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.
New Jerusalem Walking Tour

New Jerusalem Walking Tour

West Jerusalem or New Jerusalem is made up entirely of westernized, modern neighborhoods. This part of the city was built around the wall of the Old Jerusalem city. The following self-guided tour will lead you to some interesting streets, art galleries, museums and shops in New Jerusalem:

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 Km or 3.4 Miles
Mount Scopus and Surroundings Walking Tour

Mount Scopus and Surroundings Walking Tour

Jerusalem is surrounded by hills. Mount Scopus, in the northeast of the city, offers the most splendid view of the Old City of Jerusalem. Its most visited landmarks are Ammunition Hill, a memorial of a great battle, the Hebrew University campus, with its botanical garden and amphitheater, a military cemetery and a few others. This self-guided tour will lead you to the following Mount Scopus...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
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 or 2.9 Miles
Jerusalem Synagogues Walking Tour

Jerusalem Synagogues Walking Tour

Jerusalem is a city that represents the three main religions of the world, that is Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The city contains some of the oldest and most beautiful historical monuments related to these religions. This self-guided tour will lead you mainly through the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and its synagogues:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.5 Km or 0.3 Miles
Mount Zion and Surroundings Walking Tour

Mount Zion and Surroundings Walking Tour

Mount Zion, as many other places in Jerusalem, is a biblical site. This name was mentioned in manuscripts dating back to the first millennium BC. It was called the Town of David and David s tomb is here. This self-guided tour will lead you to the biblical sites of Mount Zion and other modern attractions in its surroundings.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles
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 or 3.5 Miles

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