospice for Muslim pilgrims founded in 1293 or 96 by Sayf al-Din Kurd al-Mansuri, a mamluk of Sultan Qalawun.

Wailing Wall

Architectural Details

circa 100 BCE

Current Structure
The Kotel Katan has a narrow alley, and only the two lowest courses (rows of building stones) date from the Second Temple period. Unlike those on the Western Wall, the stones have not been worn smooth by the touch of millions of worshippers. Unlike the more famous Western Wall, the Kotel Katan does not have a large plaza facing it. In this way it resembles the situation of the Wailing Wall as it appeared before the Six-Day War of 1967, before the Western Wall Plaza was added.

circa 100 BCE

Exposed Dimensions
The total length of the Small Western Wall (from the entrance gate at the south, until the supporting arch of a Mamluk era building, to the north) is 17.7 meters. The width of the plaza in front of it is 4.2 meters. The wall contains stones from different time periods, with the largest of them measuring 1.15 meters in length.

circa 100 BCE

The entrance portal and passage are original, but other parts of the structure date from later periods. Because the site of the Ribat al-Kurd or the Kotel Katan is much closer to the site of the possible location of the Holy of Holies than the larger Western Wall, it has significance to Jews, who wish to continue to pray at the site.

Adjacent Landmarks

circa 100 BCE

Iron Gate
The Iron Gate (Arabic: Bab al-Hadid) of Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount). The arch-way north (left) of the gate allows access to the Little Wailing Wall.

See Also


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