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. The best way to visit the site is with a guided Jerusalem Mount of Olives and Temple Mount Tour which operates from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Netanya, and Herzliya 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 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 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. 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 so it is important to come prepared and ensure your passport is with you.
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
Join our guided tour to Jerusalem Mount of Olives and Temple Mount departing every Wednesday from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Netanya, Herzliya, and Jerusalem.
Another option is to pair your summer visit to the Temple Mount (Monday through Thursday) with the Highlights of Jerusalem Walking Tour. Following the end of the morning tour at 11:00 am, you can get in line to try and gain access to 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 artifacts or articles, 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 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.
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 other Jerusalem tours, or ideas for what to do on Shabbat in Jerusalem.