Western Wall Tunnels - Opening Model

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Welcome to the Western Wall tunnels, my name is Yehuda, I'll be your tour guide today. Before we enter the tunnels, let's briefly walk through the history of Jerusalem. In front of us, there is a model of a mountain, This mountain is a very famous one It's called Mount Moriah In reality, this mountain is right here behind me The reason you don't see this mountain today is that there was a big structure built upon it called the Temple Mount according to Jewish tradition right over here, the peak of the mountain is called the Foundation Stone it's the spiritual center of the Earth. Our story starts three thousand years ago, with King David who establishes a capital here in Jerusalem The story continues with his son, King Solomon who builds the First Temple, and after that the Second Temple will be built Our story starts in the tunnels two thousand years ago towards the end of the Second Temple era a very famous king comes into power here in Jerusalem. His name is King Herod he wants to appear kind, he wants the Jewish people to like him, so he decides to glorify the Temple He does it by digging out this hill in the North and filling in the lower parts of the mountain with arches and above that, a huge platform which we know today as the Temple Mount Right over here is the Foundation Stone which above that King Herod reconovates the Second Temple and builds the most glorious Temple ever seen Sadly, in the year 70, a Roman general names Titus comes to Jerusalem, conquers the city, and on the 9th of the Jewish month Av destroys the Second Temple 1, 400 years ago, the Muslims built the structure we all know today in the middle of the Temple Mount, the Golden Dome the Dome of the Rock. 700 years ago, in Jerusalem time, is practically yesterday the Mamluks come to Jerusalem Mamluks were devoted Muslims deciding that every citizen should have access into the Temple Mount. They do want to climb from the valley where they lived, up to the Al-Aqsa mosque, up and down 5 times a day like a yo yo. In the same technique Herod used they filled in the entire valley with arches leaning against the Western Wall, arches, above arches, above arches and above these arches, they built houses they create what we know today as the Muslim quarter of the Old City, As you can see, the Muslim quarter today conceals most of the Western Wall, leaving us only a small portion exposed

Western Wall Tunnels - Opening Model

Known as one of the greatest builders in history, King Herod left an impressive mark and everlasting monument with the building of the Temple Mount.The building of the Second Temple was a wonder in its time and its magnificence was known throughout the Roman Empire. In order to build the Second Temple and create a huge plaza which could accommodate thousands of worshipers, King Herod built four retaining walls around the peak of the Temple Mount which were then filled with sand and stone to create a leveled stage thus greatly enlarging the Temple Mount surface. The Westen Retaining wall is what is known today as the "Western Wall" or “Wailing Wall”. However the exposed part of the Western Wall which can be seen today is only a partial segment of the originial wall which began at a lower point and continues along the Temple Mount, as can be seen when touring the Western Wall Tunnels. To this day many scholars are baffled by Herod's construction and abilities which included mobilization of huge chiseled stones which even modern day machines could not carry. Herod’s Reign -Temple Reconstruction The construction on the Temple Mount began in the 19 BC during King Herod’s 18th year of reign. 10,000 skilled workers were brought for the construction. Due to the holiness of the Temple Mount, laymen were not allowed to work on some parts of the Second Temple so thousands of Levites (Jewish practitioners) were trained to carry out the work in these areas. Second Temple & Temple Mount construction - How It Was Accomplished The building of the Temple on the Temple Mount was made possible with the donations and offerings of wealthy Jews. Construction began with the 'Holy of Holies" - the holiest part of the Second Temple, where it is believed the ark of the covenant was stored.Following the construction of the 'Holy of Holies' is the altar area where the sacrifices were offered. The construction of the Israelite’s court followed along with the women's court. The major stages of construction were completed before Herod’s death in 4BC but it lasted for six decades after his death. Second Temple - Stones Revealed The horizontal layers of the Second Temple were made of local limestone cut by expert stone-cutters. In fact, some of the remains of the original limestone can still be seen in several areas of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount. Some of the stones weigh over 160,000 pounds, while others weigh less and were destroyed when Romans invaded Jerusalem in 70 AD. The Second Temple and Temple Mount was magnificent with impressive ancient construction techniques used in the process. It served as a Jewish monument and a serves as reminder of King Herod's abilities and ego who ordered the renovation of the Second Templeo when he noticed that the Second Temple was shorter by 90 feet compared to Solomon’s Temple (the First Temple) which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

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