Jersualem’s Western Wall to get a facelift

Jerusalem’s Western Wall is getting a face lift after two millennia of wear and tear.

The ancient stones are showing the scars from more than two thousand years of scorching sunlight and torrential rain.

Israeli conservationists have begun mending the cracks and filling out the battered surfaces of the stones that are the most in need.

The Western Wall, the holiest prayer site in Judaism, is an outer remnant of the second of two Jewish temples built by Herod the Great more than 2,000 years ago and destroyed by the Romans in 70AD.

It sits in Jerusalem’s old city, next to a sacred compound revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, and lies a short walk away from Christianity’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Huge crowds gather at the wall to pray and visitors often stuff notes in cracks between the stones.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) tracks the condition of each stone and has begun treating the surface of those which show the most wear.

Using a portable lift and a medical syringe, the team delicately injects a limestone-based grout into the gaps and fissures in the stones.

“It is the best possible method of healing the stones and the ultimate defence against weathering,” Yossi Vaknin, head conservator for the IAA at the Western Wall, told Reuters.

And it is not just the climate that has taken a toll, he said. Plants have taken root and birds nest in the wall, making the repair work even more necessary.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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