Temple Mount (Al-Haram al-Sharif)
Dome of the Rock © James Emery
Temple Mount, known by some as Mount Moriah, is a site of tremendous religious importance to Muslims, Jews and Christians alike. It is one of Jerusalem's most famous landmarks and can be found within the walled section of the Old City. The glinting golden dome of the Dome of the Rock rises impressively from Jerusalem's skyline and has become the city's most distinguishable feature.
Temple Mount is of Jewish and Christian historical importance on two counts: the large rock is believed to be the place where Abraham offered his son Isaac up for sacrifice, and the First Temple is the place where the Ark of the Covenant is said to have been housed. Even though off limits to Jews today, it is still a focal-point of Jewish life, and Jews worldwide face the Temple Mount during prayer. For Muslims the same rock is the place from which Muhammad, in a dream, ascended to heaven. In commemoration of this apotheosis, the Dome of the Rock was built over the site in the 7th century. It is known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary or Al-Haram al-Sharif, and is one of the three most important sites in Islamic culture. Also located on the Temple Mount are the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Islamic Museum, which houses a collection of Korans and other Islamic relics.
Tragically, due to the site's great importance to three religions, Temple Mount is frequently a focal point for religious tension in Jerusalem. Travellers should investigate the current situation before visiting the site.
Address: Temple Mount, Old City
Transport: Bus to the Dung Gate.
Opening times: While the complex is open to all people, non-Muslim visitors will NOT be allowed entry into the building of the Dome of the Rock. Visitors should also note that Temple Mount may be closed to visitors during times of turmoil or religious conflict in Jerusalem. Generally, it is open Saturday to Thursday from 7.30am-11am and 1.30pm-3pm in summer; and 8am-10:30am and 12:20pm-2pm in winter. Closed on Fridays and during prayer times.
Admission: Admission to Temple Mount is free, but admission is charged for access to the Dome of the Rock, Al Aqsa Mosque and Islamic Museum.