The Temple Mount has been home to two Temples: King Solomon's, 825 BCE and Ezra's, 352 BCE.
During the Roman era, King Herod, 18 BCE, renovated, reinforced and expanded the Temple and its area.
The Western Wall is one of the four retaining walls surrounding the Temple Mount.
Drawing courtesy of Dr. Leen Ritmeyer
When the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, the Western Wall was left standing.
Over the next 1,900 years, even during the most dangerous times, Jews would risk their lives and property to make their way to the Wall. Throughout the millennia, the Wall remained a place where Jews would come to pour their hearts out to G-d.
As the centuries passed, most of the Wall was eventually covered over by homes, rubble and refuse. In some ways, it was as if the Wall was as hidden and unseen as the Jewish people in their own land.
In the 1967 Six Day War, Israel retook the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. The government opened up the entire length of the Western Wall as a religious site and also for archaeological study. Where it was not possible to expose the Wall completely, tunnels were dug to allow people to tour this fascinating window into our history.
Wall Facts: Full length of the Western Wall - 488 meters (1601 ft.).
The Wall can be divided into 4 sections:
1) The Southern Wall area Remains of Robinson's Arch approximately 80 meters (262 ft.) long.
2) The Kotel Plaza 80 meters (262 ft.), where people come to pray.
3) The Western Wall Tunnel 320 meters (1,050 ft.), originally explored by two British archaeologists: Charles Wilson, in 1864, and Charles Warren, in 1867-1870. The two archaeologists found that the Wall continued approximately 320 meters (1,050 ft.) and that some structures still existed from the Temple period.
The Israeli government continued the northern exploration by excavating a tunnel along the entire length of the Wall. Great pains were taken to ensure the structural integrity of the buildings above.
4) An aqueduct Found near the northern part of the Wall, the aqueduct was used during the time of the Maccabbees, about 150 BCE.
Today, you will be travelling through those tunnels. Your virtual footsteps will trace thousands of years of history, and when we emerge at the end of the aqueduct, we may well be looking at the world through different eyes.