Wailing Wall

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Another element of the World Heritage Site in old Jerusalem, the Wailing Wall (or, as Jews call it, the Western Wall) lies at the foot of the Temple Mount, a remnant of the stone wall that used to surround the Second Temple of Jerusalem. Babylonians destroyed this temple in 425 B.C., and since then it has been a sacred site for Jewish pilgrimage; the name “Wailing Wall” was coined by non-Jews who witnessed the weeping of devoted Jews who had come to mourn and daven (pray with a rocking motion).

Long a hotly-contested symbol for Jews, Muslims and Christians (all three groups have, over time, built houses of worship on this site), the Arab-Israeli Six Day War in 1967 was largely fought over claim to the Wailing Wall. Israel won both the war and the right to include the wall in the boundaries of the Jewish state. Within days, Israeli soldiers also bulldozed the surrounding Moroccan Quarter, an 800-year old Arab neighborhood, forcing the residents out of their homes; the resulting razed land was turned into a huge courtyard where Jews now come to pray.

The Wall today remains the dividing point between the Jewish, Muslim and Christian areas of Jerusalem.
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