The Temple Mount, a hill located in the Old City of Jerusalem, is one of the most important religious sites in the world. It has been venerated as a holy site for thousands of years by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The present site is dominated by three monumental structures from the early Umayyad period: the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Dome of the Chain, as well as four minarets. Herodian walls and gates with additions dating back to the late Byzantine and early Islamic periods cut through the flanks of the Mount. Currently it can be reached through eleven gates, ten reserved for Muslims and one for non-Muslims, with guard posts of Israeli police in the vicinity of each.

According to the Bible, the Jewish Temples stood on the Temple Mount. According to Jewish tradition and scripture, the First Temple was built by King Solomon the son of King David in 957 BCE and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The second was constructed under the auspices of Zerubbabel in 516 BCE and destroyed by the Roman Empire in 70 CE. Jewish tradition maintains it is here that a Third and final Temple will also be built. The location is the holiest site in Judaism and is the place Jews turn towards during prayer. Due to its extreme sanctity, many Jews will not walk on the Mount itself, to avoid unintentionally entering the area where the Holy of Holies stood, since according to Rabbinical law, some aspect of the divine presence is still present at the site.

Among Sunni Muslims, the Mount is widely considered the third holiest site in Islam. Revered as the Noble Sanctuary, the location of Muhammad's journey to Jerusalem and ascent to heaven, the site is also associated with Jewish biblical prophets who are also venerated in Islam. Umayyad Caliphs commissioned the construction of the al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock on the site. The Dome was completed in 692 CE, making it one of the oldest extant Islamic structures in the world. The Al Aqsa Mosque rests on the far southern side of the Mount, facing Mecca. The Dome of the Rock currently sits in the middle, occupying or close to the area where the Holy Temple previously stood.

In light of the dual claims of both Judaism and Islam, it is one of the most contested religious sites in the world. Since the Crusades, the Muslim community of Jerusalem has managed the site as a Waqf, without interruption. As the site is part of the Old City, controlled by Israel since 1967, both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim sovereignty over it, and it remains a major focal point of the Arab–Israeli conflict. In an attempt to keep the status quo, the Israeli government enforces a controversial ban on prayer by non-Muslims.

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Founded: 10th century BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Israel

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kaya (16 months ago)
Beautiful place. Be aware it's open in restricted hours only (different for summer and winter period). It can happen that they will let you in only for 5-10 minutes
Hillary k (16 months ago)
Very interesting site! The scenery was beautiful and the buildings are stunning. Kind of a shame there is so much guarding in the area and it’s not more free for people to walk around and do whatever freely. Also the times when Jewish people and touristy can go up there is very short (only a couple of hours early morning and straight after noon. Be prepared in advanced with waiting long lines. BUT- worth it!
gayle e (17 months ago)
Wasn't allowed in because I wasn't Muslim. Annoying rule, but I'll stay on the happy side of the fence.. very uncomfortable area..
Haldun Faruk Gümüş (17 months ago)
It's not possible to forget these places. History of humanity, history of religion; everything is here! Meaninglessly living together is so difficult. The faithful people have no respect anymore to each other. You can see it best in these lands. All the best!
farhin khatun (18 months ago)
This place is world's third largest biggest mosque in all over the world.this place is sacred for Islam Christianity Judaism .so the debate will continue running.
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