Visiting the Temple Mount
The Temple Mount square is supported by four colossal retaining walls, built of huge hewn stones and placed on top of each other. One of these retaining walls is the Western Wall, which is used nowadays for prayer and gathering. The policy for ascending to the Temple Mount is strict, and the main regulations include:
- Entry to the mountain is allowed from Sunday to Thursday.
- During winter time - between 7:00-10:30 and 12:30-13:30.
- During summer time - between 7:00-11:00 and 13:30-14:30.
- The Temple Mount is closed to visitors on Fridays, Saturdays, and Muslim holidays. During the month of Ramadan, entry is only permitted in the morning.
- Entry to the mosques and buildings on the mountain is prohibited, and you can only enter through the Moors' Gate, located in the Western Wall plaza. However, in exceptional cases, you can leave from all gates - including the gates of the Old City Market in the Muslim Quarter.
- It is forbidden to pray or bow down in the entire area of the compound, and there is also a prohibition on bringing Jewish sacred objects into the compound, and it is also forbidden to bring the flag of Israel.
- Also, it is forbidden to bring musical instruments, and it is not permitted to sing in the mountain area.
- When entering the Temple Mount, visitors are required to pass a security check.
- Click here for information about the regulations for Jewish ascension to the Temple Mount
About the history of the Temple Mount
The Temple Mount is the holiest place for the Jewish people and the only place, according to Halacha, where the Third Temple could reside in the future. The Jews pray in its direction three times a day and pray for the establishment of the Third Temple. The mountain on which the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock stand today is the third holiest place in Islam.
The Temple Mount plaza is made of stone and is of enormous dimensions - about 140 dunams. In its center stands the Temple, about which the Sages said, "He who has not seen Herod's building has never seen a beautiful building." The extension was built during Herod's time at the end of the first century BC, on which stood the Second Temple, which Herod renovated.
According to tradition, King Solomon built the first Temple in this place, and the Babylonian exiles returned and built the second one. Herod renovated the Temple and created an artificial extension of the hill. In the southern part of the extension, Herod built the royal "Staio", a basilica structure with rows of impressive columns used as a gathering secular place.
The Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. The common assumption is that the Temple Mount plaza remained empty and bleak for many years until the Muslim conquest (although it is possible that in the Roman period, a pagan temple stood on the plaza). In 638, Omar Ibn al-Khattab conquered Jerusalem, and Muslim rule began in the city, and in 691, Khalifa Abd al-Malak built the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount plaza. Later, Al-Walid built the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
According to the belief of Islam, there was the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which Muhammad reached on a night journey, riding on a beast called Al-Burak. It should be noted that the Temple Mount is identified as the place from which Muhammad ascended to heaven and where he met God and the prophets. For Muslim believers, this is the third holiest place in the world.