Theme Week East Jerusalem – The Western or Buraq Wall

7 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  14 minutes

Men's and women's prayer area © Daniel Case/cc-by-sa-3.0

Men’s and women’s prayer area © Daniel Case/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Western Wall, Wailing Wall, or Kotel, known in Islam as the Buraq Wall, is an ancient limestone wall in the Old City of East Jerusalem. It is a relatively small segment of a far longer ancient retaining wall, known also in its entirety as the “Western Wall”. The wall was originally erected as part of the expansion of the Second Temple begun by Herod the Great, which resulted in the encasement of the natural, steep hill known to Jews and Christians as the Temple Mount, with the Dome of the Rock/Qubbat As-Sakhrah and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in a large rectangular structure topped by a huge flat platform, thus creating more space for the Temple itself and its auxiliary buildings. For Muslims, it is the site where the Islamic Prophet Muhammad tied his steed, al-Buraq, on his night journey to Jerusalem before ascending to paradise, and constitutes the Western border of al-Haram al-Sharif.   read more…

Theme Week Jerusalem, Al-Quds and The Holy, many names for one of the oldest cities in the world

19 October 2013 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  5 minutes

The Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque © Sheepdog85/cc-by-sa-3.0-de

The Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque © Sheepdog85/cc-by-sa-3.0-de

Jerusalem/al-Quds, located on a plateau in the Judean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Israelis (Jerusalem Law) and Palestinians both claim Jerusalem as their capital, as Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there and the State of Palestine ultimately foresees it as its seat of power; however, neither claim is recognized internationally (United Nations Security Council Resolution 478, International positions on Jerusalem and United States recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel). De jure, Tel Aviv (were all foreign embassies are located at) remain to be Israel’s capital, even though it is de facto West Jerusalem. The city has 800,000 inhabitants. During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times. The oldest part of the city was settled in the 4th millennium BCE. In 1538, walls were built around Jerusalem under Suleiman the Magnificent. Today, those walls define the Old City, which has been traditionally divided into four quarters—known since the early 19th century as the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters. The Old City became a World Heritage site in 1981, and is on the List of World Heritage in Danger. What is particularly striking about the decades-long “capital dispute” is that Jerusalem before 1920 was a lot, but above all a small settlement without a capital function. In this respect, there can be no “justified claim” be given on the city. It was not until the British Mandate of Palestine that the mandate headquarters was moved to Jerusalem, so that Jerusalem became the capital of British Palestine. Scientifically proven is that the city has been one of several spiritual centers for several thousand years. However, at the beginning there was neither Christianity, Judaism nor Islam.   read more…

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