The Western Wall Tunnel

The Western Wall tunnel is a treat for archaeology and history buffs, who are astounded to discover that as massive as the open-air portion of the Western Wall is - at over 180 feet long and over 60 feet high - most of its nearly 1,700-foot original length lies beneath today's Old City.

The Western Wall tunnel is a treat for archaeology and history buffs, who are astounded to discover that as massive as the open-air portion of the Western Wall is - at over 180 feet long and over 60 feet high - most of its nearly 1,700-foot original length lies beneath today's Old City.

The tunnels are those that have been created by numerous arches side-by-side supporting staircases going from the city to the Temple Mount. In ancient times there was a shallow valley called the Tyropaean running along the Western side of the Temple Mount (now filled in due to constant demolition and rebuilding) that separated the rich Herodian quarter from the Temple, and it was the need to bridge this that caused the arches to be built. These pathways still hold up the streets today, and the tunnel goes directly underneath the Muslim quarter.

Reach out in the tunnel to touch portions of the huge arches that supported Jerusalem's streets over the millennia, the homes later built among them, and of course, the Western Wall itself, some of whose building blocks are the most massive ever discovered. You will re-emerge in present-day Jerusalem with a new appreciation for the magnificent and moving site.

This review is republished courtesy of The Ministry of Tourism (www.goisrael.com).