Western Wall (Wailing Wall) picture
Western Wall (Wailing Wall)
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Courtesy of www.goisrael.com

Key Info

HaOmer 2 street

Details

Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.8scorecard
  • 4.5Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

The Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall or the Kotel, is the most significant historic site for the Jewish faith. This wall, located in the heart of the Old City, is a remnant of King Herod's renovation of the Second Temple and dates back to the first century B.C. Millions of pilgrims (Jewish and non-Jewish) make their way to the Western Wall each year to pray, writing their wishes on small pieces of paper before placing them between the cracks in the stone for God to answer. According to one TripAdvisor user, "Even if you have no faith at all, you can surely appreciate how important this spot is." The most prominent part of the wall measures 187 feet long and can be accessed via the Prayer Plaza. This famous portion is divided into two areas, one for women and one for men.

There's much more to the Western Wall than what is visible in Prayer Plaza. Another 80 feet can be seen in an archeological exposition just south of the main section, while another 1,050 feet extend deep below the city's surface. You can see this underground section by taking a guided tour of the Western Wall Tunnels, which lasts about an hour.

The Prayer Plaza section of the Western Wall is open to all visitors at all times. Admission is free, but modest dress is required. The tunnels are open Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m. well into the evening (closing time depends on tour times), and Friday from 7 a.m. to noon. Guided tours cost 30 ILS (about $8 USD) for adults and 15 ILS (around $4 USD) for children and seniors. Discover more about the Western Wall on the official website.

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Old City
Israel Museum
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#1 Old City

Chances are that you'll spend much of your time here. The Old City is home to many of Jerusalem's most sought-after attractions, including the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Temple Mount. Originally built by King David in 1004 B.C., the walled Old City comprises four distinct areas: the Jewish Quarter (or the Cardo), the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, and the Armenian Quarter. Each quarter exudes its own unique atmosphere, with religious sites, shops, and food offerings reflecting its respective heritage. Yet the Old City's winding alleyways and ancient stone plazas allow mixing and mingling among these cultures, making a very eclectic environment.

It's easy to lose yourself (both metaphorically and geographically) in the Old City, but make sure you devote some attention to its boundaries. You can access the Old City from seven entryways: the New Gate, Damascus Gate, Herod's Gate, Lions' Gate, Dung Gate, Zion Gate, and Jaffa Gate. Each doorway marks a significant era of Jerusalem's history. For example, Jaffa Gate is where the Tower of David (the city's primary defense point) can be found.

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