When visiting Jerusalem, many people have a desire to visit 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.
Brief History of the Temple Mount
The Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount in Jerusalem
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 behind 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 from various time periods. These include prayer spots, arches and fountains. It is definitely worth the visit.
As there are certain restrictions for visitors, it is important to understand these 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’s best to arrive early to access this unforgettable site.
Visiting Hours for 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. Sometimes the entrance to the site is closed without notice, even when it’s scheduled to be open.
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.
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.
Tourist Israel Itinerary Suggestion:
Pair your summer visit to the Temple Mount (Monday through Thursday) with the Half-Day Jerusalem Old City Tour. Following the end of the morning tour at 1pm, you can get in line to try and gain access to the Temple Mount at 1:30pm. Hope for a short line!