Wailing Wall (HaKotel)

Modern wailing wall is a section of the Western Wall of the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount) and is the holiest site in Judiasm where Jews are allowed to pray. It is a relatively small segment of a far longer ancient retaining wall, known also in its entirety as the "Western Wall". For Muslims, it is the site where the Prophet Muhammad tied his steed, al-Buraq, on his night journey to Jerusalem before ascending to paradise, and constitutes the Western border of al-Haram al-Sharif.


circa 100 CE

Wailing Wall

The wall is considered holy due to its connection to the Temple Mount. This 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 (8 m) section, the so-called Little Western Wall. The Islamic name al-Buraq Wall, was based on the tradition that inside the wall was the place where Muhammad tethered his winged steed, today known as Masjid al-Buraq.

circa 100 CE

At one time there used to be inscriptions on a number of the stones of the Western Wall until recent times, when the British came and erased them in the summer of 1930, in preparation for the arrival in Jerusalem of the international commission on the issue of the Western Wall. Some of these were removed and it was established that due to the sanctity of the wall it should not be disfigured by having any engravings or inscriptions.

circa 100 CE

The Western Wall is considered holy due to its connection to the Temple Mount. The term "Wailing Wall" seems to have been first used in 1890 CE, and is not a preferred term. The name is a translation of the Arabic term el-Mabka (حائط المبكى). This means a “place for weeping”, and it is the traditional Arab moniker for the wall. Some people use the term “Wall of Tears”. The description is based on Jewish practice of mourning the destruction of the Temple and praying for its rebuilding at the site of the Western Wall, .

circa 100 CE

The wall was originally erected as part of the expansion of the Second Jewish Temple begun by Herod the Great. At the Western Wall Plaza, the total height of the Wall from its foundation is estimated at 105 feet (32 m), with the exposed section standing approximately 62 feet (19 m) high.

circa 100 CE

The lintel of Barclay's Gate [inspect] is the most notable feature of the Wailing Wall. James Turner Barclay discovered it from its inner side, within the Temple Mount, in 1852. Several researchers identified it as one of the Second Temple period gates, possibly the Coponius Gate, which is mentioned in Jewish and Christian sources of the period.



Points of Interest


al-Fakhariyya Minaret · Moroccan's Gate (Bab al-Maghribah) · al-Buraq Mosque · Western Colonade · Muslim Burials · al-Ghawanima Minaret


Robin's Arch · Moroccan's Gate (Bab al-Maghribah) · Barclay's Gate · Western Wall Plaza · Chain Gate (Bab as-Silsilah) · Warren's Gate · Chain Gate Minaret (Bab us-Silsilah Minaret) (Bab ul-Mutahara) · Gate of Cotton Merchant's Market (Bab e Suq al-Qattanin) · Iron Gate (Bab ul-Hadid) · Council Gate (Bab un-Nazir) · Gate of Bani Ghanim (Bab ul-Ghawanima) · Little Western Wall (HaKotel HaKatan)