(Credit: Wikipedia user Godot13)
This is a holy site in Jerusalem. It’s actually several overlapping sites, important to all three Abrahamic religions.
The Template Mount itself is the claimed former site of Solomon’s Temple, which was destroyed twice – the last time in the years just after Jesus died. It’s a raised plaza – kind of like a foundation on top of which something would be built. Biblical prophecy says that the third temple will be built on the site when the Messiah comes (see below).
The Western Wall (or “Wailing Wall”) is the west retaining wall of the Temple Mount site. Jews go to this wall to pray, and they write their prayers on small pieces of paper which they stuff in the cracks of the wall.
The Dome of the Rock is a shrine built on a portion of the Temple Mount plaza in the 600s. It’s the most prominent feature of the site that extends above the surface, so it’s a very notable landmark in the Old City of Jerusalem. It’s one of the oldest examples of Islamic architecture.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque is a mosque built on the Temple Mount.
The Temple Mount is one of the most contested religious sites in the world. The ownership and management is imperfectly split between Jews and Muslims. It was controlled by Muslims until the Israelis captured Old Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967.
Currently, the site is open to all faiths, but Jews are prohibited from praying there. Violence occasionally erupts there, and the rules of visitation and behavior change with the state of the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The Biblical reference to the rebuilding of the template can be found in Zechariah 6:13 and 15:
It is he who will build the temple of the LORD, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. […]
Those who are far off will come and build the temple of the Lord. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. And it will take place if you completely obey the Lord your God.
Also, in Isaiah 2:2:
In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
Why I Looked It Up
I was reading a political thriller novel which involved a Middle Eastern dispute of the Template Mount. I knew what it was, vaguely, but was short on specifics.