Restoration work is beginning at the Western Wall, and the Israel Antiquities Authority has more information in a press release. More information about the project is available in two Word documents (zip) and 34 high-res photos are available here (zip). The photos are identified as follows:
1-8 Western Wall Compound and the Western Wall
9-29 Conserve the Stones in the Western Wall
31 Western Wall Tunnels – Hasmonean aqueduct
32 Western Wall Tunnels – The Model Hall
34 Western Wall Compound Excavations
Most of the photos show general views of the Wall or of the current restoration, but a few are unique angles that you won’t see anywhere else (such as from the top looking down). A couple of them may make you want to keep your distance from the Wall until the restoration is complete.
From the press release:
The Inauguration of the National Project to Conserve the Stones in the Western Wall and the Establishment of the Israel Antiquities Authority Conservation Department (Minhal Shimur) (April 5, 2009)
The Western Wall and the monuments around it are among the most important cultural heritage sites in the world. Every year millions of people come to Jerusalem to see them. In order to ensure a safe and comfortable experience, the site should be constantly maintained and new services developed for the benefit of the visitors.
A year ago the Western Wall Heritage Foundation conducted a survey of the state of the wall, which revealed that the physical condition of the stones was deteriorating. It was against this background that the Israel Antiquities Authority decided to take urgent action: the Israel Antiquities Authority Conservation Department conducted an extensive physical and engineering survey of the Western Wall’s condition which culminated in the submission of a work plan. Conservation measures are currently being carried out there.
The work is focusing 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. The Western Wall compound project is an example of the enormous task that confronts us in conserving and presenting Israel’s cultural heritage. Such a cultural heritage site that is important on both a local and international level which involves large number of visitors, the need for constant maintenance, and the conservation of the Western Wall’s original appearance for us and for posterity, is first and foremost a challenge. This undertaking requires knowledge and professionalism in a wide range of fields.
HT: Joe Lauer