Temple Mount – Cultural and Religious Pillar of Societies

You might not be a religious person, but in spite of it, you should still visit Jerusalem only for the cultural part it played in the formation of societies. You should start off at the Temple Mount (Har haBáyit in Hebrew and al-haram al-qudsī ash-sharīf in Arabic), which is regarded as holly by both Jewish and Muslims. To the Jews, it represents the place where Abraham nearly sacrificed his son to God. To the Muslims, it is the place form where the Prophet Muhammad raised to the heavens.

Also known as Mount Moriah, it was the home of the biblical Jewish Temple. You know that Jews around the world stop at specific hours to pray (the times vary based on the location of the prayer and the time of the year) and all turn their faces in the same direction? Well, they look towards the Temple Mount.

Ok, but what can you see at Temple Mount and in its vicinity, right? Well, you can see the Dome of Rock, the sides of which are covered in blue mosaic tiles and the top of which is a gold dome; it is believed that the Rock Dome was constructed from the rock from which Muhammad raised to heaven.

Then you can see the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Chain, Solomon’s Stables, the Islamic Museum (very informational on the history and importance of Temple Mount) or the Western Wall, which is in fact just a ruin of Herod’s temple, but the most sacred Jewish site.

You do not need to pay any fee to see these places and you are allowed to take pictures. You will however need to obey some rules of behavior, mentioned at the entrance. You are for instance prohibited from engaging in any religious manifestation and must be decently dressed.