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A Soldier at the "kotel" With his "Talith"
The Western Wall , or simply The Kotel, is a retaining wall in Jerusalem that dates from the time of the Jewish Second Temple (516 BCE - 70 CE). It is sometimes referred to as the Wailing Wall (Arabic: il-Mabka), referring to Jews mourning the destruction of the Temple. The Western Wall is part of the bigger religious site in the Old City of Jerusalem called Har ha-Bayit (the Temple Mount) to Jews and Christians, or Al-Haram al-Qudsi al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) to Muslims. The Western Wall is revered for its proximity to the sacred Holy of Holies on the Temple Mount, which is the Most Holy Place in Judaism. This means that for Jews the Western Wall is the holiest location that is currently generally accessible to the Jewish people for prayer. There is a small area below ground level, called "The Cave", in the Western Wall Tunnel, that is closest to the site of the Holy of Holies. However, as this area is not amenable to the large groups that frequent the wall, most people limit their visits to their visits to the outdoor plaza.