At the Western Wall tunnel tour you can explore the full depth and breadth (literally!) of the most visited site in Israel. The Western wall is part of the giant platform Herod the Great built in the 1st century BCE (CE). The original purpose of the platform was to create a giant plaza for the rebuilt second Temple. However, after the Roman destruction of the temple in 70CE (AD), only the retaining walls of the platform were left.
Over the centuries the Western Wall itself became a place of pilgrimage for pious Jews, and is mentioned in rabbinic literature as the one part of the mountain where G-d’s presence continues to dwell. Also over the centuries, layers of the city were built up covering much of the wall. In fact the 200 feet (60m) of the Western Wall plaza is only a small part of the massive wall. On the Western Wall tunnel tour you can see the remaining 1500 feet (~480m) of this architectural marvel.
On the Western Wall Tunnel Tour
During a roughly one hour tour you will two films, about how the massive wall was built and explaining the architecture in context. You’ll finally get an answer to the question, “How did they move those giant stones 2,000 years ago?”
One part of the tour passes the closest point to the original location of the Holy of Holies, the most sacred part of the Temple. There are almost always groups of women praying at the spot, and you may wish to add your prayers to theirs in this holy place.
Tours must be booked in advance, and at busy times can be sold out months ahead. So if you want to include this unique site in your tour, make the reservation as soon as possible on the website of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.
The tour ends in the Arab quarter on the Via Dolorosa. The local guide will show you the way back to the Western Wall plaza, or you can continue on your own from the exit.
Pro-tip for planning your itinerary
Because the Western Wall tunnel tour runs into the evening, it is a good way to end your day after the other tourist sites close (at 4pm in the Winter and 5pm in the Summer).