In the southwest corner of the Temple Mount, in the old city of Jerusalem is what’s left of Robinson’s Arch. The arch was built by King Herod during the reconstruction of the second temple. The massive stone structure was built along the retaining walls of the Temple Mount and it went from the lower market place to the top esplanade of the mount. The arch was destroyed during the great Jewish Revolt against the Romans in 70 C.E. It was only during archeological excavations of the late 20th Century that the arch was discovered.
Today in the courtyard area adjacent to Robinson’s Arch is an open area that is used for weddings and Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations..
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The holiest site in Judaism is the Western Wall (or known in Hebrew as Ha-Kotel Ha-Ma’aravi). Located in the Old City in Jerusalem it sits a top the Temple Mount.
In the year 37 BCE, King Herod order a huge renovation project for the Temple. The area of the Temple Mount was widened and four support walls were built around it. The Western Wall was the western support wall that was built at that time. More than half the wall and many tunnels actually lie below street level. The wall and tunnels that run underground run through both the Jewish Quarter and the Muslim Quarter of the old city.
The second temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70CE and what remained were the four support walls. What makes the Western Wall (and not one of the other three remaining support walls) the most special is its proximity to the location of the Holy of Holies in the Temple. The Holy of Holies is the core and heart of the first and second temples and it is said that The Ark of the Covenant was kept there. The ark is said to have contained The Ten Commandments.
There is a tradition that Jews visiting The Western Wall adhere to. Notes or prayers are written on a small piece of paper and placed in the cracks of the wall. The idea is that one isn’t praying to a wall but that a divine presence lies on the wall. Writing a prayer on a small piece of paper and fitting it into a crack in the wall is like having a direct line to this divine source.
Today we visit the old city in Jerusalem, the Christian Quarter to be exact. The old city is divided into four quarters, the Christian Quarter, the Muslim Quarter, the Jewish Quarter and the Armenian Quarter. Each of these quarters has a uniqueness all its own. The streets are narrow, the architecture dates back to the 1500′s, shopping stalls overflow with merchandise in the markets while vendors are vying for your attention. Through all of this I spotted this lone gentlemen quietly sitting on the stairs of a church.