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The Western Wall is the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount, the one that was closest to the Holy of Holies when the Temple stood. Traditionally, it is regarded as the only remnant of the Temple. Since the destruction of the Temple, the Western Wall has served as an inspiration to the Jewish people. Since the Six Day War (June, 1967), the Western Wall Plaza has returned to being a place of prayer.
The entire Western Wall is approximately 488 meters (1,600 feet) long. In the past, it stood as high as 60 meters (about 197 feet); it now stands only 40 meters (131 feet) tall at its highest exposed point, with the rest remaining underground. The Western Wall Plaza of today is 56.5 meters (187 feet) long and the Wall at the plaza stands approximately 19 meters (62 feet) high.
The Bar Mitzva Center at the Western Wall
We congratulate you for showing an interest in celebrating a Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel, the Western Wall, in Jerusalem. We want to help you in any way we can to create a meaningful and fulfilling experience for you and your son.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation provides assistance in all aspects of organization of a Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall.
In this guide, we will try to answer frequently asked questions. Please contact us with any question you may have. We can be reached at the phone numbers that appear at the bottom of this guide.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation provides volunteers who will help you with all aspects of your Bar Mitzvah at the Wall.
In this unique and challenging program, we invite the Bar or Bat Mitzvah child to be the guide for their family and friends on the amazing journey to the secrets held in the Western Wall Tunnels. By taking on this educational and historic responsibility, the child not only learns the history of this part of Jerusalem, but learns to convey it as well.
For many generations until the Six Day War, the prayer area in front of the Western Wall consisted only of a narrow alleyway in the Moslem (Moghrabi) neighborhood of the Old City, measuring just 3.6 meters (11.8 feet) wide and 28 meters (92 feet) long. After the Six Day War, the Western Wall Plaza, was greatly expanded and renovated for the many people who come to visit and pray there.
Apart from at the Western Wall Plaza, there are two other exposed above-ground sections along the length of the Western Wall: the Southern Section of the Western Wall, and the Small Western Wall in the Muslim Quarter.
At the Western Wall Plaza, the height of the Western Wall from its foundation underground to its top consists of 45 stone courses, 28 of them above ground, and 17 underground.
The height of this section of the Western Wall,
from its foundation underground to its peak height,
is estimated at 32 meters (105 feet). The stones of the Western Wall that are exposed at the Western Wall Plaza, as well as those to the south of it and those in the Moslem Quarter, date from different periods. They teach us about the changes that occurred at the Western Wall from the time of the Temple’s destruction. The stone courses that are underground, as well as some of the courses that are above ground, are the original Western Wall stones from the time of Herod. Other stones were placed on top of them during various periods of time. It is possible to distinguish between the original Western Wall stones and the others by their size and the manner in which they were chiseled. A chiseled outer edge frames every stone hewn in the Herodian style. These original stones are of different sizes. They range from 80 centimeters to 13.6 meters in length, and from 1.1 to 3.5 meters in height. The depth of the stones is approximately 4.6 meters
In the Western Wall Tunnels, visitors can see the “Master Course”, the name given to a row of huge stones in the tunnels. The stones in the “Master Course” are the largest building stones ever found in Israel.
The largest stone is 13.6 meters (44.6 feet) long and approximately 3.3 meters (10.8 feet) wide. It weighs 570 tons.
The Western Wall is open to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Western Wall is accessible by bus: #1, #2, #38 or by taxi.
It is also accessible by car, but visitors should take into consideration that parking is limited.
There are three available parking lots:
1. The Carta Parking Lot, by Jaffa Gate, at the entrance to the Old City (paid parking);
2. The Jewish Quarter Parking Lot, accessible via Jaffa Gate (the number of parking spaces is limited, paid parking);
3. The Givati Parking Lot, outside Dung Gate, opposite the entrance to the City of David (free parking).
4. The Har Zion Parking Lot- meant for buses only (free parking)
The Western Wall Plaza is wheel chair accessible.
Appropriate, modest dress should be worn throughout the Western Wall Plaza.
On the Sabbath and Jewish holidays smoking, photography, or use of cellular phones in the Western Wall Plaza is forbidden.
No animals are allowed in the Western Wall Plaza.
Please follow the directions of security personnel at entrances to the Western Wall Plaza.
A tour of the Western Wall Tunnels is a fascinating, unforgettable journey through time. The archeology of the site brings to life everything from Jerusalem's glory during the time of Herod to the Jewish people's longing for Jerusalem throughout the generations.
Tours of the tunnels are taken only with guides and must be scheduled in advance.
Tours are available for individuals and groups in Hebrew and English.
Each tour lasts about an hour and a quarter.
The tour is suitable for the general public, for groups of up to 30 participants.
To schedule a tour, please call 02-627-1333.
The Western Wall Tunnels are open to visitors Sunday thru. Thursday, from 8:00 am to evening (depending on scheduled visits).
On Fridays and the eve of holidays, the site is open from 8:00 am to
The site is closed on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays, the eve of Yom Kippur, Independence Day, and Tisha Be'Av.
Visiting Hours during special intermediate days of holidays:
On certain intermediate days of Sukkot and Passover (see newspapers for announcements), the site will be open from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. Entry is free and does not require a reservation (this is for a shorter tour, in Hebrew only, given by the site's own guides).
Adults: NIS 18
Children or Students: NIS 10
Senior Citizens: NIS 7
Adult in a group: NIS 15;
Child or Student in a group: NIS 10
A Western Wall Heritage Foundation guide is an additional NIS 150, available for groups of between 12 and 30 participants.
Prices are subject to change.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation is happy to assist anyone who wishes to celebrate a Bar Mitzva at the Western Wall Plaza at no charge.
For more information click here
Tours for the Visually Impaired
This is an experiential tour of the Western Wall Tunnels, using powerful halogen lamps to help visitors see the site.
Tours for the physically disabled
This tour is designed for people in wheelchairs-up to seven visitors per group. The site is stair free up to the model of the Temple in the large hall. From there to the area opposite the Holy of Holies, the site is accessible by wheelchair elevators. The tunnels are accessible to wheelchairs that do not exceed 60 centimeters in width (one such chair is available at the site).
Tours for the Blind
The Foundation is developing a special experiential tour of the Western Wall Tunnels for the blind. The tour will include special devices, such as individual models, and maps with Braille.
Tours for the Deaf
The Foundation is developing a special experiential tour of the Western Wall Tunnels for the deaf, which will include special visual effects and the option of a tour guide fluent in sign language.
To coordinate tours, please call 02-627-1333.