Dome of the Rock

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Dome of the Rock in the ancient city of Jerusalem
Photo by: Or Hiltch, Creative Commons

The Dome of the Rock is a famous and one of the oldest Islamic shrines in the world. It was built in the year 691 and houses the Foundation Stone which is considered as a sacred spot in Judaism. It is located in the Temple Mount and called, “The Noble Sanctuary” by the Muslims.

The Foundation Stone is sacred to both Jews and Muslims for different reasons.

The sacred rock located at the Dome of the Rock is believed to have been there even before the arrival of Islam. It is also the place where Abraham brought Isaac as a sacrifice. During the Middle Ages the Dome of the Rock was considered as the Temple of Solomon by the Christians and Muslims. The exterior mosaics were damaged during the winters and later repair works were done during the Mamluk period and in the year 1545 Suleiman the Magnificent replaced the mosaics with tiles.

The golden dome was first made of gold and was later replaced with copper, then again replaced with aluminum. Again the aluminum dome is wrapped with a golden leaf which can be seen in the present day. The dome features a full moon on the top and it represents Islam’s moon symbol. It is also said that a person who looks at this moon will be looking straight to Mecca.

The Dome of the Rock features multicolored Turkish tiles on the exterior. The octagonal part features Quran verses and a number of Arabic inscriptions. These inscriptions are a fine example of modifications at the time of Suleiman.

The golden domes interior features a number of flower ornamentations in gold and several other inscriptions. These mosaics can also be seen at the shrines garden which resembles a paradise.

The sacred rock is the most important site to be seen here. It is the place where the prophet Muhammad supposedly ascended to heaven accompanied by Angel Gabriel.

The Dome of the Rock is a major shrine. It opens at 8:30 am and closes and 3 pm. It is closed to visitors on Friday and Muslim holidays.

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