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Highlights of the Temple Mount
For the Christian visitor it will be of special interest to see the inside of the Golden Gate at the eastern wall of the plaza pointing towards the Mount of Olives, while visiting the Temple Mount. It was once an open gate as all the other gates of the Old City, but was sealed off during Ottoman times. According to Christian tradition the gate will stay closed until the return of Jesus in the Second Coming, and according to Jewish tradition too it will be the gate through which the Messiah will come.
Background Information of the Temple Mount
The Temple Mount is one of the politically most sensitive spots today, due to its ancient history and status as a the holiest place in Judaism and the third holiest place in Islam. It was where the First and Second Jewish Temple stood and where tradition says Muhammad visited during a night flight from Mecca on his horse. In the 7th Century the Muslim Dome of the Rock was built on the spot where the Temple once stood but Jews are forbidden according to Jewish religious law to enter the area due to the holiness of the Temple inherent in the area. The Temple Mount fell into Israeli hands during the Six Day War in 1967 but was left under the administration of the Muslim Wakf of Jerusalem. Archaeological excavations have never taken place at the Mount and there is controversy about keeping the status quo of the area.
Non-Muslim visitors can only visit the Temple Mount during a few hours in the morning, and only through the entrance visible from the Western Wall. The Wakf are very strict concerning non-Muslim prayer on the plaza of the Mount, and attempts to pray are not recommended. Women are not allowed into the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Modest dress code. Entrance fee.
Nearby Places of Interest
the Western Wall, Mount Zion, David's City, the Western Wall Tunnels, the Armenian Quarter, the Muslim Quarter
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