Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock

#4 in Best Things To Do in Jerusalem
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Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock
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Key Info

Har Hamoriya

Details

Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.7scorecard
  • 4.5Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 4.0Atmosphere

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.

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More Best Things To Do in Jerusalem

Old City
Western Wall (Wailing Wall)
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 12
#1 Old City

Chances are that you'll spend much of your time here. The Old City is home to many of Jerusalem's most sought-after attractions, including the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Temple Mount. Originally built by King David in 1004 B.C., the walled Old City comprises four distinct areas: the Jewish Quarter (or the Cardo), the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, and the Armenian Quarter. Each quarter exudes its own unique atmosphere, with religious sites, shops, and food offerings reflecting its respective heritage. Yet the Old City's winding alleyways and ancient stone plazas allow mixing and mingling among these cultures, making a very eclectic environment.

It's easy to lose yourself (both metaphorically and geographically) in the Old City, but make sure you devote some attention to its boundaries. You can access the Old City from seven entryways: the New Gate, Damascus Gate, Herod's Gate, Lions' Gate, Dung Gate, Zion Gate, and Jaffa Gate. Each doorway marks a significant era of Jerusalem's history. For example, Jaffa Gate is where the Tower of David (the city's primary defense point) can be found.

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