/ Mosque Stamps / Al Masjid Al Aqsa, Jerusalem, Israel
The Al-Aqsa Mosque (Arabic: Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa), literally 'the farthest
mosque'), is part of the complex of religious buildings in Jerusalem
known as either the Majed Mount or Al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble
Sanctuary) to Muslims and the Har ha-Bayit (Temple Mount) to Jews and
Christians. It is located in East Jerusalem, a disputed territory
claimed by both Israel and Palestinians.
Analysis of wooden beams and panels removed from the building during
renovations in the 1930s shows they are made from Cedar of Lebanon and
Cyprus. Radiocarbon dating indicates a large range of ages, some as old
as 9th century BCE, showing that some of the wood had previously been
used in older buildings.
Al-Aqsa is the largest mosque in Jerusalem; about 5,000 people can
worship in and around the mosque. It shows a mixture of styles including
Crusader work from the times of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, during which
the structure was used as a palace and was called the Temple of Solomon,
the mosque was built on the site of the original Temple (Temple Mount).
Al-Aqsa has been at times the target of attacks by extremists (see
Temple Mount for more details), but most attempts were averted by
Israel's security services.
Since part of the mosque's extended surrounding wall is the Western Wall
venerated by Jews, this relatively tiny spot in Jerusalem can become the
source of friction. There have been times when enraged Muslims
worshipping at the mosque have hurled rocks downward at the Jews below
at the Western Wall. A group of Jews known as the Temple Mount Faithful
have expressed a desire to rebuild the ancient Jewish Temple in that
The Al-Aqsa Intifada is named after the mosque (due to Ariel Sharon's
controversial visit to the Temple Mount in September 2000), as are the
Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades.
Some Muslims have accused Israel of weakening the walls of the mosque
during archaeological excavations that began in 1967 and continue today.
In response to concerns about the structure's stability, renovations are
being carried out by the Islamic Waqf Foundation.
Gallery / / Mosque Stamps / Al Masjid Al Aqsa, Jerusalem, Israel
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