So many debates and disagreements relates to a small
part in the city. It is one of the most important and
impressive sites in the square kilometer we call the Holy
city of Jerusalem.
It is the place where once stood the Jewish Temple
and since the 7th century it is the third sacred place
for the Muslims after Mecca and Medina.
Lots of people wait hours and hours to take photos of the
beautiful monuments on top of the Podium.
Well known as the house of God. The first Temple was built by King Salomon during the 10th century b.c.
and destroyed by the Babylonians 400 years later. The “children of Zion” (as referred to in the bible)
rebuilt it when they came back from the exile.
King Herod the great decided to renovate the old building and make it one of the most beautiful
buildings in the Roman Empire. In the year 70 a.d., during the war of the Jews against the Romans,
the soldiers of the X Legion destroyed the temple.
Until today the Jews yearn for the third Temple to be built.
The beautiful golden dome is located above the rock
of foundation, the first place that god created in this world.
According to the Jewish tradition on this stone God
tested Abraham and asked him to sacrifice his beloved
son Isaac. It served as the main sacred place where
both of the Jewish temples stood.
It was forgotten by the Christians for hundreds of years
until Muhamad came to the city riding his magical horse.
According to the Muslim tradition from the rock he went
up to the heavens to receive the five prayers of the day.
The golden dome was built during the days of the Calif
Abed El Malek at the end of the 7th century.
It is one of the oldest buildings in the Islamic architecture.
The original mosaic decoration is still visible in some places.
The rest of the blue tiles are from the Othman period.
The golden Dome was donated by the royal dynasty of Jorden after the peace agreement of 1994 was signed.
The words Al Aqsa means “the farthest mosque”,
from a Sanctuary where profit Muhamad pried in Saudi Arabia.
The entire platform is also known as Haram al Sharif,
means “the Nobel Sanctuary”.
The Quran doesn’t give a specific geographical place.
The mosque is identified with the night journey of Muhamad,
known as al-Isra. During the voyage he received the five
prayers of the day, known as al- Miraj.
The building is very similar to a Christian basilica in its shape.
It has seven aisles of hypostyle naves.
And it was destroyed and rebuilt several times during history.
That is the reason that the main façade and the eastern
wall contain Romanesque, Gothic architectonic items
with Islamic architecture.
The entire open space of the Herodian platform is full of open mosques.
There are small and wide terraces with a niche that indicates the direction of Mecca,
direction of the pray. In a closed mosque it will look like a church niche behind the main alter.
In an open one the Mihrab is made or from stone or from metal.
The entire platform of the mountain contains beautiful
buildings like the Madrassa or fountain of Kait Bey,
a Mameluke General how built an Islamic school as well.
The Madrassas, located on the western part of the platform,
serves till today as schools for Islamic studies.
The fountains, known as Sabil, there are a couple of them on
the open area, serve the believers to wash their legs and
hands before going to pry.
Another strange architectonic element is the Minbar.
It looks like a pulpit (sermon stage) in a church. Look for the decorative gates on the western part of the platform. Or go to the eastern part and admire the Golden gate, which is blocked with stones.
The Temple Mount is open for non-Muslim visitors between Sunday and Thursday.
On Summer time the visiting hours are 7:30-11:00 and 13:30-14:30.
In winter time it is between 7:30-10:00 and 12:30-13:30.
The entrance is from the Mughrab’s gate and bridge, near the western wall.
Don’t forget a passport. Ladies come with wide pants and not skinny ones.
Make sure that your knees and shoulders are covered.