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 of Jerusalem 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 Temple Mount is one of the most important sites to visit on any trip to Israel. However it can be difficult to go as an independent traveler. The best way to visit the site is to join this guided Jerusalem Mount of Olives and Temple Mount Tour which is available every Wednesday.
What is 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, in the first century BCE. The walls were built around the summit of Mount Moriah. Biblically, this is where Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice.
The Temple Mount is the third holiest site for Muslims after Mecca and Medina. Alongside the Abrahamic history of the site, in Muslim tradition, this is where the Prophet Mohammed made his “Night Journey” to the throne of God. In the seventh century, following the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem, they built the Dome of the Rock. It is the gold-topped Islamic shrine seen in many iconic photographs of the Old City, next to 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 Temple Mount 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.
The Temple Mount is closed to visitors on Friday and Saturday. The entrance to the site may be closed without notice for security reasons. Please check the status before planning your visit.
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 tallit. Visitors may be asked to show their passports. Come prepared and ensure your passport is with you.
While the complex is open for all to see, non-Muslims are NOT permitted to enter into the Dome of the Rock.
Join our guided tour to Jerusalem Mount of Olives and Temple Mount departing every Wednesday from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Another option is to pair your summer visit to the Temple Mount (Monday through Thursday) with one of our great walking tours of the Old City. Following the end of the morning tour at around 12:00, you can join the line to enter the Temple Mount. Hope for a short line!
Tips for Visiting
- Since lines can be very long it is important to arrive early and be prepared to wait. They are even longer during peak season and holidays
- If you have any religious artifacts 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 artifacts 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. 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.
Visiting the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock are special, meaningful, and memorable experiences that should not be missed while in Jerusalem. Check out our other Jerusalem tours, or ideas for what to do on Shabbat in Jerusalem.
Useful Information: Visiting the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock
Monday through Thursday:
Winter: 7:30 am – 10:30 am and 12:30pm – 1:30 pm
Summer: 8:30am – 11:30am and 1:30pm – 2:30 pm