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 the Holy Land and a great addition to your Israel itinerary. However it can be difficult to go as a solo traveler. The best way to visit the site is to hire a private guide so you can get the most immersive experience possible.
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
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 and a great addition to your Israel itinerary, non-Muslims are NOT permitted to enter inside of the Dome of the Rock.
Hiring a private guide as part of your Israel itinerary is the best way to see the Temple Mount up close, but our Jerusalem tours offer stunning vantage points of the Dome of the Rock. See this magnificent icon grace the Jerusalem skyline while wandering the Old City.
Since the site spans over 100 structures and remains one of the City of Gold’s most iconic landmarks, we suggest getting there early to beat the crowds and continue with the rest of your sightseeing later on in the day.
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
- Save your shopping for after your visit! 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. 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, but 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 recite Christian or Jewish prayers.
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 excursions, or ideas for what to do on Shabbat in Jerusalem to make sure your Israel itinerary is packed with adventures and unforgettable memories.
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