A year ago, the Jerusalem Western Wall (Wailing Wall) Heritage Foundation conducted a survey of the state of the wall, the only remaining part of the Second Temple, which the Romans destroyed in 70 A.D.
The survey revealed the deterioration of the stones in the wall. This led the Israel Antiquities Authority to take urgent action and conduct an extensive physical and engineering study of the wall’s condition. This culminated with the submission of a plan to conserve one of Judaism’s holiest sites.
The plan focuses on the conservation treatment of the stones in the Western Wall and their stability, in accordance with their degree of preservation and the level of risk they present to the visiting public.
The project to conserve the stones in the Western Wall, in particular, and the conservation and development of the Western Wall compound in general, is one of the most complex projects of its kind ever undertaken in Israel.
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The Jerusalem Western Wall compound project is an example of the enormous task that confronts us in conserving and presenting Israel’s cultural heritage. It is important on both the national and international levels because the site sees large numbers of visitors.
Consequently, it needs constant maintenance, and preserving the wall’s appearance for the future is a serious challenge.
This undertaking requires knowledge and professionalism in a wide range of fields.
The project is being directed by the Israel Antiquities Authority Conservation Department, which is staffed with architects, engineers and conservators who specialize in different areas.
The conservation department manifests the authority’s obligation to create a body that will lead the way in the field of conservation in Israel, as a result of the state’s responsibility to the cultural heritage in its territory.
In touching the stones of the Western Wall, the conservators of the Israel Antiquities Authority are touching what has been the very heart of Jewish heritage for generations.
The Israel Conservation Department is engaged in preserving heritage sites that date to a variety of periods. A professional team of 55 people implements the conservation work: conservators, architects, engineers, planners, chemists, geologists and archaeologists.
David Bedein can be contacted at email@example.com