Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock
- Type: Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing
- Time to Spend: 1 to 2 hours
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Temple Mount is one of the holiest sites in Jerusalem for both Jews and Muslims. Historians have associated it with Mount Moriah (where the binding of Isaac took place) and Mount Zion (where the original Jebusite fortress once stood); however, neither theory has been proven. Jews believe that this section of the Old City is the resting place of the Divine Presence on earth and the source of the dust that God used to create Adam. Meanwhile, Muslims believe that Muhammad's ascent to heaven took place at Temple Mount. Even if you're not a believer, travelers say that Temple Mount is worth visiting for its resounding historical significance. According to one TripAdvisor user, "It was so interesting to see thousands of years converge in one place. This is a do not miss experience in my opinion."
Despite its importance to both religions, Temple Mount's most notable feature is distinctly Muslim: the Dome of the Rock. Encased in this golden-topped structure is the rock where Muhammad prayed with Gabriel. It is also said to be the exact location of his ascension. You should also pay a visit to the Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest place in Islam behind Mecca and Medina. Constructed in 720 A.D., Al Aqsa is described by many as one of the most beautiful mosques in the world.
Temple Mount's visiting hours vary, and you must obtain permission from the guards to enter the area. You will not be granted access if your legs and shoulders aren't covered. Entry to the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa is 38 ILS (roughly $10 USD). Also, note that you will need to remove your shoes upon entering these two attractions in accordance with Muslim tradition. You can learn more about Temple Mount here.