The Western Wall (also known as the “Wailing Wall”) is the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount all that remains of the Second Temple - originally built around in 520BC but greatly expanded by King Herod .
It is considered the second most sacred site to Judaism after the Temple Mount itself (more about that in an upcoming post).
It is sacred as it remains the closest point to the site of the Temple’s Holy of Holies that is still accessible to the Jews.
They are allowed up to the Temple Mount (& small numbers visit each year) but there are very strict rules they must abide by (ie: no praying or no prostrating).
After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the wall came under the control of the Jordanians, who barred Jews from the site. This changed in 1967 when the Israelis captured the Jordanian-controlled areas of Jerusalem, which included the Western Wall.
|The Western Wall in 1870 - note the Morrccan Quarter to the left|