Most significant shrine of the Jews
, originally located on a hilltop known as Temple Mount in what is now East Jerusalem. There have been three temples on the site. The first was built (10th century bc
) by order of Solomon
as a repository for the Ark of the Covenant
. In c.
587 bc, it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar
, King of Babylon. In c.
515 bc, a second temple was erected by the Jewish exiles who had returned from Babylon in 537 bc. Between 19 and 9 bc, this second temple was replaced by a more elaborate structure on the orders of Herod the Great
; it was destroyed by the Romans during the Jewish rebellion of ad 70. It has never been rebuilt, but part of its ruins remain as a place of pilgrimage and prayer, known as the Western Wall
. Part of the ancient temple site is occupied by the Dome of the Rock
and al-Aqsa Mosque, both built in the late 7th century.