The Temple Mount is an elevated plateau in the eastern part of the old city of Jerusalem. This is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims. It also has been a focal point of inter-religious tension for a long time. It was the site of both the ancient temples of Judaism.
After Mecca and Medina, it is the third holiest place in Islam. Currently, it is under Israeli sovereignty. To Muslims, it is known as the Haram al-Sharif which means the Noble Sanctuary. It is associated with Biblical prophets who are venerated in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Quick Facts: –
- All three religions identify Temple Mount with many key events in their respective religious narratives.
- The two main purposes of this temple were to house the Ark of the Covenant and provide a place for people to worship.
- The Ark of the Covenant was also accompanied by two cherubim carved of olive wood.
- For Jews, it was the site of the Great Temple of Jerusalem. It was the holiest place in Judaism.
- For people who follow Islam, it is the site of the Prophet Muhammad’s journey to heaven described in the Qur’an.
- The temple covers an area of 35 acres. The premises can be accessed by non-Muslims through a gate next to the Western wall.
- The first ever temple was looted between 604 BC and 597 BC. In 587-86 BC, it was completely destroyed.
- It was rebuilt by Jews in 538 BC when they were allowed to return to Jerusalem by the Persian king Cyrus II.
- After reconstruction, this temple was completed in 515 BC. It did not have the Ark or any other ritual objects.
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