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    Posted June 2, 2013 by
    Jerusalem, Israel
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Travel photo of the day

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    Temple Mount, Israel


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     JuleeK's first image was featured as CNN's Travel Photo of the Day for July 11, 2013.
    - rachel8, CNN iReport producer

    Temple Mount as it is known to the Jews; Haram al-Sharif as it is called by Muslims or Noble Sanctuary as some people refer to it, occupies an area of about thirty-five acres in the southwest corner in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. Contained within Temple Mount are fountains, gardens, a musuem and mosques. At its southernmost end is al-Aqsa Mosque. At its center is the famed Dome of the Rock - its golden dome is one of the most iconic symbols of Jerusalem. On its western side is the Western or Wailing Wall, known in Hebrew as the Kotel.

    Undeniably, Temple Mount is the most contested piece of real estate on earth as it is considered a sacred site for Jews, Muslims and Christians. Today, the site is managed and access is controlled by the Palestinian Authorities and despite its importance to their religion, Jews are prohibited from stepping foot on Temple Mount.

    For the Jews, Temple Mount is holiest site in Judaism and it is the place that Jews turn towards during prayer. It is where King Solomon built the first Temple in 960 B.C., which was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 B.C. King Herod built the Second Temple on the same spot in 520 B.C. According to Jewish tradition, it is here the Third and final Temple will also be built. The location is the Due to its extreme sanctity, many Jews will not walk on the Mount itself, to avoid unintentionally entering the area where the Holy of Holies stood. It was from the Holy of Holies that the High Priest communicated directly with God.

    Among Sunni Muslims, Haram al-Sharif is widely considered the third holiest site in Islam, after Mecca and Medina. Haram al-Sharif is the location of the rock from which Muhammad rose on his horse to ascent to heaven.

    For Christians, the Noble Sanctuary is where it is believed that Abraham was about to carry out God's order to sacrifice his son Isaac.

    I’m not Jewish or Muslim or Christian so Temple Mount holds no religious significance for me. Rather, it was a place of quiet respite for a weary tourist. Surrounded by stunning Islamic architecture and beautiful gardens was a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of the old city of Jerusalem.
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