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4 Things you need to Know before visiting Dome on the Rock:
- Non-Muslims can only enter the Temple Mount compound from the Moroccan Gate (also known as the Mugrabi Gate or Bab al-Magharibeh) which is located near the Western Wall Plaza. You will, however, be allowed to leave from any of the 10 other gates opening to the Old City of Jerusalem.
- Temple Mount is only open to non-Muslims for four hours each day– 3 hours in the morning and 1 hour after lunch. The exact times change during Summer and Winter, so double-check before you go. These tight windows (especially in the afternoon) coupled with the tight security make for extra long queues. 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. Make sure to have plenty of water and sunscreen to help with the intense Israel sunshine. 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.
- Security checks are (at least) airport-style in their thoroughness, complete with metal detectors and intense scrutiny of passport documents and anything that might be considered a weapon. Sacred Jewish objects are not allowed in the Temple. Also, your clothing will be assessed for suitability to enter what is one of the most religious sites in the world. There will continue to be a constant security presence throughout your visit.
- Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the Dome of the Rock. Don’t even try. Also, Non-Muslims are banned from praying while visiting Temple Mount. In other words, unlike visiting the Western Wall, plan on observing Temple Mount silently and respectfully.