Dome of the Rock

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The Dome of the Rock is an Islamic shrine rather than a mosque; it is considered the oldest extant Islamic building in the world and is adjacent to Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem.

The Dome of the Rock houses the rock upon which Mohammed is said to have ascended to heaven, coincidentally the same rock upon which Abraham offered up his son Isaac to God to prove his faith and, in the Jewish tradition, the Foundation Stone, said to be the first part of the world that came into being at the creation. It is also on the site of the inner sanctum of the Second Temple of Jerusalem (the Holiest of Holies) on the platform known as the Temple Mount, which Muslims refer to as the "Noble Sanctuary." The holiness of the site to the three Abrahamic faiths is intense, to say the least.

After the Second Temple was destroyed in the Roman years, leaving Jerusalem in Roman and later Byzantine hands, the Temple Mount became an empty site, used alternately as empty space, or as a city dump. According to legend, when the first Muslim conquerors took Jerusalem, they approached the Temple Mount. There, the conqueror Umar (or Omar) called the Christian Patriarch Sophronius of the city before him to answer for the derelict state of the holy site. Insisting that such a site, sacred to all three religions, deserved respect, Umar insisted that the Patriarch himself begin cleaning the Mount.

The Dome was built shortly thereafter, first in a primitive, wooden state between 687 and 691 by caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwān as a placeholder, and in its final spectacular version somewhat later. It has suffered several earthquakes (746, 1033, 1927). This shrine was covered by a lead dome from 691 until it was replaced with a gold-colored covering in 1965. Because of rust, the anodized aluminum cover was again replaced in 1993 with a gold covering. [1]

At present the Muslim Waqf has the authority to manage the Temple Mount-Haram al-Sharif and consecuently the Dome of the Rock



Dome of the Rock interior.jpg

Interior of the Dome.

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