| ||he Muslim Sanctuary Haram-al-Sharif, or the Esplanade of the Mosques, makes Jerusalem Islam’s third most important holy city, after Mecca and Medina. The Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque were both built in the 7th century on the ruins of the Jewish temple of which only the western wall remains. This wall is known as the Wailing Wall since it is were Jews came to lament its destruction. According to tradition, this was the place where, nearly 3,000 years ago, a first temple was built by King Solomon to store the Tablets of Stone. Twice destroyed and rebuilt, it was finally razed by the Romans in 135AD. The Wailing Wall is today a holy place central to Judaism where the faithful come to pray and to slide prayers into cracks in the wall. Near Christ’s tomb, this holy place reminds us that Jerusalem, a three millennium old city, is also three times a holy city, a religious capital for Jews, Christians and Muslims. This unique spiritual dimension makes it the object of a great deal of secular passion and tension.
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