The Western Wall Heritage Fund

A Pool from the Second Temple Period in the Western Wall Tunnels

The Western Wall Tunnels a hallmark of Israeli tourism in the past decade, continues the momentum of innovations.

Just recently, the "Hall of Eras", located within the Western Wall Tunnels complex, was inaugurated. Two short weeks later, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation has inaugurated its newest site -- the Strouthion Pool within the Western Wall Tunnels.

The Strouthion Pool is a moat, a deep ditch that was built by King Herod during the Second Temple Period.  The king instructed to have a moat built for two reasons: to supply drinking water to the residents of the city and to create an obstacle for enemies trying to approach the Temple Mount from the north.
The pool is situated in the north section of the Western Wall Tunnels, and until now was only observed by visitors from a distant viewing point overlooking the pool. The original size of the moat is 60 meters by 30 meters, and until recently only an eighth of its area was visible from an uncomfortable angle.
This past week, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation inaugurated the new passageway, which allows visitors to "touch the water".

The passageway goes under a stairway from the period of the Caesar Hadrian, (2nd century), which until now was hidden from view, and leads to bridges which are slightly elevated over the water in the pools. The bridges allow visitors to walk down to the water level and enter underground parts of the moat. The new pool which the visitors enter is extraordinarily beautiful: there are droplets of water coming down from the ceiling, remnants of pillars from the Second Temple period, a stone dome and an inspiring silence.
Much thought went into the esthetic design of the bridges and the lighting in the new pool. The design both attempts to preserve the moat as it was 2000 years ago, as well as to allow entrance to the different sections of the moat with a "here and now" attitude.
The unique design of the 2000-year-old moat can be seen as a link between the Kotel Tunnels and the Generations Center, the modern exhibit of the Western Wall Plaza.

The new exhibit is a work of art made solely of glass placed in ancient underground caverns, which demonstrates the yearning to Jerusalem through history. On the tour, the visitors are able to "liberate" the Western Wall with the IDF soldiers in the Six Days War. The willingness of the Israeli soldiers to sacrifice the most treasured things to them for their country and for the liberation of Jerusalem is praised and emphasized at this site.

The lighting in the new pool in the Tunnels creates a visual continuum between the two sites. The tour of the new pools is now included in the regular tours of the Western Wall Tunnels.

To reserve a tour, just click on the Western Wall Heritage Foundation's website.
Reservations for a tour of the Generations Center can be made on the website as well.

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