The Western Wall Tunnel is an underground tunnel portraying the full length of the Western Wall and the tunnel is adjacent to the Western Wall, located under the buildings of the Old City of Jerusalem.
It is Judaism’s most sacred site and revered as the last remnant of the Second Temple and because of the invitation for everyone by King Solomon, visitors of all faith and cultures can come here and pray and experience specialpeace.
The open air area of the Western Wall is around 60 metres long while the major part of its original length seems to be hidden underground and the tunnel enables access to an additional 485 metres of the wall. Day and night one will find worshippers here though on Bar Mitzvah days which is Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays; families around the world and from Israel assemble at this place to celebrate their son’s first public Bible reading which is at the age of 13 together with the Jews from every destination.
Each of them assembles with their own respective customs, dress, music and liturgy creating a colourful as well as an unforgettable cultural event. Placing a traditional prayer within the ancient stones by the visitors is a memorable incident.
|Image Credit: Generationword.com|
The tunnels have been created by various arches side by side which supports staircases going to the Temple Mount from the city and in ancient times had shallow valley known as the Tyropaean running along the Western area of the Temple Mount which is now filled because of the constant demolition and rebuilding.
This separates the rich Herodian quarter from the Temple and the need to bridge it gave rise to the building of the arches. While the pathways continue to hold up the streets presently, the tunnel goes directly underneath the Muslim quarter.
King Herod had come up with a project to double the area of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, in 19 BC by incorporating a portion of the hill on the Northwest and in order to do so; four retaining walls were constructed while the Temple Mount was expanded on top. The retaining walls were left standing, together with the platform after the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.
The tunnel besides exposing the 485 metre of wall also reveals the system of construction together with the various activities within the Temple Mount.
The excavations comprises of several archaeological discoveries from the Herodian period like the streets, monumental masonry, with parts of reconstruction of the Western Wall which dates to the Umayyad era together with variety of structures dating back to the Ayyubid, Hasmonean and Mamluke periods which were constructed to support the buildings in the vicinity of the Temple Mount.
The largest stone in the Western Wall called the Western Stone is also exposed within the tunnel, ranking as one of the heaviest piece ever lifted by anyone without the help of powered machinery. Its length is 13.6 metres, 3 metres high and the width is estimated between 3.5 and 4.5 metres while estimated weight is 570 short tons
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