Jews praying at the “Wailing Wall.” Pressing against the huge limestone blocks of the Herodian wall enclosing the Temple Mount, pious Jews lament the loss of their Temple 2,000 years earlier and pray for its restoration.

By 1889, the Jewish population of Jerusalem had swollen to more than 25,000 out of a total population of some 40,000, an increase largely due to anti-Jewish pogroms in Tsarist Russia and to the threat of 25 years compulsory service in the Russian army. In 1838, by contrast, Jerusalem boasted only 16,000 inhabitants, 6,000 of whom were Jews.

This photograph was taken by 20-year-old Adrien Bonfils in 1880. Bonfils, the son of a French bookbinder, began an exhaustive photographic study of Jerusalem and its environs in 1877. The Bonfils studio was among the most productive of the numerous commercial studios that operated out of Jerusalem in the late 1800s.