When visiting Jerusalem, many people want to see the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock. The Temple Mount is a holy site within the Old City for Jewish, Christian and Muslim people. All visitors are able to tour the compound and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, with the exception of the Dome of the Rock. The best way to visit the site is with a guided Jerusalem Mount of Olives and Temple Mount Tour available every Wednesday.
Brief History of the Temple Mount
Seen as the holiest site for Jewish believers, parts of the four walls surrounding the Temple Mount date back to the time of the Second Jewish Temple, first century BCE. The walls were built around the summit of Mount Moriah, where biblically, Abraham offered his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice.
The Temple Mount is the third holiest site for Muslims after Mecca and Medina. In Muslim tradition, this is where the Prophet Mohammed made his “Night Journey” to the throne of God. In the seventh century, when the Muslims conquered Jerusalem, they built the Dome of the Rock, the gold-topped Islamic shrine seen in many iconic photographs of the Old City, as well as the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Today, within the area of the Temple Mount, there are about 100 different structures to see spanning different time periods, including prayer locations, arches, and fountains. It is definitely worth the visit. As there are certain restrictions for visitors, it is important to understand the rules before you go.
Visiting the Temple Mount
Visitors enter the complex through the Mughrabi Gate near the Western Wall. Many people will see the entrance as they walk through the Western Wall plaza on a tour of the Old City.
While admission is free, the site is only open during very specific times. Because of this, the line can be very long to enter. It is best to arrive early to access this unforgettable site.
Visiting Hours for the Temple Mount (Monday through Thursday):
Winter: 7:30 am – 10:30 am and 12:30pm – 1:30 pm
Summer: 8:30am – 11:30am and 1:30pm – 2:30pm
The Temple Mount is closed to visitors on Friday and Saturday. The entrance to the site may be closed without notice for security reasons, so please be aware of this.
In order to enter, both men and women need to be dressed modestly. No weapons are allowed and visitors may not bring in any sacred Jewish objects, such as a prayer book or a talit. Visitors may be asked to show their passports so it is important to come prepared and ensure your passport is with you. While the complex is open to all, non-Muslims are NOT permitted to enter into the Dome of the Rock.
Another option is to pair your summer visit to the Temple Mount (Monday through Thursday) with one of our great walking tours. Following the end of the morning tour at 11:00, you can join the line to enter the Temple Mount. Hope for a short line!
A few tips for visiting the Temple Mount
Since queues can be very long, especially during peak season and holidays, it is important to arrive early and be prepared to wait.
If you have any religious artefacts or articles on you, regardless if they are Christian or Jewish, you will not be permitted to bring these items in with you. Save your shopping for after your visit! You may be denied entry for carrying religious artefacts with you.
Make sure you have your passport with you in order to enter the Temple Mount.
Dress modestly and respectfully. Headscarves are not required. Women must have their shoulders covered and should wear long pants or a long skirt and men should not be wearing shorts.
Be respectful of the security guards and do not take photos of them. Remember this is a holy site so maintaining respect is essential.
When visiting it is forbidden to practice Christian or Jewish prayer.