Soft voices chanting prayers rise into the cool night air at the Western Wall plaza. The atmosphere is sombre but peaceful.
Orthodox Jewish men are seen dressed completely in black. They wear jackets, trousers, shoes and hats with a white shirt. Long sidelocks danlge from both sides of the head. Women are dressed conservatively with their heads covered in a scarf.
Men and women are seen stretching out their hands over the wall, leaning in close and chanting prayers. Some touch the stones and pray in silence. Tourists try to find a nook in the Wall so they can insert their prayer notes. Some men and women are swaying forward and backward while chanting prayers. Some read from prayer books.
The Western Wall stands in the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. It is the only remnant of the outer wall of the original Temple Mount which was built by Herod and later destroyed by the Romans.
The Jews lament the destruction of the Temple and so the wall is also known as the Wailing Wall.
The Western Wall is the holiest site for the Jews. It has been standing here for over two thousand years, a silent witness to war, persecution, hate and religious discontent.
The Western Wall plaza is an open synagogue and everyone can visit the Wall, there is no restriction.
The dress code for men is a hat or skull cap and for women a scarf and clothes below knees. The plaza has separate sections for men and women.
The Western Wall epitomizes strength and courage. It has carried the weight of a thousand prayers and million tears over the centuries. The Jews pray here daily in the hope that someday there will be a new temple built for them.
For now the air is filled with a peaceful acceptance of the current situation and the belief that God is present even in the Wall.
For more stories about my visit to the Holy-land read – Holyland