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.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

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
Old City Orientation Walk

Old City Orientation Walk

The Old City of Jerusalem, the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981, is a home to a number of sites of great religious importance, such as the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. Walking here is an experience not to be missed. Take this orientation walk to see the key sights of...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 km
Following Steps of Jesus Walking Tour in Jerusalem

Following Steps of Jesus Walking Tour in Jerusalem

Jerusalem was considered for centuries to be the center of the universe. The most famous figure in the history of mankind, Jesus Christ, fulfilled his divine mission in this city. This self-guided tour will retrace the steps of Jesus to show you some of the holiest places in the world.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 km
Mount of Olives Walking Tour of Jerusalem

Mount of Olives Walking Tour of Jerusalem

The Mount of Olives is on the east side of the Old City of Jerusalem. Here you will see the magnificent churches that are also biblical sites, a very old cemetery with tombs of the Prophets. For many people this is a holy place as God is always present here. The following self-guided tour will lead you through the Mount of Olives landmarks:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 km
Jerusalem Museums Walking Tour

Jerusalem Museums Walking Tour

Jerusalem is the historic land of the Bible. It is sacred to the three great monotheist religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Here you will find archaeological and historical museums full of artifacts dating back to high antiquity. This self-guided tour will take you through some of the most visited museums of Jerusalem:

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 km
Jerusalem Suburb Walking Tour

Jerusalem Suburb Walking Tour

The center of Jerusalem spills over with religious and historical landmarks, museums and holy places. But there are also places worth visiting in neighborhoods away from the center. A Biblical Zoo, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and others cannot be missed and must figure in the itinerary of each tourist. The following self-guided tour will lead you through some of these distant places which...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.4 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


16 Uniquely Israel Things to Buy in Jerusalem

16 Uniquely Israel Things to Buy in Jerusalem

Modern day Jerusalem is a mosaic of neighborhoods, reflecting different historical periods, cultures, and religions. The influx of repatriates in recent years has made the cultural and artisanal scene of the city even more colourful and diverse. To find your way through Jerusalem's intricate...