The Western Wall by night.
), and as
inArabic, is an important Jewish religious site located in the Old City of Jerusalem.Just over
half the wall, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end ofthe Second Temple period, being constructed around 19 BCE by Herod the Great.The
remaining layers were added from the 7th century onwards.
Names of the wall
Early Jewish texts referred to a ―western wall of the Temple‖,
but there is doubt whether the texts were referring to today’s Western Wall or to another
wall which stood within the Temple complex. The earliest clear Jewish use of the termWestern Wall as referring to the wall visible today was by the 11th-century Ahimaaz benPaltiel
.The name ―Wailing Wall‖, and descriptions such as "wailing place" appeared
regularly in English literature during the 19th century. The name
Mur des Lamentations
wasused in French and
in German. This term itself was a translation of theArabic
, or "Place of Weeping," the traditional Arabic term for the wall. Thisdescription stemmed from the Jewish practice of coming to the site to mourn and bemoan