Thursday, January 15, 2009

Then and Now: Western Wall Plaza

After the Israelis captured the Old City in June 1967, significant attention was given to the development of the Western Wall area.  During creation of the large prayer plaza that exists today, the ground level was lowered by about six feet (2 m).  Recently when working with the photographs of David Bivin, I came across this photo.

Wailing Wall with Nadir, db6401182012 Western Wall, January 1964

With the distinctive crack in the rock visible behind the young man’s legs, I set about finding a recent photo of the same rock.  The photo below shows the crack behind the man’s right hand.  In 1964, ground level was located at the position of his left hand.

Man putting prayer in Western Wall, tb092603035 Western Wall, September 2003

Note that he is standing on a chair.  This is the best illustration I know of that shows the change in plaza level after 1967.

You can see a photo taken by Amihai Mazar that shows a bulldozer clearing the area in the excellent book by Leen Ritmeyer, The Quest: Revealing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, page 22.

Some other “Then and Now” photos from the Views That Have Vanished collection are posted here.

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  • Great work, Todd.

    One can get Leen's book at Associates for Biblical Research Bookstore cheaper than the $60 at Eisenbrauns. ABR sells it for $54.99. Check out


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 15, 10:07:00 AM  

  • That's great!
    I could not believe the changes just between 2001 and 2008.

    By Blogger psychobob, at Fri Jan 16, 10:48:00 PM  

  • This is really interesting, especially because I am currently living in Israel and enjoy praying at the Western Wall. I found a website that will have someone pray for me at the Western Wall for 40 days for whatever I need. I found this really inspirational, as this way even when I go back to the States I can be attached to the Western Wall here.

    By Blogger EnEf123, at Tue Mar 03, 11:29:00 AM  

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