Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Top 10 Most Controversial Historical Sites


8
Western Wall: Jerusalem, Israel
Some worshippers leave written prayers in the wall's cracks.
Some worshippers leave written prayers in the wall's cracks.
© iStockphoto.com/eldadcarin

Built by King Herod in 20 B.C., the Western Wall in Jerusalem is considered the holiest Jewish site in the world. It was originally part of an enclosure for the Temple Mount, but the Romans destroyed the temple in 70 A.D., and the wall and an underground tunnel were all that remained. Only a few hundred worshippers could pray at the wall at any given time until a plaza facing it was built in 1967. Now, thousands of worshippers and people of all religions make the pilgrimage every year to leave written prayers in the cracks of the wall.

While the wall is a place where people come in peace, a fight has been brewing for some time over the origins of the wall and its rightful owners. Leaders of Islam deny the wall's Jewish origins and claim it belongs to Muslims. Meanwhile, the Jews don't claim ownership of the wall, stating it does not belong to any one group or religion, but to God.


More to Explore