/ 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 area.

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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