As shared in the previous post on the Western Wall in Jerusalem, we did not get to visit the Temple Mount, because we had missed the opening hours. That being said, I think it’s important to flag out some key aspects before one decides on visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem as a tourist. Hence my post below.
The visiting hours of Temple Mount are pretty short, so you’ve got to take note of the timings for a successful visit.
It also took us awhile to figure out where the entrance to Temple Mount was. I later realised that the entrance is located at the Western Wall. That long passageway at the Western Wall could be it (See picture above).
- Summer: Sunday to Thursday: 8:30am to 11:30am and 1:30pm to 2:30pm
- Winter: Sunday to Thursday: 7:30am to 10:30am and 12:30pm to 1:30pm
Also make sure that you’re appropriately dressed – no shorts or bare shoulders. This can be overcome by carrying a shawl with you. For security checks, it might be helpful to bring along your passports. This post from The Whole World Is A Playground is particularly useful in identifying some key things to look out for in order to enter Temple Mount.
According to Wikipedia, the Temple Mount is dominated by three monumental structures from the early Umayyad period: the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Dome of the Chain, as well as four minarets. Herodian walls and gates with additions dating back to the late Byzantine and early Islamic periods cut through the flanks of the Mount. Currently it can be reached through eleven gates, ten reserved for Muslims and one for non-Muslims, with guard posts of Israeli police in the vicinity of each.
Today, the Temple Mount remains to be a focal point in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and prayer by non-Muslims is banned, in the government’s bid to enforce the status quo. There is only one point of entry for tourists, hence this post’s title.
The Travelling Squid’s Take
I was pretty sad to learn that we had missed the opening hours to Temple Mount. That being said, admiring the Dome of the Rock from the roof tops of someone’s home is not too bad too. I wonder what it would be like living in the Old City, surrounded by renowned monuments, which are the contention of so many. It’s like a calm lake with deep undercurrents.