JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – In the Old City of Jerusalem stands the remnants of a structure believed to have been built in 19 BCE – the Western Wall (also known as the Wailing Wall).
Standing 187 feet (57 m) tall, the structure faces a large open plaza that is used for prayer and as a pasture for herding tourists. The wall itself is a part of the outer retaining wall built to house the Second Temple, and it is the holiest of holy sites in Judaism. While visiting you can also opt to tour the tunnels alongside and underneath the wall to get a look at areas not accessible by the general public (…the public not on the tour). You do not need to be Jewish to visit the wall, you only need pass through the metal detector and x-ray machine at the entrance to the plaza.
WESTERN WALL ETIQUETTE
Pilgrims commonly write notes, wishes, prayers, Hanukkah lists, humorous anecdotes, or otherwise on small pieces of paper which are then folded up and
placed stuffed into the cracks in the wall (you know, like throwing a penny into a fountain). Apparently, all the notes are gathered up twice a year and buried on the Mount of Olives.
Men and women have different sections of the wall they are permitted to visit (men on the left, women on the right (orthodox traditions die hard)), but men must have headwear and women cannot be scandalously clad (that means no shoulders ladies). It is also customary not to turn your back on the wall when returning to the plaza (so you can either walk backwards or crab-walk).