The Temple Mount is one of the most important tourist sites in the world and is included on Christian tours of Israel, Jewish Israel tours and Muslim tours, as it is of religious significance to all three faiths. Originally the site of the great Temple of Jerusalem, it is the holiest site in Judaism. For Muslims it is where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven and to Christians, a place frequented by Jesus, and a place destined to be involved in end-time events.
The Temple Mount covers 35 acres and is accessible to non-Muslims via a gate next to the Western Wall. The primary structures on and around the mount are the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Dome of the Chain. The mount is enclosed by Herodian walls dating back to the Byzantine era.
The Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock is one of the city’s most iconic structures, with its glowing gold dome which can be seen from all around. It is said to contain the sacred rock upon which Isaac was nearly sacrificed. Built in 691 AD by Caliph Abd el-Malik, the sacred rock inside shows the legendary mark of Muhammad’s footprint.
The El-Aqsa Mosque
The El-Aqsa Mosque was built in the 8th century. Featuring a silver-black dome, it serves as the place of worship for Muslim pilgrimages. Its name means ‘the farthest’ in reference to the fact it is the farthest point reached by Muhammad on his night journey.
The Dome of the Chain
The Dome of the Chain is set on the eastern side of the Dome of the Rock, a small structure that takes its name from the tradition of testing witnesses in the time of King David, by having them hold the chain. Those who spoke falsely would be struck by lightning, while those who spoke the truth would be released. Its unusual open structure includes a 13 meter diameter dome that sits upon 11 external and 6 internal pillars.