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Temple Mount (Al-Haram al-Sharif)

Dome of the Rock © James Emery
Dome of the Rock © James Emery

Temple Mount is tremendously important to Jews, Muslims and Christians alike. Located within the Old City's walled section, its glinting, golden Dome of the Rock is easily Jerusalem's most distinguishable feature.

From a Jewish and Christian perspective, the large rock is said to be where Abraham offered his son Isaac up for sacrifice. Many believe that the First Temple once housed the Ark of the Covenant. Visitors should also note that the Israeli government prohibits non-Muslim prayer on the site.

Muslims believe that Muhammad ascended to heaven from the same rock. For this reason, they built the Dome over this site in the 7th century. Muslims know it as the Noble Sanctuary or Al-Haram al-Sharif, and it's one of the three most important sites in Islamic culture. The Al Aqsa Mosque and the Islamic Museum are also located on the Temple Mount.

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 situation before visiting.

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.