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Islam's third holiest site after Mecca and Medina, the Dome of the Rock is built on top of the Temple Mount in the Old City. At the heart of the sanctuary is the Foundation Stone where, according to Islamic tradition, the prophet Muhammad ascended to Heaven.
Dome of the Rock Tours
First thing to do at Dome of the Rock is to see the rock. At the center of the Dome of the Rock sits a large rock, which is believed to be the location where Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son Ismail (Isaac in the Judeo/Christian tradition). Today, Muslims believe that the Rock commemorates the night journey of Muhammad. One night the Angel Gabriel came to Muhammad while he slept near the Kaaba in Mecca and took him to al-Masjid al-Aqsa (the farthest mosque) in Jerusalem. From the Rock, Muhammad journeyed to heaven, where he met other prophets, such as Moses and Christ, witnessed paradise and hell and finally saw God enthroned and circumambulated by angels.
Wall and ceiling mosaics became very popular in Late Antiquity and adorn many Byzantine churches, including San Vitale in Ravenna and Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Thus, the use of mosaics reflects an artistic tie to the world of Late Antiquity. Late Antiquity is a period from about 300-800, when the Classical world dissolves and the Medieval period emerges. The mosaics in the Dome of the Rock contain no human figures or animals. While Islam does not prohibit the use of figurative art per se, it seems that in religious buildings, this proscription was upheld. Instead, we see vegetative scrolls and motifs, as well as vessels and winged crowns, which were worn by Sasanian kings. Thus, the iconography of the Dome of the Rock also includes the other major pre-Islamic civilization of the region, the Sasanian Empire, which the Arab armies had defeated.
The Dome of the Rock also contains an inscription, 240 meters long, that includes some of the earliest surviving examples of verses from the Qur'an – in an architectural context or otherwise. Below the Rock is a small chamber, whose purpose is not fully understood even to this day. For those who are fortunate enough to be able to enter the Dome of the Rock, the experience is moving, regardless of one's faith.
How to Get Tickets?
You can have a free tour at Dome of the Rock. There is no entrance fee and you can just spend a day of tour there, during their open hours, for free.
How To Get Around?
You can get around Dome of the Rock by walking.
What Should I Wear?
Dome of the Rock is a religious site, dress modestly and be respectful when you are there. A modest dress is essential to gain access to Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock. Women should wear a knee length dress or trousers (trousers are preferable as some cotton skirts can be considered as see through and therefore inappropriate) and upper arms and chest must be covered by a top or a scarf. Men are required to wear long pants below the knee or cover up with a shawl.
Best Time to Visit
Plan on getting there at least an hour early to secure your place. If you are not through security when the visiting window closes, you will not be let in no matter how long you waited. Going first thing in the morning is the best way to beat the heat, not to mention having a chance to catch the inspirational sight of the sun's first rays striking the Dome.
Will I Need a Guide?
No, it's easy to get around and you can find everything on this website.
How To Get There?
Temple Mount can be accessed by 11 gates in the Old City of Jerusalem but tourists and non-Muslims are only allowed to enter through the Moroccan Gate which is also known as Mugrabi Gate. This gate is located near the Western Wall Plaza close to Dung gate.