What to see in Israel
Found within the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, Temple Mount one of the world’s holiest sites, holding extreme significance for both Muslims and the Jewish community. Today comprised of an immaculate elevated stone plaza, set above the famous Western Wall, Temple Mount is composed of several structures including walls dating back to the 1st-century, the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, crowned with an iconic golden dome, a true symbol of Jerusalem. The golden dome sits upon an intricately detailed structure, decorated with bright blue mosaic tiles, typical of Islamic architecture.
Temple Mount has played a huge role in both the Muslim and Jewish faiths. For Jews, the Temple Mount is historically the site of two biblical temples and also the location in which it is believed that Abraham showed his devotion to God by sacrificing his son. Parts of these ancient temples still remain in and around the complex. In the Islamic faith, Haram al-Sharif, or Temple Mount, is where the prophet Muhammed ascended to heaven. Throughout history, there have been conflicts surrounding the ownership and use of this site, even in recent years. Former Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon’s visit to the mount in 2000 sparked the 2nd intifada, a period of intense violence between Israel and Palestine.
A trip to Jerusalem is not complete without visiting the Temple Mount complex. Due to ongoing contentions surrounding the Temple Mount, the site is under the authority of the Waqf religious trust who ensure the safety of visitors and pilgrims to the complex. Jews are forbidden from praying or bringing religious paraphernalia into the site and Muslims alone can enter the Dome of the Rock. Temple Mount is closed on Friday’s and Saturdays and tourists must enter through the Mughrabi Gate near the Western Wall.