The Canaanite period

Second century BCE – The Binding of Isaac on one of the mountains in the Land of Moriah.

Tradition identifies the site as Mount Moriah.

During this period, the mount was located north of the city of Jerusalem.


The Binding of Isaac, Gustave Doré 1830 - 1883
The Canaanite period
Second century BCE

The Temple Mount History

The Temple Mount is the most important historical and archeological site in the State of Israel. It is also the site most holy to the Jewish people: Jews have yearned to return to it throughout all the generations, mentioning it in all their prayers. According to tradition, the world was established from the Temple Mount, and it was also the place where Abraham bound Isaac in the story of Genesis, and later the site where King Solomon built the First Temple. “Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father; for which provision had been made in the place of David, in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite” [II Chronicles 3: 1]. The Second Temple was built on the site of the first, at first by the Jews that returned from Babylon, and then later, in great grandeur and splendor, by Herod the Great. The Temple Mount compound as we know it today was part of the grandiose construction project executed by Herod during the Second Temple period.

The Temple Mount is sacred to Christianity too because it is the site of the Holy Temple. In the southeast corner of the Temple Mount compound is the spot known as “The Cradle of Jesus” or Kursi Issa in Arabic, where Jesus’ mother put down the baby Jesus when she came to the Temple to offer a sacrifice following the birth of the baby. Jesus’ anger at the commercial activity taking place within the compound, which he viewed as a desecration of the holy site, is recorded in the New Testament: “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”[Matthew 21: 12-13].

The Temple Mount is the third most sacred site in Islam, following Mecca and Medina. Islam recognized the earlier traditions of Judaism and Christianity regarding the Temple Mount, adding traditions of its own. Jerusalem is not mentioned by name in the Quran, but Muslim tradition associates it with the nocturnal journey taken by Muhammad described in the first verse of Sura 17: “Glory to Him who caused His servant to travel by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We have blessed, in order to show him some of Our Signs, He is indeed the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.” על פי אותה מסורת ערך מחמד מסע לילהAccording to that same tradition, Muhammad took that miraculous night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem on a winged horse name al-Buraq. On that journey, Muhammad arrived on the Temple Mount and from there ascended to the heavens. At first, Muhammad instructed his followers to pray in the direction of the temple in Jerusalem, which is why it is considered the first qibla (direction for prayer). After some time, he changed the direction of prayer to the al-Ka'bah in Mecca. After the Muslims conquered Jerusalem in the seventh century, they built the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.

The Temple Mount is an ancient site of religious ritual of the greatest historic importance in the annals of human culture, and of the Jewish people in particular. The Temple Mount compound embodies riveting chapters of human history that tell the story of days of glory and splendor as well as of destruction and desolation.


The Israelite period

Approximately 1000 BCE – David conquers Jerusalem and buys the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, where he builds an Alter to God.

Approximately 960 BCE – Solomon builds the First Temple on Mount Moriah.

586 BCE – Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar besieges Jerusalem; the city falls, is destroyed and the temple is burned to the ground.


King David playes the harp, Gaza synagogue mosaic
 The Israelite period
1000-586 BCE


The Persian period

538 BCE – Babylon falls and Cyrus decrees that the exiles of Judah may return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple.

516 BCE – The construction of the Second Temple is completed by Zrubavel ben She’altiel and Yehoshua ben Zadok the Priest.

445 BCE – Nehemiah completes the fortification of Jerusalem’s walls.


Cyrus declaration
 The Persian period
538-332 BCE


The Hasmonean period

167 BCE – The Hasmonean revolt breaks out in wake of Antiochus IV’s decrees. The temple is defiled with idolatry and its treasures are plundered.

BCE – The temple is purified and rededicated by Judah the Maccabee.

134-63 BCE – Reign of the Hasmonean dynasty, the Hakra fortress is conquered and razed and the Temple Mount compound expanded.

63 BCE – Judea is conquered by the Roman commander Pompeius during the Hasmonean succession struggle.


The Temple Menora
 The Hasmonean period
63-167 BCE


The Herodian Period

37 BCE to 4 CE – Reign of Herod the Great

The temple is reconstructed, the Temple Mount is expanded and the porticos are built.

Herod builds the Temple Mount esplanade as we know it today as part of his colossal building enterprise by means of monumental sustaining walls and subterranean cavities.


