The Temple Mount
The huge complex, which has at its centre today the Dome of the Rock mosque, is the Temple Mount, a part of whose massive walls can still be seen surrounding the area. This complex was constructed by King Herod the Great and he encompassed Mount Moriah from the south, from the west and from the north with enormous supporting walls when he rebuilt the Temple towards the end of the Second Temple Period. Mount Moriah, on which Abraham bound Isaac, is hidden under this huge stone ‘container’ with which Herod enclosed the mountain. David bought Mount Moriah from Araunah the Jebusite for the purpose of building the Temple here. King Solomon built the First Temple, which was destroyed by the Babylonians in the year 586 BCE, on the Mount. The returning exiles from Babylon laid the foundations of the Second Temple in the same place in 536 BCE and after about 500 years Herod extended the Temple Mount and rebuilt the Temple on it. Herod’s construction is known for its magnificence and great beauty. It was destroyed in the year 70 CE by the Romans. About 600 years later the Muslims repaired the Temple Mount complex, renewed its walls and gates and built on it the Dome of the Rock and the El Aksa mosques. The Golden Dome is known as the Dome of the Rock and marks the place of the rock which, according to Jewish Tradition, is called the Foundation Stone “since from it the world was founded” that was in the Holy of Holies of the Temple.