Tisha B’Av marks the 9th day of the month of Av, a day of historic tragedy for the Jewish people. According to the Babylonian Talmud, the 9th of Av marks the anniversary of the destruction of both the first and second temples.
The day is commemorated by fasting, sitting on the floor in mourning and reading the book of Lamentations and other poetic scripts that describe the profound loss experienced by the Jewish people throughout their history.
Shahar Shilo, a tour guide for the City of David, tours the ancient tunnel system as described in the book of Josephus that run below the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan used by Jews to hide during the great revolt against the Romans.
The stairs built above the tunnels once saw millions of people making pilgrimage to the Temple Mount. During the revolt against the Romans, hoards of Jewish people spent over a month inside the tunnels to escape the Roman soldiers. Upon discovery, the stairs were shattered to pull Jews out from the tunnels. Those breaks in the stairs are still there today.
"The testimonials of destruction are so unique to Jerusalem that one can still see the ashes on the ground," he said.
The tunnel stairs end at the base of the Western Wall, a preserved piece of history and the last remaining reminder of the temple that once was.