600-year-old grand hall excavated under Western Wall
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600-year-old grand hall excavated under Western Wall

Tunnel site from 14th century converted into educational center after a four-year restoration

The Western Wall plaza with the Temple Mount in the background, as thousands of visitors arrive in the Old City of Jerusalem during the Jewish holiday of Passover, April 16, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)
The Western Wall plaza with the Temple Mount in the background, as thousands of visitors arrive in the Old City of Jerusalem during the Jewish holiday of Passover, April 16, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

A grand hall from the early 14th century was fully excavated in the Western Wall tunnels.

Excavated for more than four years under the supervision of the Israel Antiquities Authority, the hall was inaugurated Sunday by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.

The hall, located underground adjacent to the Western Wall Plaza — including beneath the homes of Palestinians living east and south of the area — was converted into an educational center.

Gennady Bogolyubov, a London-based philanthropist born in Ukraine, funded the excavations and education center. Bogolyubov has supported a number of major British-Jewish causes, as well as causes in his native Dnepropetrovsk and a number of Israel-based charities.

The walls of the 600-year-old hall are decorated with stone pillars and highly stylized arches, as well as a window to 14th-century aqueducts. On the side of the structure are a staircase from the Herodian period, a section of a Roman road and a bathing house from the Mamluk period, according to the IAA.

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