al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem

al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem (must see)

The name translates as "the Distant Mosque". This is the third most holy site in Islam and the holiest Mosque in Jerusalem. It is located on the Temple Mount or Hara mesh-Sharif, which means Noble Sanctuary. It is not certain, but this may be the site of the first mosque built in Jerusalem, which was erected in 638. It was destroyed by two different earthquakes. It has been rebuilt several different times over the millennium, due to natural disasters and man-made attacks.

Some of that rebuilding is still evident today. The Crusaders, Fatimids, Mamluks, and Ayyubids added beautiful arches and other buildings to the Mosque. Unfortunately, most of these have been lost over the centuries, either by conquests or single acts of destruction. In 1959, King Abdullah of Jordan was assassinated in the south end of the building. Bullet holes still remain in the stonework there, and a small memorial has been installed at the site.

Despite all this tragedy, some beautiful elements are still to be found here. The south end houses a Mihrab that Saladin decorated. It is a niche that points to the direction of Mecca. Lovely mosaics have survived around the central aisle arch and in the dome. The Crusader chapel or the Mihrab of Zacharia contains a stunning rose window. The Double Gate houses the original entrance to the Temple Mount. The pillars have been reconstructed, but the columns are true to the originals built by King Herod.

Although most of the interior of the Mosque is from the 20th century, it is still a beautiful place to visit. There are seven aisles in the Mosque and over 120 stained-glass windows. There are also 45 columns supporting the inside of the building and 33 of these are made of white marble. Beneath the place, there are steps that lead to the al-Aqsa Qadima or Ancient al-Aqsa. This area is not generally open to the public.

Tip:
Unfortunately, non-Muslims are not allowed to enter inside the building without a guide. However, one can still enjoy the outside architecture for a few minutes as part of a visit to the Dome of the Rock.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Jerusalem, Israel within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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al-Aqsa Mosque on Map

Sight Name: al-Aqsa Mosque
Sight Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) containing this sight: Landmarks of Jerusalem Walking Tour   Old City Orientation Walk  

Walking Tours in Jerusalem, Israel

Create Your Own Walk in Jerusalem

Create Your Own Walk in Jerusalem

Creating your own self-guided walk in Jerusalem is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Landmarks of Jerusalem Walking Tour

Landmarks of Jerusalem Walking Tour

Jerusalem, capital of Israel, is a stage of history for the entire universe, so to speak. Its religious and historical landmarks attract more tourists than any other city in the world. This self-guided tour will lead you through its most visited landmarks:

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 2

Souvenir Shopping Part 2

It would be a pity to leave Jerusalem without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Jerusalem, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Latrun at the Outskirt of Jerusalem Self-Guided Tour

Latrun at the Outskirt of Jerusalem Self-Guided Tour

Latrun is a hilltop on the road to Jerusalem. It has must see attractions such as "mini Israel", monasteries and the historical Emmaus. This self-guided tour will lead you to these historical, archaeological and cultural monuments:

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 km
Nightlife Walking Tour of Jerusalem

Nightlife Walking Tour of Jerusalem

Jerusalem has a reputation as one of the foremost religious and cultural centers of the world. What is less known is that it has an interesting night life as well. This self-guided tour will lead you to some nightclubs where you can experience the pulsating nightlife of Jerusalem:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 1

Souvenir Shopping Part 1

It would be a pity to leave Jerusalem without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Jerusalem, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km
Cultural Walking Tour of Jerusalem

Cultural Walking Tour of Jerusalem

Jerusalem is considered holy by the all the three major monotheistic religions in the world - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The city is full of history and culture. The following self-guided tour will take you through some of the most visited landmarks in the city.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


16 Uniquely Israel Things to Buy in Jerusalem

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