New excavations planned below the Western Wall Plaza

According to this report, new excavations are planned below the Western Wall Plaza. The present level would be supported by pillars and an additional underground area would be available for worship/visiting. Here is an artist’s impression:

This is not a new idea, for already in 1967 plans were drawn up to excavate below this area. The plan called for an excavated area below ground level, but also retaining the level of the plaza as it was then:

It would be fascinating to see more of the Western Wall in this area and also to see Barclay’s Gate to its full height. This drawing shows the visible remains of Barclay’s Gate above ground today and the original size of the gate:
(This drawing was published in The Quest, p.26)

10 thoughts on “New excavations planned below the Western Wall Plaza”

  1. Shalom Leen and Catherine,

    Regarding BARCLAY’S GATE … I recently obtained your fine book, SECRETS OF JERUSALEM’S TEMPLE MOUNT and was surprised to find, on (the bottom of) page 28 and also on page 30 (in the photo caption) that the discovery of Barclays Gate was attributed to one “J. T. Barclay” which you identify as a “British architect.” This is an error. I thought you might want to correct it in future editions of your book.

    Dr. James Turner Barclay was actually an American citizen; a Christian missionary initially, who did do some survey and minor restoration planning work, in and around the Haram esh Sharif, for the Ottoman authorities and Waqf at the time. Dr. Barclay first came to Jerusalem in 1851, originally as a Campbellite missionary. During his survey work for the Pasha, he discovered (as you know) what was later named for him, “Barclay’s Gate” from its inner side, within the western wall of the Temple Mount. The gate was blocked with stones at the end of the 10th century and the gate room on the internal side was devoted to Muhammad’s mythical horse, al Buraq. Today the room remains closed and entrance to it is prohibited [of course] by the Waqf.

    By the way, I am a frequent reader of your excellent blog. Leen, I love your work and consider your observations to be, hands down, the most accurate across the spectrum of modern investigators. I own a first printing copy of THE QUEST. I even have your B/W framed illustration of the Temple Mount, from the southwest, which I purchase in Jerusalem way back in 1981 on my first visit! I am working on a manuscript about the central region of Israel and will be citing your works in that book. Thanks for your exhaustive scholarship and exemplary illustrations. I for one, am grateful for all that you contribute. Thanks!

  2. Daniel,

    Thanks you for your kind comments. You are right about James Barclay and we have corrected the mistake in The Quest, p. 15.

  3. Eliya,

    I commented on the PEF photograph of the Barclay’s Gate lintel. Whoever made that remark must be unaware of my correct drawings in my book The Quest, Revealing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, pp. 26,28:
    Access to Barclay’s Gate is from inside the Temple Mount, which is controlled by the Waqf, the Muslim Authority. They don’t allow any excavations. However, Charles Warren has been inside the gate in the 1870’s and all his measurements have been recorded. I have an original set of these 50 plans, so I know exactly what is inside. Warren also excavated a deep shaft in front of the gate all the way down to bedrock. That is why I have drawn a stairway leading up to the gate, as the supporting arch has been found underground.

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