London: Pope Francis Monday visited the holy city of Jerusalem, marking an end to his three-day Middle East tour, media reported.
He visited the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, which is considered to be the third holiest place in Islam and is situated on a site known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and to Jews as the Temple Mount, BBC reported.
According to Islamic traditions, Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven from the site of the al-Aqsa mosque.
Francis then went to the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites in Judaism. He also left a written prayer in a crack on the wall.
The pope then proceeded to Mount Herzl cemetery and became the first pontiff to lay a wreath at the tomb of the founder of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl, who died in 1904.
He ended his Jerusalem visit by travelling to Yad Vashem, where he kissed the hands of several Holocaust survivors as a sign of honour.
The pope will meet Israeli President Shimon Peres before returning to the Vatican.
Francis arrived in Jordan Saturday to begin his tour which aimed at boosting ties with Muslims and Jews and easing an age-old rift within different branches of Christianity.
On his arrival Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Pope Francis that his visit “is a chance to show the true Israel, an island of tolerance, assuring the rights of all”.
Francis also visited Bethlehem Sunday and presided over a mass in Manger Square, the supposed site of Jesus Christ’s birth.