Historical Significance
  • Herod the Great constructed the present Temple Mount beginning in 20 BC.  Construction on it continued for 83 years until AD 64 when a halt was called to the project and 18,000 workers were laid off
Political/Cultural Significance
  • The Temple Mount is one of the most important religious areas in the Old City of Jerusalem. Three religious traditions still hold this area to be sacred: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
  • Herod enlarged the existing Temple Mount in order to accommodate the larger crowds of Jewish pilgrims coming for the feasts.  Today Muslims in Israel celebrate Ramadan by coming to what they call Haram el-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary). More than 400,000 Muslims often gather here at the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque on the final Friday of Ramadan.
  • The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, which regards it as the place where God’s divine presence is manifested more than any other place. According to the rabbinic sages whose debates produced the Talmud, it was from here the world expanded into its present form and where God gathered the dust used to create the first human, Adam. Since at least the first century CE, the site has been associated in Judaism with the location of Abraham’s binding of Isaac.
  • The Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque are also considered the third holiest sites in Islam, after Mecca and Medina.
Biblical Significance
  • According to the Bible, both Jewish Temples stood atop the Temple Mount