Located in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem, the Western Wall is the holiest site in Judaism. It is the only remaining wall from the ancient Jewish Temple, where G-d's Presence is still believed to dwell. For many centuries, Jewish pilgrims have travelled up to Jerusalem to pray at this sacred site and anyone who visits the Western Wall plaza can't help but experience a sense of awe.
Here are some fascinating, lesser-known facts about the Western Wall:
1. The Western Wall that we see today was built in 20 BCE by King Herod when he expanded the Second Temple. The First Temple, built by King Solomon in the 8th century BCE, was destroyed by the Babylonians when they destroyed Jerusalem and took the Jewish people into captivity. The Second Temple was built when the Jews returned from exile, and then it was embellished by King Herod.
2. The Western Wall is an engineering masterpiece. It is made of enormous blocks of stone carefully stacked so they will stand firm and not fall over. There is nothing holding the stones together. Most of the stones weigh between 2 and 5 tonnes, but there is one giant stone that is over 13 meters long and is estimated to weigh 517 tons. How Herod's team of builders managed to quarry and manoeuvre these stones without the help of modern machinery is nothing short of a miracle.