The Temple and it's surroundings, painting restoration by Blaj Balog
 The Herodian Period
37 BCE to 4 CE


Roman period

66 CE – Outbreak of the Great Revolt

70 CE – The temple is destroyed on the ninth of Av.

130 CE – The Roman city of Aelia Capitolina is established on the ruins of Jerusalem and a temple to Jupiter is built.

132-135 CE – The Bar Kokhba Revolt


Cartography describes the Temple vessles being taken, Titus Gate
Roman period



The Byzantine period

313 CE – The Edict of Milan, which declared that Christianity was to be tolerated, strengthens the standing of Christianity throughout the holy empire and especially in Jerusalem. The importance of the Temple Mount declines.

361-363 – Emperor Julian the Apostate permits the Jews to rebuild the temple, but this never comes to fruition.


Jerusalem description, Midba map
 The Byzantine period
313 - 638 CE

 The early Muslim period

638 CE – Jerusalem is conquered by Caliph Omar Ibn al-Khattab, who builds the first mosque on the Temple Mount.

661-750 CE – Reign of the Umayyad Caliphate.

691 CE – The Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik builds the Dome of the Rock. In the early eighth century, the Umayyad Caliph al-Walid build the al-Aqsa Mosque on the site where the Mosque of Omar had previously stood. In 749, a massive earthquake shakes the land and causes a great deal of damage to parts of the Umayyad buildings, including the al-Aqsa mosque.

750-950 CE – The reign of the Abbasid Caliphate. The Dome of the Rock is renovated and the al-Aqsa mosque is rebuilt with seven naves on each side of the central hall.

950-1099 – The reign of the Fatimid Caliphate. Additional earthquakes shake the city necessitating further renovations and changes to the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.


Dome of the Rock
 The early Muslim period
638-1099 CE


Crusader period

1099-1187 – Period of Crusader rule in Jerusalem

The Order of Knights Templar situates its center in the middle of the Temple Mount compound.

chapel is built on the Temple Mount known today as the Dome of Ascension [Qubbat al-Miraj].


 Crusader period
1099-1187 CE


The Mamluk Ayyubid and Ottoman period

1187-1260 – Period of Ayyubid rule. Saladin conquers Jerusalem and fortifies it. The al-Aqsa mosque is renovated and memorial constructions are built on the mountain.

1260-1516 – Period of Mamlukean rule. Memorial buildings, immersion and drinking facilites, minarets and madrasas are built on the Temple Mount.

1516-1917 – Ottoman rulers renovate the walls of the Temple Mount and build a number of facilities within the compound. Towards the end of the Ottoman period, surveyors of the Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF) carry out a very detailed survey of the Temple Mount, especially of the compound walls and subterranean cavities. The explorers involved are Charles Wilson (1864-1865), Charles Warren (1867-1870) and Conrad Schick (1875-1872).


 The Mamluk Ayyubid and Ottoman period
1187-1917 CE


The British and Jordanian period

1917 – General Allenby enters the gates of Jerusalem and the city is handed over to the British.

1938-1942 – The al-Aqsa mosque is renovated following a number of earthquakes that caused grave damage.

1948 – Control of the Temple Mount is transferred to the Jordanians.

1958-1964 – Large-scale renovations to the Dome of the Rock are carried out. The lead dome is replaced by an anodized aluminum dome, which is then coated in gold.


General Allenby entering Jerusalem via Jaffa gate
 The British and Jordanian period
1917-1967 CE

 The State of Israel 

August 1967 – Cabinet decision 761: “If Jews ascend to the Temple Mount to pray, they are to be redirected to the Western Wall.”

1996 – The vaulted underground Solomon’s Stables are prepared for their construction into a mosque. The Waqf prevents the Antiquities Authority from supervising the construction.

December 1996 – A new mosque is opened in Solomon’s Stables and in the passageway to the Triple Gate.

August 1999 – A new mosque is opened in the passageway to the Double Gate.

November 1999 – A huge crater is dug in the Temple Mount and the northern wall of Solomon’s Stables is broken through.

January 2000 – The Committee for the Prevention of Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount is established.

June 2000 – A petition protesting the continued destruction of antiquities on the Temple Mount is signed by 82 Knesset members.

 The State of Israel
Since 1967


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