The Western Wall, also known as the Kotel, is one of the world’s best-known ancient monuments. It formed part of the supporting wall around the Second Temple in Jerusalem, which was originally built around 2,500 years ago and was expanded 500 years later. The Bogolyubov Foundation is sponsoring a number of projects of major excavation and archaeological conservation to recover and maintain parts of the Kotel complex.
The projects supported by the Foundation include, among others:
Second Temple Hall
While uncovering a bridge within the Western Wall tunnels, workers discovered a large, 2000-year-old auditorium that was ten metres high. Due to structural instability, however, it was necessary to fill this with concrete to prevent the auditorium dome from collapsing. The Bogolyubov Foundation has funded works to remove the concrete, stabilise the dome and cleaning of the walls.
Ohel Yitzchak Arches
Translated from the Hebrew as ‘Isaac’s Tent’, these 15 arches originally formed a caravanserai or roadside inn used as a resting place by 12th century travelers, where they could recover from the day's journey.
Located feet away from the Western Wall, the arches originally stood seven metres high. Much of the area they once occupied, however, required excavation. Funding from the Bogolyubov Foundation helped to renovate and renew the arches, dig down four metres to the original ground level and prepare the area for visitors.
Wilson Arch is one of the most famous archaeological findings related to the Kotel and its entrances. It lies adjacent to the Western Wall and now serves as the inner, covered section of the Western Wall Plaza.
The place, excavation of which has been sponsored by the Bogolyubov Foundation, is the most popular area for praying, giving men and women a covered place, sheltered from sun, rain and snow so they can concentrate in their services. The new excavation is right beneath the existing place, and will create a second floor praying area accessible from the Kotel tunnels.