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The Western Wall, Wailing Wall, or Kotel, known in Islam as the Buraq Wall, is an ancient limestone wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is a relatively small segment of a far longer ancient retaining wall, known in its entirety as the “Western Wall”.
See the fact file below for more information on the Wailing Wall or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Wailing Wall worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The Western Wall is 488 meters long and in the past, it rose to a height of 60 meters. Today, the highest point in the exposed section reaches a height of 40 meters above the bedrock of the eastern hill of Jerusalem (Mt. Moriah).
- The section of the Western Wall that is visible at the Prayer Plaza is comprised of 46 layers of stone. Twenty nine of these layers are exposed above ground and contain stones from different time periods. The remaining seventeen layers are subterranean. This above-ground section reaches a height of 19 meters. However, the height of this section from its foundation to its peak is estimated at approximately 32 meters.
THE WESTERN WALL PLAZA
- Until the Six Day War (in 1967, when Jerusalem was liberated), the Western Wall had no prayer plaza.
- There was just a narrow alleyway in the Muslim Mughrabi neighborhood – the Al-Buraq Alley, which was 28 meters long and only 3.6 meters wide.
- After the war and reunification of Jerusalem, the area was expanded. Today it is approximately 57 meters long and can accommodate up to 60,000 people. The Western Wall Plaza officially serves as a synagogue.
THE COURSE (STONE ROWS)
- The Western Wall is made of 45 levels of stone by which 28 are above ground and 17 rows are still underground beneath the Western Wall Plaza.
- The top half of the Western Wall stone levels that rise up above the Prayer Plaza are from Muslim restoration.
- The others are mostly original stones from the Second Temple period. The entire height of the section of the Western Wall seen at the Plaza is estimated to be 32 meters from the bedrock to its highest point.
- The remnants of four ancient gates can be found along the length of the Western Wall. Some of these were named for Jerusalem scholars and researchers of the 19th century, such as: Robinson’s Arch, Barclay’s Gate, the gate above Wilson’s Arch, and Warren’s Gate.
- Robinson’s Arch and the gate above Wilson’s Arch led inside the Temple Mount level. The gate above Robinson’s Arch was reached via stairs from street level.
- The gate above Wilson’s Arch was accessed by a bridge from the upper city of Jerusalem, which was located on the eastern hill of the city.
- Barclay’s Gate and Warren’s Gate are entrances to tunnels that led under the Temple Mount, and through which it was possible to ascend to the Temple Mount level.
THE ENTRANCE GATE
- Today, there are six entrance gates at the Western Wall that lead to the Temple Mount. These gates were built between the early Muslim period and the Ottoman period.
- The Mughrabi Gate – This is the southernmost gate to the Temple Mount. Its width is 2.2 meters and it reaches a height of 3.8 meters. The gate is named for the Muslim immigrants who settled near the southern section of the Western Wall at the end of the 12th century.
- The Chain Gate – This gate has two openings: “Bab as-Silsileh”- Chain Gate located at the south, and “Bab as-Salam”-Tranquility Gate, located towards the north. The Chain Gate dates back to the Mamluk period, but has remnants from earlier Crusader periods.
- The Cotton Merchants’ Gate – This is a covered market dating from the Mamluk period. It was built at the beginning of the fourteenth century, in the days of the sultan al-Nasir Muhammad ibn Qalawun. In the southwest corner of the Cotton Merchants’ Gate, there are remnants of a double bathhouse dating to the beginning of the fourteenth century.
- The Iron Gate – This gate dates back to the Mamluk period. To the north of the gate, there is a small alleyway that leads to the Small Western Wall (HaKotel HaKatan).
- The Council Gate / The Inspector’s Gate – This gate is named due to its proximity to the offices of the Waqf, the seat of the High Muslim council. In the Middle Ages, it was called Michael’s Gate, named for the angel, Michael. The gate has other names as well, including, Bab al Hamas (prison), for the ancient Mamluk-Ottoman prison located at this site – Bab al Rabat, meaning, “the place of residence of Muslim monks” (apparently in the madrassas the Muslim learning halls).
- The Gate of Bab al-Ghawanima – This is the northernmost gate among those along the Western Wall. It can be reached via an alley north of the Ateret Kohanim Yeshiva. The gate is named for a Muslim family who took ownership of it when they resided in the area from the 15th century.
The Wailing Wall Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Wailing Wall across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use The Wailing Wall worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Western Wall, Wailing Wall, or Kotel, known in Islam as the Buraq Wall, which is an ancient limestone wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is a relatively small segment of a far longer ancient retaining wall, known in its entirety as the “Western Wall”.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem Facts
- Fascinating Facts
- Fact or Bluff
- Jumble Wall
- Wailing Crossword
- Wailing Puzzle
- See, Think, Wonder
- The Gates
- Wailing Match
- WWJ Tour
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Link will appear as The Wailing Wall Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 2, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.